Magna Carta Games & Activities

Instructor: Matthew Hamel

Matt has degrees in Journalism and Business and has taught a variety of courses at high schools and universities around the world.

The Magna Carta holds a special place in history as an important social, political and legal document. This lesson offers ideas for Magna Carta games and activities teachers can use in the classroom.

Magna Carta

The games and activities in this lesson work great as a supplement to classroom study of Magna Carta, which is a document written in 1215 by the Archbishop of Canterbury and members of the royal class to settle disputes by King John of England and barons who felt they were being treated unfairly. The document outlined protections for the church and barons, limited feudal payments, and promised justice for those with grievances. Hopefully, your students already know the history of Magna Carta, so they can focus on the fun and educational aspects of the following games and activities.

A Magna Carta of Our Own

In this activity, students will write their own Magna Carta in which the teacher (or school administration) is King John and the students are the nobility. In this new Magna Carta, each group should model their writing after the original. To accomplish this, students can borrow some of the phrasing and vocabulary from the Magna Carta version they studied in class.

  • Divide the class into small teams of three to four students.
  • Assign each group a section of Magna Carta to rewrite with their own ideas.
  • After the groups have completed their sections, assemble the sections into a complete document. You can also have a representative from each group read their portion aloud to the class.
  • As King John, you have the ability to negotiate or change portions of the new Magna Carta your students wrote. This is a great way to engage your students in a discussion about a variety of social, legal and political ideas.

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