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.

Magna Carta Seal

The Great Seal of King John gave Magna Carta its authority. (An Internet search for the Great Seal of King John will give you plenty of pictures of the two versions of King John's seal to show the students.) In this activity, students will create their own great seal based on one of King John's seals.

First, give students a few minutes to view the original Great Seals of King John. If possible, distribute a copy of the seals to each student so they can refer to them while creating their own seals. Students are free to design their seals in any way they want, provided they follow these guidelines.

  • The seal must be a circle.
  • The name and title of the student should go around the border of the seal. For example:
    • The Great Seal of Queen Jenny
    • The Great Seal of King Adam
  • The seal should include some components from the originals including:
    • A human figure
    • A sword/armor
    • A throne or horse

You can give students class time to draw their seals, or assign this as homework if you want more elaborate designs. When the seals are finished, have a contest to select the best one or hang the seals around the classroom for some much-needed royal decoration.

Magna Carta Drama

It feels surprisingly natural to read the Magna Carta as a Shakespearian actor would. For this activity, teams will give dramatic readings of Magna Carta for their classmates to enjoy.

To unlock this lesson you must be a Member.
Create your account

Register to view this lesson

Are you a student or a teacher?

Unlock Your Education

See for yourself why 30 million people use

Become a member and start learning now.
Become a Member  Back
What teachers are saying about
Try it risk-free for 30 days

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 200 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 1,500 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Transferring credit to the school of your choice

Not sure what college you want to attend yet? has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.

Create an account to start this course today
Try it risk-free for 30 days!
Create an account