Medieval Castle Project Ideas

Instructor: Christopher Muscato

Chris has a master's degree in history and teaches at the University of Northern Colorado.

Castles are interesting and fun topics that students are often eager to learn about. These project ideas can help make this learning more interactive and engaging.

Medieval Castles

Castles are the definitive architectural symbols of medieval Europe. Generally, medieval European castles (created between the fall of the Roman Empire and rise of the Renaissance) belong to three main types: the motte and bailey, the stone keep, and the concentric castle. The following project ideas can help your students explore the various castle types and roles in history, and are designed to be easily adaptable for various grades.

Medieval Castle Project Ideas

Castle Dioramas

For this project, students are going to research the main types of castles and create a physical, museum-style diorama depicting the structure as well as life within/around it. You can approach this in a few ways, either having students create a diorama for each type of castle or one diorama that spends more time focusing on a single type of castle. You can also consider asking students to create a generic castle of a certain type or give them a real castle from European history to study and depict. This project can also be expanded beyond Europe to explore castles from India, Japan, or other places.

In any of these cases, the diorama should include people engaged in activities associated with the castle in either times of peace or war. If your class is artistically inclined and has time/resources available, consider asking them to make their dioramas from modeling clay. Simple versions of this project could involve paper cutout figures or even Lego bricks and people.

  • Materials: Art and craft supplies as desired

Historical Fiction

Assign each student an actual medieval European castle at random. Students will research the history of that castle, including its type, the history of its design, notable people who lived/visited there, and notable events that occurred there. If possible, ask students to find primary sources to help them learn about this castle. Using this factual information, students are going to write a short work of historical fiction. This story will feature a fictional protagonist who is involved in a real historical event at this real castle, and should display a depth of knowledge about the relevant time period, people, cultures, and events. When students have completed their writing, you can ask them to share their work in peer groups or expand their project by creating a poster/cover for their book that shows their castle.

  • Materials: Research and writing supplies

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