If you could build your medieval castle, what would it look like? If you could live in your own castle, as a guild member, how would your life be?
Inspired by the novel The Castle in The Attic by Elizabeth Winthrop, this cross-curricular learning scenario transports the students back to the Medieval Era and challenges them to use Minecraft and build their own castles. The students will take part in a learning quest designed with the support of Europeana resources. The children read the novel The Castle in the Attic and follow the plot to identify the characters and understand how the medieval society was organized.
Using photos of artefacts provided by the Europeana digital collection, the students analyse guild heralds and compare medieval jobs with their parents’ jobs, being able to see the evolution in time. Next, the students investigate Europeana for images and architectural plans of medieval buildings, to find the components of a medieval castle.
They observe the archaeological trends and make their own plans on paper, trying to answer the question “If you were William, what kind of castle would you build to live in?” Working in groups, the children use Minecraft and design their own medieval castles.
At the end, a presentations tournament is organized, and the castles are introduced to the audience to be evaluated. Through the lessons, the 10 years old students develop critical thinking and creative problem-solving skills by working in groups to perform research, analyse artefacts and design buildings.
This learning adventure not only enables students to investigate historic artefacts, but also encourages them to analyse, to think, to draw their own conclusions and to develop their own creative products. The lessons have multiple anchors in the European curriculum; they link History with Literature and STEM subjects (ICT, architecture), and teachers can easily find opportunities to implement them in their classroom.
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