Implementation of “The Castle in the Classroom” (SOI-LV-298)

Author: Rita Madi, Primary school teacher

School/Organization: Rīgas Imantas vidusskola

I chose to implement learning scenario ‘The Castle in the Classroom’ by Alina Marilena Buduleanu because according to the current school programme students study “Architecture” in both visual arts lessons and design and technology lessons.

The implementation context

In Design and Technology lessons, 3rd grade pupils have started to learn how to make models of different houses from scraps. There are 25 pupils in the class and they have formed their own working groups so that they can work together successfully.

We’ve already talked about the diversity of architecture in class, and I’ve categorised buildings according to their importance.

Pupils have been on a study trip to Jurmala city, studied the different buildings, sketched them and selected the most interesting details.

Pupils learned how to fold a paper house according to a model. As the different houses were created, we made a small village of paper houses in the classroom.

Students learn to create three-dimensional shapes and transform them into buildings, developing their creative thinking.

There are not many castles in Latvia, or castles as big as in larger European countries. So I chose castles as one of the building models. The pupils learned to search for information on websites using their mobile phones:

1. What castles are there in Latvia and they sketched one of their choice ( Google) ;

2. They looked at how the word ‘castle’ is explained in Wikipedia;

3. Searched Europeana and Teaching with Europeana for the topic I chose. Students searched for the website on their mobile phones, typed “buildings” into the search engine. To save time, students opened ‘The Castle in the Classroom’, followed the teacher’s instructions, opened the document and also looked at pictures and plans of medieval castles Gravensteen 1; Gravensteen 2; Gravensteen 3 Kuressaare; Castle Farm; Glebe Cottage 1; Glebe Cottage 2; Glebe Cottage 3.

4. Looked at how castles are made in Minecraft. They watch the online Minecraft building castle tutorial. 5. Students designed their own village/town, including different buildings and castle elements.

The narrative

80 minutes were allocated for this topic.

Introduction. Inspiring students.

Talking about what the pupils know about castles, where they have seen them, what they remember from what they have seen, because we have been on a class trip to Bauska Castle. Find information on Wikipedia and read how the term ‘castle’ is explained. The pupils searched Google forcastles in Latvia. They choose which one they like the most and sketch it.

How to build a castle?

Students used their mobile phones to find the step-by-step lesson at and watch a video of how castles are built in Minecraft.

The students were happy to have a new website to explore, but not everyone has a great command of English. They were very impressed by the Minecraft video. They concluded that the castle grounds resemble a small village or town.

Main part. Working in groups

Students formed their own working groups, based on their ability to work together.

Pupils were given different building layouts (castle gate, church, houses). They could choose which to include in their castle area.

Pupils also received worksheets to help them plan and work successfully. I used a sample worksheets from a lesson created by Alina Marilena Buduleanu.

The students worked with passion. They divided up the building layouts, painted them, cut them out and glued them together to create their own territory.

Images: Finished castles. Rita Madi, CC BY.


Students talked about their ideas, reflections are also shown on the worksheets. However, there was not enough time to think through the area. Therefore, the work will be continued as another 40 minutes are needed.

Learning outcomes

Achievable results

Students learn about one of the oldest forms of architecture – castles.

The pupils practiced making buildings according to the given layout.

Pupils learned :

  • how to cooperate in a group, how to divide responsibilities and how to agree on the planning and the name of the site;
  • cut out and glue buildings from a given layout.

Find the information they need on websites.

Outcomes for the educator

My conclusions

This website Teaching with Europeana is a new opportunity for inspiration and helps you to see things differently. I had to step out of my comfort zone because of the lack of material in Latvian. However, I think it was my knowledge of English that did encourage me to explore and try new ideas. I really enjoyed reading and looking at other teachers’ lesson plans, photos, worksheets.

Did you find this story of implementation interesting? Why don’t you read about the related learning scenario? The Castle in the Classroom (LS-RO-640) created by Alina Marilena Buduleanu

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Do you want to discover more stories of implementation? Click here.

CC0 1.0: the featured image used to illustrate this article has been found on Europeana and has been provided by the Statens Museum for Kunst.

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