Saturday, February 1, 2014

Investigating Castles Part 4: Knights and Defense

We learned that knights were the solders and heros of the medieval days. They started training at 7 by going to another noble families manor to learn manners, train, and serve food to the noble family. They next became a squire.  As a squire, they served and assisted another knight.  They helped the knight put on his armor, took care of his armor and weapons, and went into battle with him. They were very interested in the knights armor and wanted to make their own!  We created helmets to protect our heros heads.  It was very challenging to cut this mirror paper, but they used their strong fine motor skills and with persistence they did it! 

Knights put their coat of arms on their shields because their faces were covered. The coat of arms helped identify them. 

The girls wanted to be knights also. I loved how the helmet below has jewels added to it. 

They made swords since a knight must have a weapon. I wasn't sure how to make swords with the materials we had available. I showed them paper, paper tubes and told them I had silver paint. A couple students and I figured out a way by rolling paper, flattening it and using a paper tube as a handle. Sword problem solved! I was very impressed with how responsible they were with these weapons!  Swords could only touch swords, not bodies.  They were fairly gentile in their sword play because they didn't want their swords to bend or break. We talked about how they could use their swords in the classroom for training but not for killing! They did very well training to be knights! This was a great lesson in self control and responsibility!  I was very proud of them!

Swords, armor and crowns stored for future play!

They learned that knights had to live by a code of honor. A code of honor keeps us accountable for behaving a certain way. We have to stick to the code! We created our own code of honor for our class and displayed it, but I forgot to take a picture of it! I will add the picture later!  We also talked about chivalry and how that means behaving in a courteous, generous, trustworthy and polite way!

We explored other ways castles were defended. During our exploration time kids started making bows and arrows. 

They also created catapults for us to use as play and explore how they work. 

They had to predict what object would be catapulted the furthest and why! Many predicted that the lightest objects would go the furthest.

After experimenting, measuring and recording their evidence, they saw that the shape also had something to do with how far an object will go!

The catapults they made were set out and became a favorite toy as they experimented with loose parts to see how far they would go! We did have loose parts all over the place but they showed responsibility and cleaned it all up!

Because of the interest shown in catapults, I am putting out a challenge for those children who are interested next week to create a catapult here at school out of whatever materials they can find! They can use materials from here or bring some from home!  We will see who can create a catapult that can launch a foam cube the furthest!  Who could have predicted that a lesson in force and motion would have come from a study about castles!

The investigation phase is finished! We have turned our room into a castle while we investigated.  This week the kids will pick an area from our castle inquiry that they feel they are an expert in to create a project and get ready for our presentation for you parents and other classes here at school!

Another huge interest has been the challenge of producing both 2 dimentional and three dimentional shapes through drawing and construction.  They have been loving this challenge!  They all are determined to learn how to draw a hexagon, even though it is so much harder than constructing one! They have been coming up with their own statagies rather than me telling them how. I also love that those who know how are teaching others strategies that helped them!

Stay tuned to see what else our investigators, inquirers, experimenters, engineers and scientists will come up with!


  1. Darla ... It has been amazing to watch this investigation unfold! I think it's my favorite of all you have shared, and the others were fabulous so that's saying something! I would still love to visit sometime ( I'm the Troy 1st grade teacher who lives in Centerville) This winter has been so crazy with all the weather closings but as soon as I can get a grip on that I'll email you! I can't wait to see your kids at work :)
    Thanks for the inspiring posts! Ana

    1. Thanks Ana! I think this is one of my favorite inquiries! I am having just as much fun as they are! You are always welcome to visit! The kids want to inquire about music next! That will be another fun one! Just let me know when you would like to come!

  2. Hello, Darla,
    Your teaching and this blog is such an inspiration to me....I'm trying to become a Reggio inspired Kindergarten teacher!
    Is there anyway you could share the recording sheet for the catapult investigation with me? It looks amazing!
    Thank you!

    1. Hi Maia!
      Sorry this took so long! If it is not to late, I would be happy to! I need your email to send it to you though.
      Darla Myers