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Kids in the Castle: Lessons, Activities, and Virtual Tours!


Provide students with some pure fun as they explore life in the Middle Ages. Send them on a castle tour or a medieval adventure! Included: Five great interactive sites about the Middle Ages.

The Middle Ages graphic As they explore the Middle Ages in texts and other more serious research materials, offer your students the chance to play while they learn. The sites below provide fun activities that will help students of all ages gain a better understanding of medieval life.



One of the best places to find a virtual medieval tour is at National Geographic's Ghosts in the Castle. This is a site all your students can enjoy because, although the three castle-related activities here appear to be of similar difficulty, they actually provide for a range of abilities and reading levels.

The first activity, found on the Ghosts in the Castles home page, invites visitors to tour an English castle built in the 1300s. Students enter a first name and a name for the castle and then click a drawbridge to explore with Marcus the Mouse.

Between the gatehouse and the dungeon, visitors meet sentries, archers, jesters, noble girls, pages, and knights. They learn about the foods castle residents ate, the games they played, and the weapons they fought with.

The text is personalized with the student's name, making this virtual tour seem almost real! The reading level is accessible to students in grades 3 and above. However, even younger students or poor readers can learn a great deal by simply clicking the hot spots in the pictures.

When they complete the castle tour, students in middle school and above can click More About Castles to read The Case of the King Who Was Crazy for Castles. In this activity, students learn about King Ludwig II of Bavaria, a shy and possibly insane king who was fascinated by castles. King Ludwig built several castles during his lifetime -- then died under mysterious circumstances.

After reading "Mystery of the Lake," the story of Ludwig's last night, students can cast a vote about what they think happened to cause his death.

Finally, students who enjoy logic puzzles will relish the challenges presented at Gothic Windows. At this site, students are presented with a puzzle made up of colorful triangular panes. Some of the panes are dimmed, however, and the challenge is to re-light them. Ah, but there's a catch! Try it and see.

Solvers here can choose small, medium, or large puzzles, but they cannot choose hard or easy puzzles. The degree of difficulty is random. Although students of any age can work on the puzzles, most elementary students won't be able to solve them.

Life in a medieval castle probably wasn't a lot of fun for the people who lived them, but your students can have a ball learning about the Dark Ages with these interactive activities.

Article by Linda Starr
Education World®
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Updated 02/08/2012