Educational content for parents

12th April 2018

Lesson Objectives: After the session today the players will

  1. Be able to identify and understand some basic construction of medieval buildings around 1200 A.D.
  2. Understand how pathways became our road network and how they grew
  3. Be able to contextualise a village home, a barracks, a dungeon and stables, and understand their purpose in a medieval community.
  4. Design plans for a building using graph paper and grids to make an accurate drawing of a planned build.

This workshop introduced your children to medieval England, in particular, Cumbria, using a 1:1 accurate scale map of the Beetham area, taken and modelled from satellite data. We explored the river and its surrounding featured and discussed how the landscape lead to many mills being formed on this particular stretch of waterway.

They explored a basic miller’s cottage, as it might have been 800 years ago when the first Heron Mill came in to being. We discussed the type of livestock that they might have kept and why. We also discussed how the miller might also have had some basic metalworking skills and tools to set up his first mill with and keep it in state of good repair.

They then explored the region and discovered two fortresses; an old abandoned wooden fortress that would have featured in the pre-medieval era, and a stone-built keep of a medieval fortress. We then discussed the merits of both types of fortress and what had to happen in order for them to move from a wooden construction to a stone one.

The players were then given a choice of builds to attempt that would eventually be part of the castle and were given a space in which to build their construction. They were also given a free minecraft planning book so that they could draw out their ideas to scale based on the drawing and measurements given in the handouts.

Extension exercises to try at home

Home building exercise

  1. Get your child to measure rooms in their house in 1m blocks (minecraft works in a scale of 1 block = 1 meter)
  2. Ask them to draw out the contents of that room on the grid paper in the Minecraft planning book
  3. Take their plan to their preferred version of minecraft (tablet, console, PC) and see if they can translate their drawings to the game.

Medieval materials

  1. Ask your child to make a list of all the materials in a room that could be found in medieval times. Take turns with them in spotting them, they spot one first and then your turn. Discuss incorrect answers and explain why those things might not have been created (e.g. plastic), discovered (e.g. ornate glass) or were not found in this country at that period in time (e.g. rubber).

Abandoned building i-spy

  1. When out and about on a car journey or walk in the countryside, see who can spot old ruins of farm buildings or dwellings made from stone.
  2. Discuss why only the stone part is left.
  3. Explore ideas about what the building might have been used for.
  4. Think about what parts have been destroyed and why (weather, fire etc…). Bring in to the conversation ideas about the materials that might have been used for the missing parts.
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