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Castles engage students in history
by LOUISE R. SHAW
May 09, 2014 | 2658 views | 0 0 comments | 31 31 recommendations | email to a friend | print
STUDENT-CREATED CASTLES may be made of modern-day materials, but building them in miniature teaches about an era long past, according to sixth-grade teacher Tamara Bell. Photo by Louise R. Shaw|Davis Clipper
STUDENT-CREATED CASTLES may be made of modern-day materials, but building them in miniature teaches about an era long past, according to sixth-grade teacher Tamara Bell. Photo by Louise R. Shaw|Davis Clipper
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BOUNTIFUL — With towers and turrets, moats and drawbridges, the castles on display at Holbrook Elementary were similar to those from medieval times.

But instead of being made of rock and wooden beam, the student-made mini-castles were constructed of popsicle sticks, cardboard, toilet paper rolls, styrofoam and clay.

Still, the student creations have served a purpose, helping sixth graders learn more about medieval culture and history while involved in their construction.

Rylee Alder said she learned  that there were a lot of bad sicknesses in those days. She also learned that they wore really “cool clothes.”

Isaac Gates was interested to find out about knights and the different things that were done for protection, such as building a castle in the middle of a lake.

“They did a lot of research online,” said their teacher, Tamara Bell. “They looked at castle parts and how they were put together.”

Bell works with two classes of sixth graders, 63 students in all, for their Social Studies unit.

Students were given six weeks to complete the castles after doing their research.

“The most unique thing,” she said, “is that with 63 students, there are 63 different looking castles.”

On those castles, there were coat of arms and ivy on walls, flags and knights and catapults.

“It was truly a fun unit,” said Bell. “The kids were very engaged.

“As we look at history,” she said, “students come to know that we study the past, connect our discoveries with what we know today and apply our new knowledge and understanding to make better decisions for the future.”

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