Saturday, March 7, 2009

And the Winner Is...

Jamie at

Cultivating Joy In a House Full of Boys

and her suggestion of a unit study on knights and castles!

My suggestion is to begin the study with the art lessons then learn about the subjects and finally at the end of the lesson to create the same projects again integrating all the new knowledge gained in the learning explorations!

First the knight drawing lesson...

You can click on this to make the picture bigger.
If the visual step by step is not enough, let me know and I will post a more detailed tutorial.

Additional art projects to go with this study can be found here..

The Usborne Book in my recommendations also has a castle drawing lesson in it.

Second, the artist study...
Raphael- St. George and the Dragon.

Garden of Praise Artist and Painting Study- A bit higher level but it also has a link to color the picture online.

Practice your math facts with these games...
All you need is a chessboard, knights, rooks, kings, queens, di, and flashcards or a regular deck of playing cards.

Directions: Roll di to see who goes first, highest number goes first. Players pick their game pieces- king, queen, knight, or rook and start on corner of the chessboard. The first piece to make it all the way across wins. (Depending on the age and interest of the players you can have the players move straight ahead in a column to the other side or have them move on a winding path through every square on the board- for this option use a roll of the di to determine how many spaces will be won with a correct answer, incorrect answers lose number of squares indicated by di roll.)Have the player pick a card with a math fact, if they answer correctly they can move ahead, incorrect answers lose one square.
Variations of this game are really endless and brainstorming new rules with your players could result in a really fun new game.
Some variations I thought up were:
Knight's War- 2 players
Use regular playing cards or flash cards. Shuffle cards and place in a stack. Both players draw a card. High card or sum gets to move on the board. Another variation would be low card or sum gets to move.
(if any of you out in blogger land have additional suggestions, please feel free to leave them in the comments for this post.)

There are also several books about Sir Cumference in my recommendations. They may or may not be ready for these. I think they are pretty clever and fun though. Use at your own discretion.

Excavation Project- get a small knight figurine- one that won't melt at higher temperatures- put in a muffin tin or cupcake liner. Fill with muffin or cupcake mix and bake as directed. Let "archaeologists" excavate the knight relics with plastic fork tools.

Lots of additional suggestions can be found in the links section at the end of this post.

The middle ages is not well known for it's scientific advancements, but something that was of great interest in those days was alchemy and blacksmithing.
Research and learn exactly what alchemy is. Interest in this subject in China led to the discovery of the formula for gunpowder!
Blacksmiths were of great interest to all the knights because that is how they got their armor and shoes for their horses. See if you can find a blacksmith still working today and take a field trip to a forge.
In the meantime, try creating your own "chain mail" with paper chains. Use grey or black construction paper to make chains that interlock together the way they did on a knight's hauberk.

Language Arts-
Try reading some great knight stories out loud. Kid friendly versions of Robin Hood and King Arthur would be great and inspiring bedtime tales.
Try writing acrostic poems with the words knight or castle.

Or a write story about one of the amazing art creations they have made!

Books you may find helpful. I often check the ISBN numbers and then request them at my library through inter-library loan as opposed to purchasing a ton of resources.

Before I leave what is already a remarkable long post, I want to let Dana at School for Us know that her Tall Tales suggestion was too irresistible to pass up, but too lengthy to include in this post. I will be posting an art lesson and unit study on Paul Bunyan and Tall Tales tomorrow!
Stay tuned also this week for

Art Emergency- Super Art Teacher to the Rescue!



School for Us said...

Oh, yeah!!! We started our study at the end of the week by reading Paul Bunyan. What an entertaining story!

I'm SO GLAD you found our idea "too good to pass up." I'll be looking forward to your post! :-)

Jessica said...

Love the knight curriculum. You really covered every angle! Hopefully at some point I'll get to use some of it!

The new layout is awesome, Julie. I love the main text running down the left column and it's way easier to read without the paint splotch underneath. Though I did like the paint splotch, too. Very creative.

Ms. Julie's Place said...

I know, I really looked my paint splotch too! It was hard to read though and I was super envious of all the three column blogs, so I immersed myself in HTML code and figured out how to do it! (with a little help from's blog secrets.

Jamie said...

I am soooooo excited that I won!!! You did such an amazing job. The art lesson is fabulous and you added so much more that will help with our study. I can't wait to get started.
I also love the new layout of your blog. I am new here and I am so glad I found you.:)

Melissal89 said...

This is a great unit study! Thanks for sharing. I am currently beginning to do some of this with my children.

Blessings, Melissa

The Ties that Bind Us said...

We are just finished the Middle Ages and are beginning the Renaissance right now in history. I love this time period and getting to study the art. Thank you for a great post! I'm looking forward to stopping by again.

Jimmie said...

What a nice unit study. I love your drawing tutorial too! My daughter loves art, drawing, and anything creative. I'll be reading your blog from now on. (I'm visiting from the Hands on Homeschooling carnival.)