To wonder what year 7 pupils get from building a castle model(196 Posts)
In history? What is the point?? How does it actually improve their higher level history skills?
11 is a little young to stop trying to step outside your comfort zone.
Any age is too young to stop stepping outside your comfort zone.
I don't think it's about learning styles, it's about giving learners a range of opportunities to learn in different ways and not always assuming that subjects are strictly delineated with no cross-curricular links. I was "very bright" and also very useless at art etc but I loved designing and building a not very good Tudor house to a strict budget. Realising I couldn't afford everything I wanted and prioritising my needs. There's not a chance my mum would have got involved, it was my work and for me to do to the vest of my ability.
To my shame I actually worked much harder at this than I ever did in art because I didn't like art but wanted to please my history teacher.
I always set this homework at the end of a sequence of lessons learning about medieval life and castles. It tested the ability of the student to recall and use that knowledge. Some students produced works of genius,i remember one in particular that had been made, very simply, out of cardboard, but what made it excel was the detail drawn on it, and the labels added which showed just how much learning that particular child had done.
Points are not awarded merely for style, a good castle will really illustrate how that child has understood elements of medieval life. Most of mine particularly enjoyed drawing on details of the rubbishy sewage system! Everyone enjoyed it. Most end of topic assessments in history rely on written pieces which are then given levels, it's always a joy to be able to set something different. I never had a student who didn't enjoy it.
My favourite lesson in Year 7 was always my re-enactment of the Battle of Hastings. Takes some nerve to do that on a playground! Particularly if you get a Harald who isn't keen on dying.....
My Nan knocked up a super castle in one evening when I was at junior school - it had a drawbridge and turrets and everything. I won the prize (a very nice pen set) and took it with no guilt at all, my nearest rival was really annoyed that his Dad hadn't had the foresight to make a working drawbridge. <smug> My Nan was great!
Also, history skills are important but so is actual history. There is too much emphasis in modern history teaching (IMHO) on research skills and empathising with medieval peasants and not enough on actually learning some of the narrative events / facts. I have an MA in medieval history, I teach it to very bright kids at a selective school and like most things in life, there has to be a balance between learning how to evaluate sources, research, etc and actually learning what happened and why. Building a castle is one way (following on from a number of lessons looking at the design, defences, living quarters, progression through the ages) to consolidate this knowledge. God forbid they might do something a bit less pressured for ONE homework inbetween all the essays and questions etc. I also specifically ask that they DON'T get help and sometimes ask for a verbal report on how they achieved a particular bit if it looks a bit too good for an 11 year old. Its pretty obvious if someone's Dad has spent the weekend in the shed!
I find that the art of delegation is a more useful life skill than the art of wrestling cardboard and paint into a recognisable object.
So you let your child delegate to you
Message withdrawn at poster's request.
There is more to history than just reading texts, forming an opinion and writing about it though, isn't there?
Why are so many places of historical interest awash with actors, reconstructions,models ,tableaux,even smells! (I'm thinking Jorvik centre,as an example) Also in York a place where you can take children of all ages to learn about archaeology,with special 'digging' areas and artefacts to be found. Also a host of artefacts to be handled and wondered about. It's just a way of bringing history alive...as is the castle building. A fun,alternative way of presenting what you have found out about.
There is an old Chinese proverb that goes
I listen, I forget
I see, I remember
I do, I understand
Sort of explains the theory behind lessons like this. It also describes in a nutshell how children learn
How boring if history was all essays! How amazing to be able to visualise things in 3D.
As an architectural historian I think this is a fab idea - and yes I have a history degree. Get the kids learning about construction and engineering as well as history.
Not all kids are academic, some will be good with their hands and this will encourage them to learn and give them confidence.
I'm finding the differing views on this interesting.
One think I'd like the teachers to answer.
If you say a homework should take around 2 hours (and in fact most children in the class could achieve it in around that time), would you rather:
a) the child handed in next to nothing but spent just the 2 hours (or 3 or 4) and failed to meet the objectives of the task
b) the child spent 8+ frustrating hours (and still handed in something that looked like they hadn't really tried)
c) the parent helped extensively (and admitted it). The child saying what they want to achieve, but the parent doing most of the actual construction.
This is the same question whether we are talking essays or construction by the way. This has always been our dilemma with construction homeworks.
teen definitely not B! I hate it when kids tell me they've really really tried and haven't managed it. It means I didn't do a good enough job explaining it or offering different levels of acceptable outcome. If C, it depends really - I'd want to know what the parental involvement was. I teach history, not art or tech so I am primarily interested in how well they have demonstrated their knowledge of castle features, not the perfection of the execution, if you see what I mean. The time spent is the important thing. I often use it as a guide for any kind of homework - if you did it in ten mins, its not enough. Tasks are designed to take x time so if its vastly over or under, there's something wrong.
Who would like to know how the castle saga continued?
DS lugged said object to school on the bus and brought it home the same day. Apparently everyone displayed their castles, shook them to see how robust they were, voted on the top two (to stay at school and be entered into the year group competition). And that was it. No marking, no nothing.
Someone had built one out of wood and that didn't make the top two so home it went. Its maker was, unsuprisingly, gutted that all that effort went unappreciated.
Ah well, that's life for you.
DD (Y5) has the Great Explorers as her history topic this term. She has built a model of the Santa Maria; it has been one of the highlights of school!
I think model building is hugely useful, personally. In fact, I buy DD Lego Architecture kits almost compulsively. And dolls houses. And cardboard kits of all sorts of things.
Soooo glad I had teachers (and parents) with more imagination and insight than OP. Replies on this thread are wasted on her, however, as she knows best.
Chippy I think that is terrible. They should have the decency to keep them for two weeks, so that everyone gets the chance to see them. Surely the whole point of school projects is to inspire those in lower and higher classes? And what did shaking achieve except to make all the bits fly off? I hate competitions of that sort where children vote. Teacher should choose.
I suppose they don't have room for 180 castles, but even so, to return them the same day was a bit sad.
Mind you, as the teacher won't remember it, I'm going to put it in the loft until DC2 needs it. A coat of paint, some new flags... <legs it>
Agree with Swanhilda. Really feel for those children who invested a lot, for it not to be recognized at all!
Chippy, excellent plan to keep for recycling
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