Historic Environment GCSE: Castles

Castles: 2 Smart Tasks

Those of you who are studying the castles topic, maybe as part of the OCR specification, might be interested in two smart tasks on the development of castles.

Task 1

This short task acts as a diagnostic assessment tool to check students’ understanding of the chronology of castle development. Avoiding the over-simplistic categorisation of one castle design obediently following another, it asks students to think when certain features of castle would have been most prevalent. Differentiation is achieved by expecting more nuanced dating from the more able who might also spend longer discussing just how much really did change and how suddenly.

Bodiam castle photo WyrdLight.com oWikimedia

Task 2

There is a danger of oversimplifying the way castle design changed. Too often we see it as a simple response to improved methods of attack. Whilst there is some truth in this, we need also to teach pupils that castles were often made to look strong rather than having excellent defences, and in some cases there is more evidence of continuity than change.

This task takes some statements made about medieval castles drawn from a range of textbooks. Instead of asking students to simply say

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