Wednesday 27 February 2013

Before and after the Magna Carta

Before we jumped into a full blown study of the Magna Carta, we visited several places associated with King John.  First was Old Sarum, which King John once had a new hall built.

We walked around the whole site, surveyed the ruins and were fascinated by how much changes took place at the site since the Iron Age.

We wanted to learn more about the character of King John and the circumstances that led to the signing of the Magna Carta, so we played the King John: The Decision-Making Game.  Tiger enjoyed this activity very much as it gave him an insight into both situational factors as well as personality considerations that determined how anyone (in this case, King John) makes decisions.

We also discussed the importance of reading different sources and contrasting interpretations of historical accounts before making our own minds up about historical events and characters.  This view is supported by reading this particular article that suggests an alternative view to the usual 'bad King John' that almost everyone has of him.

Following our visit to Salisbury Cathedral where we saw one of the four original copies of the Magna Carta, Tiger read through the book that gave a full translation and interpretation of the document:

Then we spent a long time looking through the resources on the Magna Carta available from the British Library, where two of the four copies are kept.

We also had a good read here which details the history of the Magna Carta.  The map is particularly useful in showing the significance of various places in the UK in relation to the document.

Not all was peaceful after signing the Magna Carta, as shown by the Key Magna Carta Battles.  Battles and warfare are the parts that interest Tiger the most, so we watched the following clip about the Battle of Bouvines:

King John also besieged the Rochester Castle in 1215, shortly after signing the Magna Carta.  The siege is described below:

We visited it to see for ourselves the structure of the castle as well as how the siege would have occured there:

Another castle siege was at the Dover Castle in 1216-1217.   Once again, we were able to visit this magnificent and historically significant castle to understand its structure and design.

The following documentary tells us more about the defence structure of Dover Castle:

A well researched and well illustrated book to learn about castle is the following:

Just out of curiostiy, we thought we would find out what King John's castle looked like:

To conclude, Tiger did narration and map work from the following books:

and read a few supplementary stories relating to the House of Angevin in the following books:

This post is linked up to:
1) All Year Round Blog Carnival: Winter 
2) Hearts for Home Blog Hop #6
3) History and Geography Meme # 64
4) Homeschool Mother's Journal: March 1, 2013
5) Hobbies and Handicrafts - March 1
6) Collage Friday - Sharks, Titanic, and Handel
7) TGIF Linky Party #65
8) It's a Wrap
9) Creative Learning Link Up #4
10) Weekly Wrap-Up: The Strangely Bittersweet One
11) Share it Saturday - Dr. Seuss Features
12) The Sunday Showcase - 3/2/13
13) Hip Homeschool Hop - 3/5/13

It is featured on Share It Saturday!


  1. Wow!! What a fabulous study. We'll be doing John at some point (!) in the next few months. The thinking history site is awesome isn't it? We have a book which accompanies the site (I think there are a few you can get) I've not used it yet, but it looks fab! I love all the castle pictures-I need to get us out of the house on a field trip!!

  2. Thanks, Claire. It took us a LONG time to complete King John. It felt like forever! Thanks to your recommendation of The Thinking History site. It has a different way of teaching historical topics that adds a good variation to what we have been doing. I'll be interested to read about how you're using the accompanying book of the site.

  3. I LOVE your collages!! What wonderful links and ideas for study. Thank you so much for linking up to the History and Geography Meme.

  4. Thank, Phyllis. I usually take a lot of photographs on field trips and want to share them without taking up too much storage space, so a photo collage is a good way to achieve both objectives. :-)

  5. What a great post! In 2002, while I was a park ranger at Independence National Historical Park, we had an original Magna Carta from 1297 on display while the National Archives was closed for renovation. It was wonderful and such an honor to tell visitors of the importance of the Magna Carta not only in relationship to British history, but American as well. Next year we are going to study more British history and I look forward to using this post as a resource. Thank you for sharing it at Creative Learning.

  6. How wonderful to be able to visit all these places as a part of your studies! It's definitely on my "wish list" to visit Great Britain someday and see sights like these!

  7. So jealous that you got to visit all those places! Love it! Sounds like a great study!

  8. Thank you for this great lesson plan. We haven't gotten to King John in our history studies, so I will have to learn. I pinned this for future reference.

  9. Thank you for stopping by and leaving your comments, ladies. Much appreciated. :-)

  10. TERRIFIC! I'll be featuring you on Share it Saturday! What a great study ; )

  11. Thank you for featuring us. :-)

  12. Rochester Castle is on my visit wish list. We are learning about knights and castles, at present, so this is really helpful-thank you.


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