I’m the Queen/King of the Castle

Contributed by: Gordon Webb

Grade 1: Structures and Mechanisms


  • An object is held together by its structure.
  • The materials and structure of an object determine its purpose.

Inquiry Skills Used

This is a hands-on activity with students exploring and experimenting to produce a structurally sound building using various materials.

Safety Considerations

Students should be reminded about safe practices regarding the use of scissors.


Structures can be made from various materials.

The soundness of the structure is dependent on how these materials are made into various structures and used in combination to create a solid structure.

What You Need

  • Straws
  • Bamboo cooking skews
  • Coloured tissue paper or other thin paper
  • Scissors
  • Glue, tape or staples
  • Toilet/paper towel rolls
  • String
  • Construction paper
  • Templates of a cone, rectangular prism, cylinder
  • Corrugated cardboard for a base


What to Do

1. Start by reading a story about different types of castles to the class.

2. Brain storm with the class about which shapes can be       used in a castle.

  • cone and cylinder make a tower
  • a rectangular prism makes a keep or a wall

This activity can be done individually or in groups.

3. Distribute the materials to the class.

4. Demonstrate how to convert a cone and cylinder into a wall tower.

5. Have the students explore how to connect the towers and how the occupants of the castle will get in and out of the castle.

6. Provide an example of a pre-made castle, using the various components, or demonstrate using pictures.

Where to Go from Here?

Students can learn more about structures of a castle in the following websites:



Have the students explore the following:

  • What is the purpose of your structure?
  • What materials did you use to build your structure?
  • Why did you choose those materials instead of _____ to build your structure?
  • What did you use to fasten your structure together?
  • What might happen to the materials in your structure when it is no longer being used?

STSE Links

Discuss with the students the various materials used to build houses and which would be stronger or more durable.

Cross Curricular Connections


  • The teacher can combine this activity with literacy, reading the story, The Three Little Pigs or Three pigs, A Wolf and Seven Magic Shapes by Grace Maccarone, and comparing the materials used to build the various structures.


  • The structures can be made of three-dimensional shapes.