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Dragon Designs Aut 2 2023

Dragon Designs

Autumn 2 2023

DT, English and History

Science and Art

Thinking and Interdependence


Rationale: After sharing the story of “The Dragon and the Nibblesome Knight”, the children are inspired to help design and build a new castle for the dragons to live in. They will start by investigating the historical facts surrounding what features castles have, what they were used for and by who! Labelled diagrams will help to show their findings. Making a fabric toy dragon which the children can take home, will help them to recognise the needs of a dragon. They will use this experience and the facts they have found out about castles, to prepare a plan and design in small groups. They will test different ideas, make mock ups and choose which tools and materials are best to use. The children will write a letter, descriptions and poetry to accompany their designs. The project will culminate in a castle presentation for Year R where the children look at how the features work and match the dragon.


The children arrive in the classroom to discover cardboard castle, a dragon and a book (The Dragon and the Nibblesome Knight). The last page of the book has a very special message just for Year 1/2! The children will share the book and discover the story of how the knight and the dragon become friends, so much so that the knight decides that the dragon needs a castle like his to live in. The children are set the task of building a castle for the dragon which has working parts and provides the dragon with a safe place to live. But what is a castle? How was it built? What was it used for?

Exploring "The Dragon and the Nibblesome Knight" in our reading skills session!

Discovering castles - using our historical skills we found out that castles were first built in the UK by William the Conqueror in 1066. At first they were made of wood but soon became stronger with stone being used. Many features were added to make the castles stronger and safer from attack. We used chronological order to place the castles on a timeline and explored the features that make castles strong!

Before designing our castles, we thought it was important to find out a bit more about we made our own toys dragons. We chose felt as it is a fabric that does not fray. We made templates and learnt how to secure these with pins to the felt. Mrs Smith and Mrs Armstrong helped us to cut out the fabric pieces. We then had to practise joining pieces of felt together - we used running stitch. Sewing is hard work but we didn't give up. Our dragons needed to be 3D so we stuffed them using wadding. They were made even more elaborate by adding decorated wings and googly eyes. Well done Year 1/2 - this was a feat of patience and determination!

Our dragons have now headed home, to spend a couple weeks with Year 1/2. I hope they behave themselves!

We have continued using our designing skills by working in a small group to design a castle for our dragons. We started by drawing and labelling a castle design, ensuring we included all the features we have learnt about.

Next we made a mock up of our castles using construction materials like megablocks, wooden cubes and Lego to help us visualise the structure.

Today we investigated how to make a drawbridge move! WE worked out that it needed a rope to pull it shut but how could we pull the rope? We found out that we could wind it around using a cotton reel like a wheel on a axel. As we turned the axel the rope went around the cotton reel and pulled the drawbridge closed. We also found out that cardboard made the best drawbridge as it was stiff but we could fold it to make a lever so it could move up and down!

Look at our moving drawbridges in action!!

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Still image for this video


Still image for this video

Castle construction is underway! We have learned different techniques for joining cardboard, these included glue, tape, a brace, folding, tabs and slots. We are ready to start making our designs. We can then add our mechanism to make our drawbridge move!

Wow Year 1/2 what amazing castles! You have been excellent designers! Well done!