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Checkmate - Chess in the Classroom | Educational Chess Activites for Students



1. How does the game of chess relate to life in medieval times?

2. How would some common modern day expressions be spoken during medieval days?

3. What are the elements of a play?

4. What are elements of good acting?

5. What are in the production of a play?


computer with Internet capabilities,

Edmark, Imagination Express: Castle

or a word processing application and a

drawing and painting application


Optional: video camera, costumes, scenery


Students use Theater Basic Vocabulary to define the following words: Click here to see a glossary of words related to this chess unit.


1. Students view the online story of The Littlest Knight, Arthurian Stories and Characters (a web site created by seventh grade students at Academy of the Sacred Heart, New Orleans, Louisiana, Walt Disney Home Video, "The Sword And The Stone,". Burbank, California, read Grace Maccarone, The Sword And The Stone, Scholastic Inc., 19, online text of The Sword And The Stone,(This version is on an early elementary school level and might be suitable for students with lower reading levels), and/or Rosemary Sutcliff, The Sword And The Circle, Penguin Publishing, 1979, and listen to the Legend of Camelot.

2. Describe the setting, characters, plot - problem, development, and solution on a graphic organizer.

3. Describe some of the costumes and scenery. How does the game of chess reflect the characters, costumes, and scenery in these stories?

4. Students may play a Fun Brain quiz online related to King Arthur.

5. Click on the Bristol Renaissance Faire web page to learn some of the everyday expressions of medieval days, including:

Good morning. = Good morrow.
Good afternoon. = Good day.
I'll see you later. = I shall see you anon.
How are you? = How now?
Please. = Prithee or Pray.
Thank you. = Grammercy.
Hello, nice to see you! = Hail and well met!
What time is it? = How stands the hour?
Where are the restrooms? = Whither be the privies?
What is your name? = What be thy tide?
Please wait on me! = Prithee, attend me!
I'm thirsty. = I be parched.
Goodbye, I gotta go! = Fare thee well; I must away!


Learn to address the villages and members of the royal court by their correct titles, but remember to be extremely respectful of the Queen:

The Queen = Your Majesty, Her Majesty
Court Ladies = My lady, good Madam
Archbishop = Your Grace
Court men = My lord, good sir
Villagers = Good mistress, my good woman, good master



1. These web sites may be used to extract the elements of a play:

characters Characters are the people, animals, and objects that are in the play.
plot The plot is the main events that take place in the story or play. The plot includes:
inciting incident
The event which triggers the problem of the play.
The problem that the characters need to solve.
The climax is the turning point of the play.
The denouement or resolution is the solution of the conflict or events following the climax of the drama.
theme The theme is the thought, idea, or main lesson to be learned from the play.
music The music may be a form in which characters express themselves or a way to set the mood of the play.
spectacle Spectacle is the props, costumes, make-up, lighting, and sets that are used in the play.
diction Diction or dialogue is what the characters say to each other in the play.

2. Students meet in cooperative groups to brainstorm ideas for writing a play or skit that is set in Medieval Time.

3. Students record their setting, characters, and plot on a graphic organizer.

4. Students formulate dialogue for their characters to introduce the problem, development, and solutions of their storyline. In formulating these aspects of the play, students should take into account emotions and motives of the characters. Students will include the medieval expressions listed above as they write dialogue for their characters.

5. Students organize their dialogue and stage directions into a skit that is written using a word processing application and printed. See our written skits here.

6. Costumes and scenery for the skit are created by the students. Costumes may be as simple as wearing crowns or carrying toy swords. Scenery may be painted on a sheet or butcher paper. Photos of medieval garb costumes may be seen at http://scarboroughrenfest.com/gallery.htm.

7. A "Playbill" may be created using a desktop publishing application such as PageMaker. Included in the Playbill will be the cast of characters, director, producer, etc. along with a synopsis of the skit.


Students perform their skits for the class. Actors will focus on conveying the emotions of the characters they portray, diction, gestures, moving around the stage area. Background music might be played via a tope recorder or CD player, or students may play recorders (small song flutes). Students might make up dance steps to accompany the music. Audience manners and listening skills will be displayed by the students watching the skits and plays.


A rubric will be used to evaluate students on the writing and performance of their skit as well as their ability to work cooperatively.

Follow Up:

Students may video their skits for presentation to other classes and parents.

Additional Resources:

1. More Arthurian children's books may be found at Essential Arthurian Texts from this Amazon.com web site.


2. The history of medieval costumes can be found at


3. Links to instructions for making medieval costumes may be found at


4. Students can view photos of gowns, tunics, bodices, surcoats, doublets, jerkins, and other forms of medieval dress at



To Table of Contents

To Lesson 1 -

Chess Rules

To Lesson 2 -

Chess History

To Lesson - 3

Chess Roles





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