Castles and Knights: The Tower of London

Queen Elizabeth I is our guide to the Tower of London, built by William the Conqueror.

The Tower of London

This episode explores one of the most famous castles in the UK - the Tower of London.

The Tower was one of the first castles to be built by William, Duke of Normandy, following his successful conquest of England. Our guide to the Tower and the many functions it has served over the centuries is Queen Elizabeth I, who was imprisoned in the Tower by her sister, Mary I.

The animation can be used to help pupils understand some aspects of chronology - as they walk down the corridor highlighting some ‘significant individuals in the past’ and it references the Tower being built ‘around 1000 years’ ago.

This can be used as a starting point to explore the life of Queen Elizabeth I (as referenced in the National Curriculum) and for pupils based in the South East it would also be a good base to explore the ‘history of their local area’.


Teacher's Notes
The Tower of London
The Tower of London showing location of the moat and River Thames
The Tower of London - outline drawing to colour

Teacher's Notes

Before the video

The teacher could show an image of the Tower of London to explore what pupils already know (if anything) about it.

They could also try to use the photo to interpret what the building was used for.

During the video

The teacher could pause and ask pupils questions.

The corridor scene could also be used as a way to draw out chronology and explore some of the ‘significant individuals and events from the past’ as they are mentioned.

After the video

After the video the teacher could use it as a stimulus for a discussion (links to the English spoken language objective: 'participate in discussions...debates').

The teacher could ask basic comprehension questions - such as, Why was it built? What is it used for?

The teacher could make a statement - eg ‘The Tower of London was not a safe place’, as sometimes statements elicit a more passionate response from the younger pupils. Then ask the pupils if they agree / disagree / somewhat agree with the statement - and why - before moving into a more conceptual discussion around what important ‘jewels’ the pupils would keep in the Tower of London.

Pupils could be asked to draw three important things they would want to keep protected. To try to draw out the concept of chronology the children could pretend they were living 1000 years ago. What would they value then?

What is similar, what is different compared with today? This could be represented by two hoops laid out as a Venn diagram to capture pupil reflections.

Curriculum Notes

This film is relevant for teaching History at KS1 in England, Wales and Northern Ireland and 1st Level in Scotland.

More from this series

William the Conqueror
The Features of a Castle
Famous Sieges