Build up the Fort - drama activity

In this activity, children re-enact the construction of a Roman fort. The children can work individually or in small groups with one adult reading out the instructions.

Download the activity below to role-play the construction of a Roman fort.

Download: Build up the Fort PDF resource (1.4 MB)

Ask the children to create a mime for each action and then demonstrate it. Does the mime work well? Can their classmates suggest any improvements? 

Setting the scene

Setting the scene

Describe to the children that the scene is the building site of a fort in the North East of England. They are going to be Roman soldiers building the fort. As they mime, they can think about the ground conditions and weather conditions.

This is the building site of a fort, around 1,900 years ago. The fort had to be strong, to protect the Romans from bad weather and attack.

• Heavy stones were quarried and brought to the building site.

Children mime finding suitable stone, searching in the quarry. Then mime quarrying the stone and struggling to bring it into the space. They pass the stone from one to another from a distance to get it to where it was needed.

• Then firm foundations were laid.

Children mime digging into the ground moving the earth away to create a flat surface and then laying the foundations under the ground. 

  • The flat stones from the quarry were made into a paved floor.

Children mime choosing, then laying flat stones on the ground. They need to be laid together without gaps to make sure the floor was safe.

• Blocks of stone were cut with chisels ready to build walls. They would be different sizes for different parts of the wall. Some would be large and some small.

Children mime chiselling apart a large stone, into smaller blocks.

• When enough stone was prepared, the walls of the building were built up. They would need to be butted close together to make sure the wind and rain could not get through.

Children mime laying the stones on top of each other to build a wall. Then checking there are no gaps.

• Clay tiles were made and laid over wooden beams to make a weatherproof roof.

Children can mime making the tiles, forming the clay with their hands and then firing the tiles in a hot kiln, cutting timber and creating a roof structure. Then they would climb onto the timber roof structure and lay the tiles closely together to make a safe and secure roof.

• The building was complete.

Children mime stepping back and admiring the building.