King Arthur - How He Became King

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Grade Level
Middle School
Length of Time
1 hour

This lesson is about King Arthur. It covers the section, "The Winning of Kinghood," in the book, "The Story of King Arthur and His Knights" by Howard Pyle.


Students will learn:
About King Arthur and how he won Kinghood

Materials Needed

"The Story of King Arthur and His Knights" by Howard Pyle
Pencil and Eraser
Notebook Paper


First, students need to read about King Arthur.

The following is a summary of how Arthur became king.

Sir Ector had two sons, Sir Kay and Arthur. The Archbishop of Cantebury had a gathering of different kings, dukes, and high lords for a tournament. Sir Kay was accepted to join the battle. He had Arthur join him to carry the sword and pennant.

During the battle, Sir Kay's sword broke, and he needed Arthur to get him another one. Arthur didn't know where to get one. Sir Kay told him to get one from their father's place.

Arthur hurried to get a sword, but he couldn't get inside his father's place. Then, he remembered the sword in the anvil. He looked around to see if anyone was watching him. He didn't see anyone, so he got upon the rock and pulled the sword out of the anvil. Then, he wrapped it inside the cloak and took it to his brother. Sir Kay knew where he got the sword.

Sir Kay and Arthur went to their father. Sir Kay gave his father the sword. Sir Ector wondered where he got the sword. Sir Kay told his father that he got the sword after he broke his sword in the battle. Sir Ector didn't know what to believe.

Finally, Sir Ector told Sir Kay that if he withdrew the sword from the anvil, then he should be able to return it to the anvil. Sir Kay argued with Sir Ector about that concept, but Sir Ector said he should be able to return it to the anvil if he pulled it out.

After Sir Kay thought about it, he decided to try and put the sword back into the anvil. Sir Kay believed that if his younger brother, Arthur, could pull it out, then he could put it back in with as much ease as Arthur had when he pulled it out. Sir Kay tried to put the sword back into the anvil, but he didn't succeed.

Sir Ector wondered why Sir Kay couldn't put the sword back into the anvil if he had taken it out. Arthur spoke up and told Sir Ector that he was the one who pulled out the sword. Arthur took the sword and put it into the anvil. Then, he pulled it out again and replaced it. Sir Ector knew then that Arthur was the one who had taken the sword.

Sir Ector kneeled in front of Arthur, but Arthur couldn't understand why he did that. At that time, Sir Ector told Arthur that he was not his father. He finally revealed to Arthur that Uther-Pendragon was his real father. Arthur told Sir Ector that he did't want to lose his father. He said he did't want to be King if it meant losing his father.

Merlin spoke up and told what he knew about Arthur and that he was to be a great king.

Later, Merlin brought Arthur to the Archbishop and told him about Arthur and his real father. The Archbishop had Arthur go to the anvil and take the sword out. Arthur went to the anvil, took out the sword, and then swung it over his head three times in front of everyone.

After Arthur had completed his task, some of the people didn't believe him, but the Archbishop told them he performed the task that they couldn't do. Some of the people left, and Arthur was declared the King of England. Questions:

1. Who is Arthur's real father?

2. Who is Sir Kay?

3. What happened to Sir Kay at the tournament?

4. Where did Arthur get the sword for Sir Kay?

5. What happened when Sir Kay found out about the sword?

6. Who is Sir Ector?

7. What did Sir Ector ask Sir Kay to do with the sword?

8. Did Sir Kay accomplish the task? Why or why not?

9. What did Arthur do after Sir Kay tried to perform the task?

10. Did Arthur succeed in the task?

11. What happened after Sir Ector, Sir Kay, and Arthur went to the Archbishop?

12. What did the Archbishop have Arthur do?

13. Did Arthur perform the task that the Archbishop had him do?

14. What did the people think about Arthur?

15. How did Arthur become the King of England?


You can grade the students on sentence structure, paragraph structure, English Grammar, punctuation, spelling, and the accuracy of information in their essay.

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