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Westward With the Vikings!

Leif Ericson and his Vikings may have been the first Europeans to come to Newfoundland. Sail on a legendary journey in your own sturdy ship.

  • Grade 2
    Grade 3
    Grade 4
  • Multiple Lesson Periods
  • Directions

    1. In about 1000 Leif Ericson traveled from Norway to Iceland to Greenland and on to the shores of today’s Newfoundland. The Vikings undoubtedly endured rough seas as they explored unknown waters. Imagine the ingenuity of those long-ago Norse shipbuilders! Find information and pictures of Viking ships and then create a replica. Here are a few suggestions.
    2. Build the ship. Fold poster board in half. Use Crayola® Erasable Colored Pencils to draw the ship’s body. The stems and sterns of Viking ships always were carved figures, usually dragons. Cut out your ship with Crayola Scissors. Color it with the Crayola Color Sticks or Erasable Colored Pencils. Erase to create details and highlights such as wood grain and carvings.
    3. Add oars. Color craft sticks with Twistables Crayons. Attach oars on both sides of the ship with Crayola School Glue.
    4. Hoist the sail! Draw, color, and cut out a large paper sail and several flags. Glue flags to both sides of the ship. Glue the sail on a craft stick or plastic straw. Glue it in middle of the ship. Glue the ship’s ends together. Air-dry before you sail the high seas!
  • Standards

    LA: Read with sufficient accuracy and fluency to support comprehension.

    LA: Read and comprehend informational texts, including history/social studies, science, and technical texts, at the high end of the grade level text complexity band independently and proficiently.

    LA: Participate in collaborative conversations with diverse partners about grade level topics and texts with peers and adults in small and larger groups.

    LA: Conduct short research projects to answer a question, drawing on several sources and refocusing the inquiry when appropriate.

    LA: Report on a topic or text, tell a story, or recount an experience with appropriate facts and relevant, descriptive details, speaking clearly at an understandable pace.

    MATH: Solve problems involving measurement and estimation of intervals of time, liquid volumes, and masses of objects.

    SS: Identify and use various sources for reconstructing the past, such as documents, letters, diaries, maps, textbooks, photos, and others.

    SS: Use appropriate resources, data sources, and geographic tools to generate, manipulate, and interpret information.

    SS: Give examples of and explain group and institutional influences such as religious beliefs, laws, and peer pressure, on people, events, and elements of culture.

    VA: Use different media, techniques, and processes to communicate ideas, experiences, and stories.

    VA: Use visual structures of art to communicate ideas.

    VA: Select and use subject matter, symbols, and ideas to communicate meaning.

  • Adaptations

    Possible classroom resources include: Viking Ships At Sunrise (Magic Tree House, No. 15) by Mary Pope Osbourne; Viking Designs by A. G. Smith; Viking (DK Eyewitness Books) by Susan Margeson.

    Organize a field trip to visit a museum to view an exhibit of early sailing ship replicas. Prior to the trip, students brainstorm what they should focus their attention on during the trip. Afterwards, students post learning to a class blog.

    Students work in small groups to create a map of the world as it existed during Viking times. Include the correct placement of the continents, country borders, etc. Students plot the route the Vikings may have taken to Newfoundland. Predict how long the voyage would have taken given ideal weather.

    Students research the Viking people. Investigate their lives as merchants, navigators, shipbuilders, artists, explorers, and warriors. Organize research into an electronic format for presentation to classmates.

    Encourage students to investigate L'Anse aux Meadows, a Canadian national historic site.


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  • Creativity.
  • Capacity.
  • Collaboration.
  • Change.
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