Teaching on Vikings and Lief Erikson

We started our new curriculum for the year! For history this year we will be covering US history from the beginning. We are beginning before the first European even stepped foot into what is now the United States of America. We started the first theme with the Vikings and Leif Erikson.

We read the “Who was Lief Erikson” book for this week and I think we will incorporate this series as often as we can. We learned a lot about how the Vikings raided and explored but how Leif had heard of land further than Greenland and he wanted to find it. He did find Newfoundland in Canada, but he never explored further. If he had just kept sailing, oh the adventures he may have had! How different would the story of America’s start be? That would be a great journal prompt.

Viking Longboats

After lots of reading, summarizing, and studying, we had a craft day. We started with some longboats. These are the boats that the Vikings were well known for. They used them for travel, exploration, and for raiding as well. We covered the anatomy of a longboat and then they built their own from mini juice boxes.

  1. Here is how we made them: 
  2. First, cut the front of the juice box out.
  3. Next, trace the long edge onto cardboard twice and the girls created their own dragon head and tail. Cut it out and trace it to get two.
  4. Attach to the side with hot glue.
  5. Create and decorate a sail and make holes for a straw which you will hot glue in the boat. Add a flag.
    Now you have a longboat!

PLaydough Fjords

Then we mixed some playdough and created a fjord. A fjord is a long body of water that is typically surrounded by mountains on either side. I referred to the fjord in Frozen as an example and the idea clicked for them. We colored the playdough blue for the water and green for land and made sure that there were mountains. It was a perfect topography craft to display our boats in this week.

This is the play dough recipe that we like to use for all our projects.

  • 2 cups of flour
  • ½ cup of salt
  • 2 tbs vegetable oil
  • 2 tbs cream of tartar
  • 1 – 1.5 cups of boiling water

Mix the first 4 ingredients in a bowl. Add 1 cup of water and then the rest gradually to get the consistency you desire.

Viking Shields

For a final fun project, we made shields. I simply found a big circular object and trace it onto cardboard. I explained that the colors and symbols normally had meanings to them so they picked their specific colors. Evie has to make her look like a Hufflepuff house shield with her badger and colors. Isla is unique like a rainbow. Cut some yarn and hot glue them into loops at the back and voila! They acted fiercely with their shields outside.

I think this was a great start to the year of US history.

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