1. Start your class with a discussion of Who Discovered America? Allow them to express their opinions. Depending on the discussion: * Agree with students who suggest Christopher Columbus. He is credited in most history books. * Agree with students who suggest the ancestors of Native People in North America may have come from Asia. Explain the belief or theory that in the distant past a land connection existed between the continents. * If any students are already aware of the early Viking settlements, use their input to present the concept: "the Vikings discovered America, 500 years before Christopher Columbus."
Emphasize that Viking history was not written, but passed on orally in Viking Sagas. Announce to your students that they will all have the opportunity to create their own personal Viking Sagas.
* If none of your students suggest the history, theory, or concept, you can present them. Describe them in your own words, (recommended). When you get to the Viking concept, read the two page handout to/with them.
Be prepared to pronounce the names of the Vikings involved. ie: Eric the Red; Herjolf (partner of Erik the Red), Bjarni Herjolfsson, (son of Herjolf). Discovered America by accident. Leif Eriksson, (son of Eric) known as 'Leif the Lucky.' Explored the east coast of America. Thorvald Eiriksson (second son of Erik). First Viking to die fighting with the Native People. Thorstein Eiriksson (third son of Eric) His widow, Gudrid married Thorfinn Karlsefni. Karlsefni and Gudrid built the first European settlement at L'Anse aux Meadows (Straumfjord). Beothuks, a warrior tribe of Native People with white skin, blue eyes, and blonde hair. Freydis, (daughter of Erik) a female Viking warrior who disgraced her family name.
* You don't require any additional materials to use this free lesson. After you've tested it, you could ask your librarian to obtain any of the following products from Little Brick Schoolhouse. (www.littlebrick.com) They could be used to enhance your lesson in the future.
1. The story of what happened to Karlsefni and Gudrid is told in an illustrated comic/magazine, The Saga of Karlsefni, ($2.00/copy)
2. Stories about the four children of Eirik the Red, and many others, are told in the Discovering Canada book, (90 pages), The Vikings. ($14.95) The book contains many Student projects based on the Viking culture: * Back-Yard Archaeology * Build a model Viking Knarr (Ocean-going ship) * Writing With Runes (using symbols of the Viking's Runic Alphabet.) * Play a Viking Board Game * Find your Latitude * Make a Husnotra * Find the North Star * Create a Game of Viking Adventure (Westward to Vinland) * Make cardboard Viking weapons * Make a Viking Helmet * Build a model Viking House * Solve a Vinland Crossward Puzzle
3. The story of Thorvald Eiriksson is one of 4 short stories told in a DVD, A Really Short History of Canada, made by Canada's History Television, The other 3 stories are about early fur traders and settlers in Canada. (See our website for more information on these 3-5 minute videos.) The School Kit Includes public performance rights & a 45-page Teachers' Guide & Student assignments. ($49.90)
4. Give your students a library or internet 'map assignment' to discover the locations of Newfoundland in Canada, Greenland, Iceland, & Norway. They will discover the route of the first Europeans to arrive and settle in North America.
5. Give your students a library or internet challenge to discover more information about the restored Viking settlement at L'Anse aux Meadows in Newfoundland today.