The children’s work will link to the characters they have met in Cressida Cowell’s books. They will learn more about the Vikings: where they came from; where they invaded and settled; why they left Scandinavia and how we know about them. Children will also contextualise learning through an introduction to the Anglo-Saxon period with a timeline of the history of Britain. They will learn about the life of the Anglo Saxons in their settlements and the battles that took place between the two civilisations.
Did you know? 10 interesting Viking facts
1. The Vikings were famous for sailing huge distances from their home in Scandinavia between AD 800 and 1066 to raid and plunder, but they also traded with people from other countries.
2. The name ‘Viking means ‘a pirate raid’ in the Old Norse language.
3. Around 500 years before Christopher Columbus ‘discovered’ the American continent, Vikings had visited its shores, landing in what is now Canada in around AD 1000.
4. Among the many gods Vikings believed in were Thor, the god of thunder, and Loki, a cheeky mischief-maker who could shape-shift to become all different kinds of animals. What a beast!
5. The Vikings were expert boat builders and sailors. Keels – central spines along boats’ bottoms – made their 16 to 37m ‘longboats’ easy to steer, and because these were designed to float high in the water, landing on beaches was easy.
6. The Vikings were eco-pioneers – sort of! The ‘long houses’ where families lived would have turf roofs to help keep in the heat.
7. Fenrir Grayback, the werewolf in the Harry Potter books, was named after a ferocious giant wolf from ancient Viking mythology.
8. When important Vikings died, they would be placed with all their clothes, jewellery, even their animals, in a burial ship. This would either be covered with a huge mound of earth or set alight and pushed out to sea.
9. Bitter Scandinavian winters and frozen fjords didn’t stop the Vikings from tucking into their favourite food – fish! During warmer months they would hang up and dry fish to eat later.
10. Ever wondered where the word ‘berserk’ comes from? ‘Berserkers’ was the name of some terrifying Viking warriors who wore bear or wolf skins and howled in battle like wild animals! -
Did you know? 10 interesting Anglo-Saxon facts
- The Anglo-Saxons are made up of three tribes who came to England from across the North Sea around the middle of the 5th century – the Angles, Saxons and Jutes.
- For a long time, England wasn’t really one country – Anglo-Saxon kings ruled lots of little kingdoms across the land.
- Egbert was the first Anglo-Saxon king to rule England. The last Anglo-Saxon king was Harold II in 1066.
- The two most famous Anglo-Saxon kings are Alfred the Great and Canute the Great.
- The Anglo-Saxon period covers about 600 years, and Anglo-Saxon kings ruled England for about 300 years.
- We know how the Anglo Saxons lived because archaeologists have found old settlements and excavated artefacts like belt buckles, swords, bowls and even children’s toys.
- We can also read about what happened during Anglo-Saxon times in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicles.
- Anglo-Saxons once worshipped lots of different gods that they believed controlled all areas of life, but around the 7th century many converted to Christianity after the arrival of the missionary St. Augustine from Rome.
- Some of our modern English words are from the Anglo-Saxons, such as the days of the week.
- Anglo-Saxons lived in small villages near rivers, forests and other important resources that gave them everything they needed to care for farm animals, grow crops and make things to sell.