Vikings: What were they like?

This lesson gives the topic on the Vikings a really active start. Pupils are placed in role as Saxon spies who have to find out what makes the Vikings’ boats so special.  You’ll love the technique known as reconstruction relay, because after the fast and furious finding out there is a quieter thinking of questions section, followed by a hot seating activity,

Learning objectives

  • pupils learn to observe precise detail about Viking ships
  •  they raise high quality historical questions of their own
  •  they carry out simple research in preparation for hot seating

Step 1 Scene setting

It is 815AD.  You are a tribe of Saxons living on the Southern shores of  Wessex.  You are completely fed up with being attacked by the Vikings who seem to have particularly effective boats that manage to land in places you thought impossible and to sail up rivers ready to attack you.  They have caused a lot of damage to your fellow Saxons. What is the secret of their success?  Here is your chance to find out.

Step 2 Setting up the activity

You are to work in teams of four as Saxon spies.  (Group sizes: four works best, if threes then it might

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