Teaching Students About Viking Lands

The Viking Age, roughly spanning from the late eighth to the early eleventh century, was a period of significant historical importance. During this era, seafaring Vikings from the Scandinavian regions embarked on explorations and conquests that would change the course of history. These adventurous warriors and traders managed to reach parts of Europe, Asia, and even North America. Teaching students about Viking lands can not only ignite their interest in history but also inspire them to learn about various cultures and develop a sense of curiosity about the world.

Incorporating a Multi-Disciplinary Approach

To effectively teach students about Viking lands, educators should integrate a multi-disciplinary approach that combines history, geography, arts, literature, and archaeology. This holistic teaching method enables learners to better understand and appreciate the rich heritage of the Viking people.

History and Geography

Studying the history of the Viking people is instrumental in understanding their motivation for exploration and conquest. Teachers should share stories of famous expeditions, such as those led by Leif Erikson or Erik the Red, who helped establish settlements in Greenland and North America. It is also crucial to explore how trade routes linked Scandinavia with other regions across Europe, Asia, and the Middle East.

In geography lessons, maps can be utilized to locate key sites in current Scandinavian countries (Norway, Denmark, and Sweden) that played a crucial role during the Viking Age. Additionally, students can analyze how geographical factors influenced life in these well-known lands along with their connection to countries like Ireland, England, France, Russia, Iceland, Greenland and even Newfoundland in present-day Canada.

Arts and Literature

The vibrant culture of Vikings can be explored through their arts and literature. Educators should introduce students to exquisite artifacts such as elaborate jewelry made from gold or silver or intricate wood carvings showcasing Nordic mythological themes. Classes can also study the symbolic meanings behind common Viking designs, including the distinctive “gripping beast” motif.

Moreover, students should become aware of Old Norse literature, which features renowned sagas and poetry. Texts such as the Icelandic Sagas and the Poetic Edda can serve as primary resources to give students firsthand insights into Viking customs and beliefs.


Hands-on activities can further enhance students’ understanding of Viking history. Educators could arrange visits to local museums or archaeological sites where Viking discoveries have been made. These experiences will enable learners to appreciate the accomplishments of the Vikings and witness concrete evidence of their extensive travels.

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