Online College Courses for Credit

The Vikings

The Vikings

Author: Benjamin Wilson

Students will understand how far the Vikings traveled, and what motivated them to travel. They will also be familiar with certain things the Vikings used to become great adventurers at sea. 

The Vikings were some of the most widespread explorers of the ancient world. They came from an area called "Scandinavia", and traveled to many different places.

The Vikings would either raid villages or trade with people to get their goods.

The Vikings were expert ship builders, and some of their building techniques are still used in modern boats and ships.


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We Are the Vikings Parody

Silly video that also has some true facts contained in the lyrics.


Horrible Histories - Vicious Vikings

Another silly video about the Vikings. I like using silly yet factual videos that get the students excited about the subject.


Horrible Histories - the Viking Report

This video shows a brief (and also silly) overview of Viking history.


Supplemental Pictures




Source: internet/google

Teacher Text

note: link information to student website so they may copy for notes.

The Vikings were some of the most widespread explorers of the ancient world. Originally from Denmark, Norway, and Sweden (what we now call Scandinavia), the Vikings traveled all the way to northern Africa and the Mediterranean Sea in the south, to eastern Russia west of Scandinavia, to parts of North America, and to many parts of Europe. Though they traveled extensively, the Vikings usually traded with or raided certain areas and villages - they rarely set up settlements, although they did set up a few settlements in France (the word "Normandy" means "men from the north"), and they set up so many villages in Britain that eventually they became the most influential group of people in the country - the city of York is derived from a Norse word, "Jorvik", and it was the Viking capital for many years. 

The Vikings liked to trade with other groups of people for goods they did not have. They would trade things from their countries, such as furs, walrus tusks, combs, and warm clothing, and in return they would get goods from other people, such as wine, silver jewelry, dogs, spices, and more. The Vikings would also raid groups of people. The design of their raiding ships allowed them to get very near the unsuspecting village very quickly, and they would take over the entire village, taking any goods they wanted. They would often kill the women and children, and capture the men as slaves. 

The Vikings developed a shallow-hulled boat that made the boat swift, and where it was able to float near land. This enabled them to get near to the shore, and to float down rivers to attack unsuspecting villages or tribes. Their raiding ships would be long and narrow. The Vikings also had a kind of cargo ship, which was larger and had a deeper hull, providing more storage room for the goods raided by the pillagers. The Vikings knew how to navigate at sea using a tool called an astrolabe, which helped them understand their location based on the location of the stars. The Viking ships would sometimes have one large square sail, but most of the ship's power would be derived from the warriors rowing - they would take turns rowing the ships, and this enabled them to go places quickly, even if the wind was not blowing in the right direction. 

*At the end of the lesson, ask students rapid-fire questions about content to check for understanding. You may ask them random trivia questions, or ask them questions about the maps shown in class over the areas the Vikings came from, where they settled, and where they traveled.

Source: My own writing.