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Viking Adventure Unit and Lapbook

Viking Multi-book Theme Unit

Unit and Lapbook created by Wende


Required Books:

Viking Adventure by Clyde Robert Bulla. Illustrated by Douglas Gorsline. 117-page chapter book about the adventures of a young Viking boy who savors the stories of the infamous Leif the Lucky.

The Usborne Book of Explorers by Felicity Everett and Struan Reid. Good overall resource for the study of explorers contains two colorful, fact-filled pages about the Vikings.

The Usborne Book of Living Long Ago by Felicity Brooks and Helen Edom. A fascinating look at how people lived in the past, including details about how Vikings ate and dressed, as well as how they built their ships and houses. 

Helpful Links:

Colorful, informative, online lesson plan:

Info on Leif Eriksson, worksheets, and coloring pages:

Viking paper doll

More paper dolls (scroll down for Pappa and Mamma Viking)

Viking unit study - daily lesson plans with poems, activities, maps, etc.  

Fun Viking Printable and Interactive Games:


Chapter 1: Olaf the Strong

Chapter 1 Components 

Scandinavia -

This story takes place long ago in the land of Norway. Norway is located in northern Europe, along with Sweden and Denmark, in what is known as Scandinavia. Scandinavia was home to the Vikings of the Middle Ages.  Research Scandinavia. Use a children's world atlas as necessary. Where is it located? What bodies of water surround it? What are Norway, Denmark, and Sweden like today?

Adjectives -

An adjective is a word that describes a noun. What adjectives does the author use in this chapter to describe Vikings? Look up and define the words bold and brave.

Female Vikings' Responsibilities -

The mother taught the daughters to cook, make cloth and sew. Other duties would have included cleaning the house, churning butter, milking the cow, taking care of the baby, making sails for the ships, raising the animals, helping to smoke and salt the meat and fish, making cheese, and storing berries and fruit for winter. Read “Making Cloth” on pages 8-9 of The Usborne Book of Living Long Ago.

Oral Thought Question -
What did you think of the way Sigurd was taught to swim? How does this compare to the way you were taught to swim? 

Written Thought Question -

Sigurd does not understand why he has to work so hard on his lessons. His father says that some day he will see. Without reading ahead, why do you think Sigurd has to work so hard?


Chapter 2: The Feast

Chapter 2 Components

Setting (Era) -

Leif Erikson lived a hundred years before this story took place. Record some key dates in Viking times on timeline.

476 AD -         Beginning of Middle Ages

700's AD -       Scandinavia became very populated and Vikings started sailing out to find new land

860 AD -         Vikings settled in Iceland

960 AD -         Leif Ericsson born

986 AD -         Viking Colony established in Greenland under Eric the Red

1000 AD -       Leif Ericsson lands at three places off East Coast of North America

c. 1100 AD -   The setting of Viking Adventure

1500 AD -       End of Middle Ages

Food Vikings Ate -

What kinds of food did the Vikings eat? Read pages 56-57 of The Usborne Book of Living Long Ago to learn more about what and how the Vikings ate. Complete lapbook component.

Viking Houses -

On Olaf's farm there were three houses and three barns, built in the shape of a square. The houses were long houses, typical of those built by Vikings. Read “A Viking Long House” on pages 32-33 of The Usborne Book of Living Long Ago. Complete lapbook component.

Chapter 3: The Land Across the Sea

Chapter 3 Components

Leif Ericsson -

Olaf tells his son the story of Leif the Lucky. Read The Usborne Book of Explorers pages 20-21 and record information on Leif Eriksson Biography Page.  Store in pocket if desired.

Geography -

Trace Leif's voyages. Leif went from Greenland to Heluland (now Baffin Island), to Markland (now Labrador), to Vinland (now Newfoundland), and then back home to Greenland.

Viking Weapons -

The Middle Ages was a very violent period in history and all men were expected to know how to use many weapons to protect and defend their territories. There were different weapons for different kinds of attacks.  Olaf knew it was important to teach Sigurd to use a variety of weapons. What weapons have been mentioned so far? Sword, shield, spear, bow and arrow, are among those mentioned. Record names and descriptions of weapons in Norse Weaponry Matchbook.

Chapter 4: Rolf

Chapter 4 Components

Vikings in Wineland -

Rolf did not believe that Vikings had ever been in Wineland, and that the place was just make-believe. Read “The Evidence” on page 21 of The Usborne Book of Explorers. Write what proof there now is that Vikings were in fact in Wineland (now called Newfoundland).

Male Viking Clothing -

Examine the illustration on page 21 of Viking Adventure. Compare this to the illustrations and descriptions of the men's clothing on page 9 of The Usborne Book of Living Long Ago. Describe clothing in component.

Written Thought Question -

What did Sigurd want to be when he grew up? What would you like to be when you grow up?

Chapter 5: Old Bard

Chapter 5 Components

Viking Occupations -

Vikings had various occupations. Some were honest professions, such as “Singer of songs”, “teller of tales”, traders, farmers, shipbuilders, ship captain, and/or crew. But, unfortunately, some Vikings also chose dishonest professions such as raiders and plunderers. Vikings would attack settlements, especially those in France and England, and steal whatever they could carry back to their ships. English monks had recorded the travesties caused by Vikings. One such monk, Alcuin, in 793 said, “Never before has such terror appeared in Britain as we have now suffered from the pagan race; nor was it thought that such an attack could have been made from the sea.”

Nicknames -

Vikings often had nicknames such as “Olaf the Strong” or “Bard the Old”. The nickname usually described the person in some way. Eric the Red was called that due to his red hair and beard. Leif the Lucky was said to be lucky because of his many close calls. Choose a nickname that best describes you, and write it in Component.

As a side note, Vikings had a given name just like you do. Their last name, also called a surname, was their father's name with “son” or “dottir” added. You will see this throughout your study of Vikings.  If you were a Viking, what would your surname be? You can add this to lapbook component as well.

Dragons -

Vikings carved dragons and other mythical beasts into the prows of their longships. The sailors thought that these fierce creatures would scare away enemies and bring them luck. Their ships were usually named after the creatures that were carved. They also carved dragons into furniture and jewelry. Draw a picture of your fiercest dragon and give it an equally scary name.

Chapter 6: Tales Before the Fire

Chapter 6 Components

Education of Viking Children -

Sigurd did not feel he needed to read or write. This was the common sentiment throughout the Middle Ages. People were too busy making a living, defending their own lands and conquering others, to give any serious thought to education. Books were very scarce, as the printing press had not yet been invented. Viking boys were taught some basic math skills, only to be sure they received their “fair share” when bartering and plundering. Because the Sagas were such an important part of Viking culture, a few Viking children were taken under the wing of a learned man and taught to write. For the most part, however, the people lived in both political and spiritual bondage due to their ignorance, and were told what to think and believe by their corrupt governments and churches.  Write about Viking education in Rock Shape Book.

Viking Alphabet -

Bard wanted to teach Sigurd to write. Vikings used an alphabet different than ours called the “futhark”. The futhark was made up of characters called “runes”, meaning secret in the Gothic language. And secret, it was! Straight, vertical, and diagonal lines, making them easy to carve, formed runes. Each rune may have had several meanings, and the Vikings from Norway, Sweden, and Denmark each had different versions of the alphabet.  Runic inscriptions were carved into stone monuments, wood, weapons, and jewelry. Define the words “rune” and futhark” in matchbooks. Write words using Viking Alphabet on cards and store in Pocket Book.

Story Telling -

It was a Viking tradition to tell stories. These stories, called “sagas”, were often about giants, heroes, and exploration. They were usually told in the form of a poem so they were easier to remember, and they were handed down from generation to generation. Viking poems were also called “Skaldic Poems”, and the poet was called a “Skald”. Think of an adventurous story and tell it to someone. Record it in component.

Chapter 7: The Horseman

Chapter 7 Components

Seafarers -

Some of these were discussed in Chapter 5. Review definitions and record in Flap Book.

Raider - A Viking who made a surprise attack. They would sneak up on the coasts of villages, go to land, plunder and kill their way through the village, and leave with as many goods, women, and children as they could. They would often leave the village in ashes behind them. 

Traders -Vikings who sailed along the river routes into Russia and Central Asia to trade things they had for things they needed. They traded wood, iron, and furs for things like gold, silver, salt, and spices.

Captain - The officer in command of a ship that leads and guides others.

Sailor - The males that would work on the ship, helping wherever they were needed.

Oral Thought Question -

Pretend you are Sigurd. Try to convince Gorm why you should be allowed to go on the adventure.

Chapter 8: Olaf's Answer

Chapter 8 Components

Viking Money -

Olaf gave Sigurd a purse of money for his travels. Vikings would often barter for the goods they needed, and sometimes the differences in value were made up in silver coins. The coins were a soft metal, and the Vikings would cut and re-stamp the coins using a die stamp. The designs were usually pictures of ships or dragons. Viking merchants carried small, portable scales with them to weigh the silver. Make coins by embossing designs onto discs of aluminum foil. Store in Scale Pockets.

Chapter 9: The Stone

Chapter 9 Components

Viking Ships -

The various clans of Vikings who lived around Norway many years ago used two kinds of ships. The kind of ship mentioned in this chapter is called a Knorr. A knorr was lower and wider than a long ship, and it was used for trading.  Read more about knorrs on pages 82-83 of The Usborne Book of Living Long Ago.  Describe what a knorr looked like, as well as what it was used for, in component. 

Landforms -

Vikings saw a variety of landforms on their journeys through the seas. Define each one in flapbook. (some will be covered in future chapters)

Harbor - a sheltered part of a body of water deep enough to provide anchorage for ships.

Shore - the land along the edge of an ocean, sea, lake, or river.

Fjord - (note - this word is not found in the story, but you are likely to come across it in your study of Vikings) a long, narrow, deep inlet of the sea bordered by steep slopes, found especially along the coasts of Norway and Alaska.

Oral Thought Question -

Why do you think Gorm allowed Sigurd to go with him?

Chapter 10: Aron

Chapter 10 Components

How was Meat Preserved?

The cook guarded the barrels of food. How was food preserved, so it didn't go bad during their voyage on the ship? Read “Keeping Food” on page 56 of The Usborne Book of Living Long Ago. Complete Component.

Sigurd's Diary -

Sigurd can't write. Help him write a diary about his days at sea. Continue this for future chapters. Be sure to include what he sees, how he feels, what he does, etc. Remember to write it from a first person point of view, as it is Sigurd's diary.

Iceland -

Sigurd visited Iceland. Iceland is the western most country in Europe. It is an island with many volcanoes, hot springs, and glaciers. The capital is Reykjavik and the main industry is fishing. The people of Iceland speak Icelandic, and their currency is the Króna.  Complete Iceland shutterfold. 

Chapter 11: A Dream of Danger

Chapter 11 Components

Viking Ships -

The various clans of Vikings who lived around Norway many years ago used two kinds of ships. Longships were usually about 65 - 100 feet long. They had one mast, located amidships, and a woolen sail. The boats could also be rowed.  The hull was flat, which allowed the ships to sail up shallow rivers. Viking ships were very fast. The prow was decorated with a fierce carving, often a dragon or a snake. Viking Sailors - pgs 82-83

Prow - front end of Viking ship

Deck - platform extending horizontally from one side of a ship to the other

Oar - used to row boat when there was no wind

Hull - the main body of the ship

Mast - tall narrow pole that rises from the keel to support sails and running rigging

Keel - ship's backbone, running lengthwise along the centerline from the prow to stern

Port - left side of ship

Starboard - right side of ship

Rudder - large steering board

Stern - rear end of ship

Sails - fabric attached to mast to catch wind and propel ship forward

Rigging - the ropes and cords attached to the sail

Sigurd's Adventure -

Continue writing in Sigurd's diary. 

Chapter 12: Fog and Storm

Chapter 12 Components

Hazards at Sea -

Vikings would often run into hazards at sea. What were some of the hazards mentioned in this chapter? Can you think of any others? In addition to thick fog, wind and rain, lightening, tidal waves, large sea animals, and even other Vikings could be a threat. Write about hazards in slide book. 


Sigurd's Adventure -

Continue writing in Sigurd's diary. 

Chapter 13: Remember This Day

Chapter 13 Components

Savages in Wineland -

When in Wineland, savages attacked Halfred and his men. Earlier Vikings had also had hostile encounters with these savages. Read “Defeated by the Skraelings” on page 21 of The Usborne Book of Explorers. What did the Vikings call these savages? Who was successful at trading with the Skraelings?

Clothes for Fighting -

Examine the illustrations on pages 73-74. Read “Clothes for Fighting” on page 9 of The Usborne Book of Living Long Ago about the clothes Vikings wore when fighting. What was sewn into the leather jackets for extra protection? Why did helmets sometimes have metal pieces on the front? What is chain mail?

Sigurd's Adventure -

Continue writing in Sigurd's diary. 

Chapter 14: A String of Shells

 Chapter 14 Components

Viking Superstitions -

During the Middle Ages, when ignorance and reaction ran rampant, people believed in superstitions. Superstitions are believed to have bad outcomes if not adhered to. They instill a fear or panic in people.

Vikings were very superstitious people. Their superstitions were based on their pagan beliefs in mythical Norse gods and goddesses. Some of the Viking superstitions included the thought that fierce creatures decorating their ships, such as dragons, would bring the sailors good luck and scare off enemies.  Halfred was superstitious about his dreams and visions, believing that the adventure was cursed. Are you superstitious about anything? Share some superstitions you have seen followed, even today. What is said to happen if you break a mirror? How about if a black cat crosses your path? Why do many tall buildings not have a thirteenth floor? As Christians, we should not believe in superstitions, for they show a trust in the supernatural instead of a trust in God.

Sigurd's Adventure -

Continue writing in Sigurd's diary. 

Oral Thought Question -

If you were Gorm, and you just found out what Halfred did to the savage, what would you have done?

Chapter 15: The Cliff

No new components for this chapter.

More Landforms -

Add these definitions to your landform component from chapter 9.

Mouth of river - The part of the river where its waters are discharged into a larger body of water

Cliff - A high, steep, face of rock

Chapter 16: The Knife 

No new components for this chapter.

Viking Weapons -

Vikings, like Halfred, often kept a knife at their side. Add a knife to your Norse Weapons component from chapter 3.

Chapter 17: On the Steering Deck

Chapter 17 Components

Navigating by the Stars -

Viking explorers did not have magnetic compasses to navigate the seas. They used the sun and stars to navigate. They watched and recorded the positions of the stars and the sun's shadow over a period of time, and used these calculations to find their north/south position. They also used their knowledge of winds, tides, and wave patterns, as well as sightings of land, animals, or sea birds to get their bearings.

Chapter 18: Sigurd and Aron

No components for this chapter.

Chapter 19: A Light on the Island

No components for this chapter.

Chapter 20: The Hut

Chapter 20 Components

Male Vikings' Responsibilities -

Sigurd helped the old man and his wife. What were some of the things he did? He helped to keep the fire going and he shoveled snow. Other responsibilities the male Vikings had were plowing the ground and sowing seeds, cutting, raking, and stacking hay, building and repairing the ships, making spoons, knives, and other tools, hunting and skinning animals, fishing, and taking care of livestock. Make a list of Responsibility Slide.

Chapter 21: Sigurd's Story

Complete lapbook. You may like to use these graphics to decorate Lapbook cover and pages.