Teaching Primary History: Anglo-Saxons & Vikings for Key Stage 2
>>>MEDIUM-TERM PLANNERS on Anglo-Saxon Britain (August 2014) and Vikings (January 2014) available to subscribers in Planning Section.
The following Key Stage 2 history lessons have all been judged to be outstanding according to OFSTED criteria. There is a wide variety of teaching and learning activities as well as a rich array of teaching resources including PowerPoint® presentations. New lessons will be regularly added to meet the demands of the changing primary curriculum.
Outstanding KS2 Lessons
Teaching the new 2014 curriculum
My strong advice is to teach this as one longer unit combining Anglo-Saxons and Vikings, as there is so much overlap. Teaching them separately would lead to unwelcome repetition.
As you will have noticed the new curriculum pays far greater attention to the Saxons and Vikings. The statutory elements are:
1. Britain’s settlement by Anglo-Saxons and Scots (covers the
period before King Alfred)
2. Viking and Anglo-Saxon struggle for the Kingdom of England to
the time of Edward the Confessor
There are several points that need to been borne in mind when considering your planning. Firstly, both Saxons and Vikings as depth studies are now compulsory in a way they were not in the 2000 curriculum. So there will be work to do. Even schools who have taught the Saxons before will not have done so in this detail. Few will have taught about the Scots.
The most important point to consider is not the content alone but how it provides a context for developing key historical skills. Many of the outstanding lessons featured do just that. Evidence-based enquiry work centres on the cremation urn evidence for Saxons settlement in which pupils test historical hypotheses. The problem-solving Sutton Hoo ship burial detective work lesson really helps pupils to think like historians. Interpretations are well provided for with Has history been fair to the Vikings? Work on causes is dealt with in the push v pull activity on the Saxons.
Teaching Britain's settlement by Anglo-Saxons and Scots
Although the first part of this requirement poses few problems, the second is highly contentious. It may well be that the Gaels on the Scottish west coast were actually part of the same group as those in Northern Ireland. Where is the evidence of a Scottish invasion? Anyway the whole idea is, as one historian recently put it, 'way, way too complex for Y3 and 4'. so my advice is, don't agonise on this point. Mention and move on.
Resourcing your Anglo-Saxon and Viking topics
A great place to start looking for material ion the Anglo-Saxons is the 24 hour museum site for children called showme. You will be helped to explore an Anglo-Saxon village and 3D artefacts as well as seeing video clips of a recent archaeological dig.
The same site can also be a a great starting point for checking out which museums offer pupils the opportunity to get involved in some problem-solving activities using Viking finds.
The discovery of the first fully intact Viking burial site in the UK (October 20th 2011) - on the Ardnamurchan peninsula in Scotland provides a great opportunity for de-bunking some well known Viking myths. The 16ft-long grave containing the remains of a “high-status Viking” who was buried with an axe, a sword and a spear might suggest the typical Viking warrior image. About 200 rivets - the remains of the boat he was laid in - were also found. Previously, boat burials in such a condition have been excavated at sites on Orkney. Until now mainland excavations were only partially successful and had been carried out before more careful and accurate methods were introduced.
Other finds in the 5m-long (16ft) grave in Ardnamurchan included a knife, what could be the tip of a bronze drinking horn, a whetstone from Norway, a ring pin from Ireland and Viking pottery. These finds question the stereotypical image about the Viking helmeted warriors pillaging the land at will.
5 good reasons for thinking the Vikings were more traders than raiders.
Challenging a stereotypical view of the Vikings
Realising where the evidence comes from and then evaluating it.