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PrimaryDesign & TechnologyHistory

Viking longships KS2 – Design and build one in class

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PDF lesson plan

Key Stage



Years 3-6

Use questioning and trial and error in this Viking longships KS2 lesson plan to fire imaginations and hone innovation skills…

The era of the Vikings is such a rich strand of the history curriculum. There’s such depth wherever you look: from the compelling mythology to the lasting impact they had on modern-day Britain.

This lesson focuses on the famous Viking longboat. These were renowned for their sleek design and speed in the water. This session brings an opportunity to add design and technology into your history lessons.

It doesn’t even need a water feature to work. Your desks and floors will become the treacherous north seas to explore.

Starter activity

Before your pupils become master shipbuilders, take them outside to get a feel of the scale of a Viking longship. Architects have discovered boats ranging from 23 to 30 metres. So get your trundle wheels out and measure out the distance from prow to stern.

Depending on where you are, you can use cones or chalk to begin marking the outline of a longship. Children can work in teams or relays with a metre stick and cones/chalk to get from one end of the boat to the other.

Once your Vikings have mapped out the boat’s perimeter, get them to embark and pretend to row in unison.

Viking longships KS2 lesson

What they’ll learn:

  • About the design and shape of Viking longboats
  • How sails have been used to power travel on water in different cultures
  • To use trial and error to get a better result
  • How to evaluate the impact of changes to a design

Adam Parkhouse was a silver winner at the Pearson Teaching Awards. He is a senior teacher at Cantley Primary in Norfolk.

Viking longships KS2 lesson plan
Viking longships KS2 – Design and build one in class
PrimaryDesign & TechnologyHistory

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