Learning Exercise

The Vikings: North Atlantic exploration and settlement

A collaborative project for use in F2F or online instruction
Course: World Civilization

This website has been produced by the Smithsonian Institution to highlight a major new exhibit on Viking exploration of... see more


Part-I Break class up into at least three groups of no more than 8 persons--instructors may modify these numbers as needed (tasks within each group will be divided by the learners themselves).

Part II Each group will be responsible for reviewing the archeological, primary source materials (sagas) and historical information contained within this site as assigned. Upon reviewing the material and conferring about how best to discuss the material, each group will present their material to the class.

For online scenarios, this material can be presented via PowerPoint or other presentation software in the Student Presentations forums within their course modules.

Part III Group One: Homelands and Western Isles;

Group Two: Iceland and Greenland;

Group Three: Markland, Helluland, and Vinland;

Part IV The instructor will provide a brief overview of popular depictions, mythology and legends about the Vikings. This material will contrast with the real Vikings that the learners will discover.

Part V Each group should consider the following general questions and provide the source (type of evidence) for your conclusions:

a) What was the particular significance of the region to the Vikings?

b) How did Vikings adapt their lifeways to the land and climate?

c) What particular skills and craftmenship enabled the Vikings to adapt to new lands?

d) What evidence exists about Viking contact with other peoples?

e) Do Vikings still inhabit these realms? if not, why not?

f) Was there any particular evidence that historians or archeologists found in their work or that your group found particularly intrigueing in this study of the Vikings?

Technical Notes

Flash pluggins (optional)


familiarity with site navigation--this will be easy to attain as the Smithsonian designed a user-friendly site.


Viking homelands, lifeways, exploration, colonization, interaction with other peoples

Learning Objectives

learners will come to better understand the real Vikinngs vs. those known from legend or movies and stories through an exploration of archeological evidence, primary source examination, and short summaries of scholarly Viking history.