Westward With the Vikings!

Westward With the Vikings! lesson plan

Leif Ericson and his Vikings may have been the first Europeans to come to Newfoundland. Sail on a legendary journey in your own sturdy ship.

  • 1.

    In about 1000 Leif Ericson traveled from Norway to Iceland to Greenland and on to the shores of today’s Newfoundland. The Vikings undoubtedly endured rough seas as they explored unknown waters. Imagine the ingenuity of those long-ago Norse shipbuilders! Find information and pictures of Viking ships and then create a replica. Here are a few suggestions.

  • 2.

    <EM>Build the ship.</EM> Fold poster board in half. Use Crayola® Erasable Colored Pencils to draw the ship’s body. The stems and sterns of Viking ships always were carved figures, usually dragons. Cut out your ship with Crayola Scissors. Color it with the colored pencils and Erasable Colored Pencils. Erase to create details and highlights such as wood grain and carvings.

  • 3.

    <STRONG>Add oars.</STRONG> Color craft sticks with Twistables. Attach oars on both sides of the ship with Crayola School Glue.

  • 4.

    <STRONG>Hoist the sail!</STRONG> Draw, color, and cut out a large paper sail and several flags. Glue flags to both sides of the ship. Glue the sail on a craft stick or plastic straw. Glue it in middle of the ship. Glue the ship’s ends together. Air-dry before you sail the high seas!


  • Students learn about Norse explorers, considered by many historians to be the earliest Europeans to sail to Newfoundland.
  • Students recognize the superior craftsmanship of a Viking sailing ship that would have been needed to withstand the long, arduous voyage.
  • Students demonstrate knowledge of Leif Ericson and his Viking explorers and sailors by crafting a paper Viking ship with sail.


  • If possible, visit museums to see replicas of early sailing ships. Children with special needs may especially benefit from seeing 3-D models.
  • On a map, plot the route the Vikings may have taken. How long would the voyage have taken in ideal weather?
  • Research the Viking people to find out about their lives as merchants, navigators, shipbuilders, artists, explorers, and warriors.
  • Find out about L’Anse aux Meadows, a Canadian national historic site. It is where remnants of Norse sailors and their camp where discovered in 1960 by Helge and Anne Ingstad.
  • Assessment: Look for accurate details, evidence of problem solving in the construction, and use of erasures to create design highlights.