These activities are taken from Teaching with Favorite Magic Tree House Books available from Scholastic Professional Books.
In Viking Ships at Sunrise , Jack and Annie are off to save another book for Morgan’s library. This time they have to face Vikings in ancient Ireland. At this time in history every book that was written was done by hand. This was a painstaking and time-consuming task that was mostly performed by monks. Invite students to time how long it takes to copy a page from a favorite chapter book. Now multiply that number by the number of pages. What a long process!
A Shipshape Classroom (Social Studies and Language Arts)
Vikings were master shipbuilders. Annie and Jack accidentally go for a sail in one of the Viking ships. Turn the classroom into a Viking ship to learn about basic boat anatomy and vocabulary.
Using the book as a resource, have students name parts of a ship (such as bow, stern, port, starboard, and helm).
Use colorful electrical tape to mark off a “ship” in the classroom (incorporating as much of the classroom as possible). Have students use sentence strips or large index cards to label the different parts of the ship, such as the bow (the front of the classroom), the stern (the back of the classroom), port (left side), starboard (right side), and helm (the teacher’s desk).
Play a game to reinforce vocabulary. Have children gather together in one part of the ship. Call out another part of the ship. Have students quickly gather there. Continue, calling students to different parts of the ship. As a challenge, remove the labels and repeat the game. Can students remember where each part is in relation to other parts?
Viking Vocabulary (Social Studies and Language Arts)
Can students name at least ten parts of a Viking warrior? Let them try, with an activity that reinforces content-area vocabulary and teaches how to use diagrams as a nonfiction tool. Divide the class into small groups. Give each child a copy of the Viking Vocabulary worksheet (PDF). Have students use what they learned in the book and other Viking resources to label each part of the diagram. Have children give the diagram a title and write a caption that includes an inference they can make from the information in the diagram.
Vikings Internet Scavenger Hunt (Language Arts and Art)
Jack and Annie learn a lot about the Vikings, including the fact that they were scavengers who raided and stole. Invite students to go on their own scavenger hunt—on the Internet! Give each child a copy of the following scavenger hunt items:
- Write your name in runes (the Viking language).
- Design your own Viking ship’s prow (the fore part of a vessel).
- Find the most impressive Viking fact you can.
Bookmark Web site addresses to guide the search. Before proceeding with the scavenger hunt, review guidelines for Internet safety. To go further, combine students’ most impressive facts into a question and answer guide to Vikings, a great activity for reinforcing nonfiction writing skills.