Not Angles, but angels! Year 4 Anglo-Saxon Day

Year 4 travelled back in time to the Anglo-Saxon period to be History Detectives for the day. In fact, it turned into a day and half as we found so much to investigate that we extended the experience!

Each investigative session was based on the higher-order thinking question of not ‘what’ but ‘how do we know about the Anglo-Saxons?’

The sessions:

Who were they? Travelling back in time to understand the timeline.

Questions: When and why did the Anglo-Saxons come over to England?

Illumination! Understanding that the Anglo-Saxon language is the distant forebear of our own Modern English. Exploring the Anglo-Saxon Chronicles. Creating our own illuminated letters.

Questions: How were manuscripts made? Who wrote them and decorated them? What can we learn from the words and illuminations?

Arts and Crafts! Investigating archaeological evidence of Anglo-Saxon art and craft. Creating our own composite brooches for a wealthy noble.

Questions: What decorations did the Anglo-Saxons enjoy? Did they include meaning and symbols? Who wore the jewellery that has been found and why?

How did they buy things? Learning about the development of Anglo-Saxon coinage. Making our own belt-purses to carry a coins we designed and ‘minted’ ourselves.

Questions: What can we learn from a coin? Did they ‘buy’ things in other ways?

What did they wear? Recreating a burial, then ‘discovering’ the remains 1500 years later. Exploring primary evidence of Anglo-Saxon clothing from archaeological evidence, art and manuscripts. Dressing our own Anglo-Saxons from the evidence.

Questions: What can we learn from the type and location of the artefacts? What are we sure of and what are we assuming? What other historical sources do we have to fill the gaps?

Later in the week we also enjoyed a drama session:

Grendel is Coming! Hearing Beowulf performed in the original Old English’ – the earliest example of literature in the vernacular.

Improvising and freeze-framing the evening of Grendel’s first attack on the Geats in Heorot. Considering how the story transfers to the modern day.

Phew! The children rose to the challenge admirably and had great fun being archaeologists, detectives and Anglo-Saxons throughout the day!

Rosemary Bewley
Year 4


28 February 2020
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