BEATING THE 'BERGS
Students are providing with a real-time tool to help them navigate around roadblocks (icebergs), and acquaint them with a 4-step approach (B.E.R.G.) that could be used with future roadblocks.
KEY WAYFINDER TRAIT: Fiercely Determined
ESTIMATED TOTAL TIME: ~ 75 minutes
MATERIALS NEEDED: Post-it notes or whiteboard markers for brainstorming
This activity was partially inspired by Norse navigators, who were fearless explorers from Scandinavia. Along with Polynesian navigators, the Norse were another civilization with deep wayfinding practices who were able to navigate from Norway all the way over to northern Canada. Their peak voyaging activity spanned from about the 10th to 12th centuries. They explored far and wide, and designed some of the most advanced sailing vessels in the world. They started off raiding the rich kingdoms of Europe, but raiding eventually gave way to trading, which was a more sustainable and lucrative source of income. (The Vikings were a subset of Norse navigators, but not all Norse navigators were Vikings.) They settled all over Europe, and ventured as far west as Greenland and ultimately North America, “discovering” the Americas 500 years before Christopher Columbus claimed to.
We think the Norse navigators are another exemplar of wayfinding because 1.) they were inventive in their voyaging craft and navigation techniques, and 2.) they were particularly determined. They were primarily sailing in the far north Atlantic, in freezing conditions with low light for much of the year. And yet the distances they covered were vast; they did not let roadblocks (physical or mental) get in their way.
Media and Story resources
- Viking crash course video on YouTube
- Book "Secrets of the Viking Navigators" (on Amazon)
- Video of 10 Facts about the Vikings. Fact 5 is about their inventive and mystical navigational tool, the “sunstone.”
- NOVA article “Secrets of the Viking Ships”
- Wikipedia article on Viking Ships
- Wikipedia article on Eric the Red - credited as discovering Greenland
- Wikipedia article on Leif Erikson - credited for finding N. America (500 years before Columbus)
- Article about how Sunstone works