The early morning sun cast a pink and orange glow across the sea. The Vikings had sailed for days. In the distance, a monastery perched atop a small island.
As the Vikings drew closer, monks scurried, aware they were being attacked.
The year was 793. The monastery was called the Holy Island. It was the first major Viking raid in history.
Too late. Swords drawn, the Vikings soon were upon them. The monks did not have a chance. The monastery went up in flames. The Vikings took everything they could find. Many monks were killed or hauled away as slaves.
The Vikings were traders and farmers who doubled as pirates. Their fleet grew to hundreds of ships, called longships. They sail throughout Europe. They even sailed up the Mediterranean and into the Black Sea and the Caspian. They created colonies in Iceland and Greenland and in what is now Canada.
But the Vikings were not the only people to play an enormous role in Norway’s culture and history. There are also the Sámi.
About half of the world’s 80,000 Sámi live in Norway. They live in warm tents and rely on their reindeer herds for meat, travel, and much of their clothing. They especially love reindeer stew and potato pancakes.
Norway’s long coastline overlooks the Atlantic Ocean. The Norwegian coast is cut by many fjords, which are bays that cut into mountain areas. The fjords are homes to Norway’s fishing fleet and the places for tourists. Two fjords are so beautiful they are world heritage sites.
Spectacular mountains jut up from the fjords. They are snow-covered much of the year. Norwegians love to snowboard and ice skate, but they’re best at skiing. They are the inventors of it as a modern sport!
Norway only has a population of only 5.2 million, but they have won more medals (330) in the Winter Olympics than any other country.
In 2018, they won a 39 medals, including 16 golds, the most by any nation in a single Winter Games. They broke the record of 15 gold medals … a record they also held! Marit Bjørgen, a cross-country skier, has won more medals than anyone else in Winter Olympic history.
Nor is Norway’s success in sports only in the Winter Games. In the 2021 Games, held in China, Karsten Warholm broke the 29-year-old world record in the 400-meter hurdles. He ran the hurdles faster than 18 top athletes who ran a 400-meter race without hurdles!
When he was just 16 years old, Norway’s Jakob Ingebrigtsen ran a mile in under four minutes, the youngster person ever to do that. Then his set his next goal: a goal medal in the Olympics. His two older brothers had been in the Olympics. They had not won a medal, so Jakob wanted to bring home a trophy. True to his goal, Jacob defeated the 1500-meter world champion and won the gold.
But perhaps his most remarkable achievement was when he didn’t win. He placed second in a race in California even though he had Covid! He didn’t know he had it. He said, “I think if I was healthy, I would have won the race by 100 meters.”
Why are Norwegians such great athletes?
For one thing, they don’t spend a lot of time talking on the phone or playing video games. They love being outside, exercising and enjoying nature. They call that friluftslivis. It’s like being in the arms of Mother Nature. She rewards them with superior athletic skills.
Norway Activity 1
Draw trees for the following sentences:
- Vikings attacked English monks.
- Vikings looted European seacoast villages.
- Sámi people love reindeer stew.
- Norwegians embrace Mother Nature. (Treat Mother Nature as one word.)
- Norwegian skiers have won world championship medals.
- Karsten Warholm has broken world records. (Treat Karsten Warholm as one word.)
Norway Activity 2
Color the trees:
Dark brown: Sentence (“S”)
Light brown: Nouns
Light green: Verbs
Want a chance to have your writing published on this website – and possibly win $500?
Then choose a subject from this list. Write an essay of 200-500 words. Follow the directions exactly. It is best if you do this activity as a class.
All students submitting an essay will receive a Certificate of Completion from Dr. George Guthridge.
Teachers and Parents:
Want a chance to have your students’ writing published on this website – and possibly win an additional $500 for your classroom?
Have your students choose a subject from this list. Write an essay of 200-500 words. Follow the directions exactly. It is best if you do this activity as a class. Then, as teacher, add an exercise. Make sure you approach nouns as this website does and not as traditional grammar does.
You can make an exercise like the one here, or you can develop an exercise of your own. The more creative and effective your exercise is, the better your chance to win the prize.
Note to teachers and parents: You do not have to engage in this part of the process for students to submit essays.