History Lessons

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The Anglo-Saxons Lessons Pack contains a complete 10-lesson history unit of work for Key Stage 2 (ages 7-11), with detailed lesson plans, Powerpoint slides, teacher guides and printable activity sheets.

Anglo-Saxon Pack

Lessons in this unit:

1. Who were the Anglo-Saxon invaders? (FREE)

This lesson introduces the Anglo-Saxons and explores where the different invaders came from. Pupils will look at maps to trace the origins of different tribes and make a profile of a Saxon invader. They will discuss how what they have learned about movement or people in Anglo-Saxon times links to modern day immigration.


  • To find out where the Anglo-Saxons came from

  • To think about what it might have been like to be an Anglo-Saxon invader coming to Britain

2. Why did the Anglo-Saxons want to settle in Britain?

In this lesson pupils learn the difference between invading and settling. They explore some of the key reasons the Anglo-Saxons wanted to settle in Britain, looking at push and pull factors. Pupils will then write a letter from British King Vortigern to persuade some Anglo-Saxons to move to Britain.


  • To understand the terms ’invaders’ and ‘settlers’

  • To explain some of the reasons the Anglo-Saxons wanted to settle in Britain

3. What was it like in an Anglo-Saxon village?

This lesson explores life in an Anglo-Saxon settlement. Pupils will take a video tour and think about how the Anglo-Saxons used natural resources to make their settlements safe and self-sufficient. Pupils will design their own settlement maps and think about what different people might be doing in the settlement on a day-to-day basis.


• To explore the features of an Anglo-Saxon settlement

• To consider what life might have been like for different people living in an Anglo-Saxon village

4. What kind of clothes did the Anglo-Saxons wear?

In this lesson pupils think about how their own clothing choices compare to the clothes available to Anglo-Saxons. Pupils will find out about typical clothing for Anglo-Saxon men and women and they will have a go at colouring their own wool using natural materials for dyes. Finally, pupils will have the opportunity to reflect on the sources of evidence that might inform historians about Anglo-Saxon clothing.


  • To find out what Anglo-Saxon clothing looked like

  • To discover how Anglo-Saxons made clothes out of natural materials

5. How was Anglo-Saxon Britain ruled?

This lesson looks at five major kingdoms from Anglo-Saxon Britain. Pupils will look at the social hierarchy and will use character cards to rank different people in order of importance. Then they will look at how their local area relates to the kingdom structure and investigate the meaning of local place names that originate from Anglo-Saxon times.


  • To find out how Anglo-Saxons kingdoms were organised

  • To investigate Anglo-Saxon place names

6. Who was Alfred the Great?

In this lesson pupils will find out why Alfred was a significant figure in Anglo-Saxon history. Pupils will listen to his story and consider why he left a legacy as a great king. They will then design a commemorative statue and be challenged to think about why historians sometimes doubt the truthfulness of the historical sources that tell us about King Alfred.


  • To explore the story of Anglo-Saxon King Alfred

  • To consider why Alfred is remembered as ‘The Great’

7. What was Anglo-Saxon food and drink like?

This lesson allows pupils to think about the foods they like and compare them to the foods available in Anglo-Saxon Britain, both in terms of everyday meals and feasting foods. Pupils will design an Anglo-Saxon menu and have the opportunity to make and taste Anglo-Saxon honey bread.


  • To find out which foods were available in Anglo-Saxon times

  • To follow an Anglo-Saxon recipe for honey bread

8. How did the Anglo-Saxons write things down?

In this lesson pupils will look at the runic alphabet and learn about how writing changed from runes to manuscripts after the conversion to Christianity. Pupils will work in groups to research famous Anglo-Saxon manuscripts and then they will have a go at reading and writing secret messages written in runes.


  • To discover what runes looked like

  • To explore how writing changed during the Anglo-Saxon period

  • To find out about some famous Anglo-Saxon manuscripts

9. How did the Anglo-Saxons find out about Christianity?

This lesson is designed to help pupils to understand key concepts of paganism and Christianity. Pupils will complete a dictionary challenge to become familiar with associated vocabulary. They will watch a video to reflect on how Christianity spread across Britain and then design commemorative stained glass windows depicting key figures.


  • To find out about Anglo-Saxon religious beliefs

  • To learn about key figures who helped the Anglo-Saxons to find out about Christianity

10. What was the mystery of Sutton Hoo?

In this lesson pupils will learn about the mystery of Sutton Hoo. Pupils will go on a treasure hunt to find out about some of the artefacts and they will discuss what deductions can be made from them. Pupils will look at the evidence and decide what kind of person was at the heart of the burial.


  • To explore the significance of the Sutton Hoo discovery

  • To investigate artefacts from an Anglo-Saxon grave

Full Unit

Download the full unit containing all 10 lessons, with detailed planning, pupil resources and Powerpoint slides.

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