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 Venn diagram creates quandary for Yrs 3 & 4
Bravery or fidelity?


Alfred the Great or Brian Boru?

A Venn diagram, asking them to compare an Anglo-Saxon king, Alfred the Great, and an Irish king, Brian Boru, put Year 3 and Year 4 pupils in a quandary.

Their task was to decide which king was the more worthy of having a saga composed about them.

Their choice of Brian Boru caused more than a little concern.

He was the more heroically swashbuckling, but they liked Alfred better. Alfred was, they concluded, more trustworthy than Brian.

Such was the outcome of an enjoyable and well-crafted five-lesson study unit, outlined below.

English & Irish history for primary schools

The study unit is intended as a depth study within the Key Stage 2 History curriculum when studying the Vikings, addressing the key question: If you were a Viking, whose story would you choose to tell: Alfred the Great’s or Brian Boru’s?

Click here for the study unit
Other resources:

1. What makes a good story?
2. What impression do you get of Alfred & Brian?
3. How well did Alfred & Brian deal with the Vikings?
4. How important were the battles of Edington & Clontarf?
5. Eric Bloodaxe asks, whose story would make the better saga - Alfred's or Brian's?

A series of activities compares how Alfred the Great and Brian Boru dealt with the Vikings who invaded England and Ireland.

Using a Viking saga as initial stimulus material, the unit

  • encourages children to explore the past by looking at historical figures in context
  • leads children to consider what makes a fit and proper subject for a saga
  • provides an opportunity for them to present their work in a variety of formats, including an assembly and
  • offers scope for work in Literacy, such as examining kennings and constructing sagas and other narratives.

Birmingham Pilot Scheme
Ireland in Schools       BASS      University of Bimingham      University of Northampton