Scotland’s national holiday is celebrated on Saint Andrew’s Day on 30th November. Let’s take some time to explore Scotland, and then get to know some of greatest Scottish writers. Choose what you want to focus on with your students, or do them all! We recommend these projects for 13-18 students at pre-intermediate level and above.
1 Who was Saint Andrew?
- He was a Galilean fisherman.
- His name means ‘strong’.
- He was the brother of St Peter.
- The Flag of Scotland is St Andrew’s Cross, the Saltire.
- Andrew was first recognised as an official patron saint of Scotland in 1320 at the signing of the Declaration of Arbroath.
- Find out about the legend of The Voyage of St Rule from Greece to Scotland.
- Play with flags on the Talking Culture Game website.
Learn more about St Andrew here:
2 Let’s travel to Scotland
1 Open Google Maps or any map, and find Scotland on it. Are the following statements true or false?
- Scotland is part of the United Kingdom.
- The capital of Scotland is Aberdeen.
- Scotland is very mountainous.
- There are lots of islands around Scotland.
- Glasgow and Edinburgh are far from each other.
2 What are these places? Why are they important? Search an encyclopaedia or the Internet for answers.
- Loch Lomond
- Ben Nevis
- River Tay
- Lowlands, Highlands and Cairngorms
3 Describe Scottish landscape. Find images of Scotland and use the following words to describe them.
magnificent, atmospheric, dramatic, picturesque fabulous, spectacular, diverse
mountains, coastline, rivers, forests, lochs, hills, treasures, islands, forts, parks, wildlife, landscape
3 Follow literary itineraries in Scotland
Choose one of the itineraries on the website below. Which one would you like to follow? Where will it take you?
4 Cultural and Literary Scotland
1 Authors born in Scotland
- Kenneth Grahame, the author of The Wind in the Willows was born in Edinburgh.
- J. M. Barrie the author of Peter Pan was born in Kirriemuir.
- Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the author of the Sherlock Holmes stories was born in Edinburgh.
- Robert Louis Stevenson the author of Treasure Island and The Strange Case of Doctor Jekyll and Mr Hyde was born in Edinburgh
2 Sir Walter Scott and Tartanry
Sir Walter Scott, the author of Waverley, Ivanhoe and Rob Roy, wrote historical fiction and he was responsible for the popularity of the tartan and the kilt. Read about the story on the Education Scotland website. Have you ever seen a tartan kilt?
3 Scottish Myths and Legends
How many Scottish myths and legends have you heard? Click on the link to see an infographic on the official Scotland.org website. When you have read the infographic, talk about these creatures.
- Cu Sith and Cat Sith
- Ghillie Dhu
- Bean Nighe
- Loch Ness Monster
- Fear Laith
4 A quiz about Scotland
Download this quiz in our culture course*, World Around written by Maria Cleary, and challenge your students to do the quiz. If they find the questions challenging ask them to do it as a research activity.
*Unit 4 for is dedicated to Scotland in this course book.
5 Scottish films you should know about
These films can give you a historical and cultural report on Scottish culture. Please check the themes and PG rating of these films before you decide to watch them with your students.
- The Brave Don’t Cry directed by Philip Leacock, 1952
- Local Hero directed by Bill Forsyth, 1983
- Another Time, Another Place directed by Michael Radford, 1983
- Shallow Grave directed by Danny Boyle, 1994
- Trainspotting directed by Danny Boyle, 1996
- Carla’s Song directed by Ken Loach, 1997
- My Name Is Joe directed by Ken Loach, 1998
- Ratcatcher directed by Lynne Ramsay, 1999
- Ae Fond Kiss directed by Ken Loach, 2004
- Why is it called the ‘Scottish Play’?
- Edinburgh City of Literature
- Creative Scotland
- Education Scotland
- Visit Scotland
- Scottish Book Trust: 50 Best Scottish Books of the Last 50 Years
- Scottish Recipes
- Quizzes on Scotland.org
If you are interested in other literary explorations, check out these posts on this blog:
- Take a walk on the Wilde side: discover literary Dublin
- Reading the streets of London
- (Re)visit London
- Let’s go to Norway with The Three Goats
- Turning Japanese with Momotarō and Elly Nagaoka
- Explore North America
- Take a literary walk in the natural world
- Learn about Scottish language: Scots Tongue (University of Stirling website)