Friday, April 13, 2012

Titanic Teaching Ideas--Activities for "Sail It"

The basic outline I used for my unit is as follows: 
(Part) 1: Build It 

(Part) 2: Sail It  

(Part) 3: Sink It  

(Part) 4: Save It  

(Part) 5: Remember It 

Projects relating to the sailing of Titanic:

*A few vocabulary ideas: -starboard -port -class -bow -stern -passenger -crew -private -sea lane -voyage -telegram -stoker -steward -immigrant -orchestra -promenade -lounge -abroad -attire -spacious -coast -launch -embark -diversity –applause
*Use a world map to color/pin tacks on the countries from which passengers on Titanic came. Were you surprised to find passengers from so many countries? Also mark the cities where people boarded, where Titanic was built and fitted out.

*Morse code and Morse lamp were used on board Titanic to relay messages. Write your own messages in Morse code.

*Many of the third-class passengers aboard Titanic were unable to take many items with them. Many of them were moving to America to start a new life. Imagine that you were moving to a new land. If you could take only one or two special items with you what would you choose? Why? Why would you leave other items behind? Choose one family photograph to take with you. Describe the photograph. If possible, include a copy of it. Why would you take it? What one outfit would you wear? Will you consider the weather or choose your favorite? In contrast, many of the first-class passengers were traveling with much more luggage and for leisure. How would your packing change if you were a first-class passenger with room for 3 or 4 suitcases?

*Cooking project. Make and serve some items from titanic's menus. A good source for ideas is the book Last Dinner on the Titanic by Rick Archbold. Advanced students can calculate calories and nutrition information per serving.

*Be a first-class dinner guest: Girls will dress in their fanciest dresses and may even create a jeweled shawl, period hat or other fine jewelry to accessorize. Boys may dress in their finest clothes and may want to add a homemade bow tie, top hat, or cane. Discuss fine table manners and fancy table settings. Re-create a first-rate dining experience.

*Practice the job of Titanic’s food staff. Set a formal place setting for one of your meals.

*While you’re in the kitchen, practice converting recipes to feed a crowd. Find a recipe for something served on board Titanic. (Easy recipes would be Vienna rolls, corn bread, scones, or vegetable stew.) Convert the recipe to plan for the entire first-class (329 people) or second-class (285 people) or third-class (710 people). Convert the recipe for your entire family or group. Cook and serve it.

*The actual record of food brought on Titanic has been lost. We do have Olympic’s information, however. Olympic carried 40 tons of potatoes. Record the amount of time it takes you to thoroughly wash one potato. How long would it take you to wash all of the potatoes on the ship?

*Create a poem about the Titanic. Perhaps you could write about the most surprising or a most favorite thing you’ve learned so far. Maybe the grandeur or the passengers have caught your attention. Experiment with different types of poetry...conrete, acrostic, ode.
*Second class passengers had chess, dominoes, and other games available. Try these.

*Passengers aboard Titanic heard many different types of music. Some were in Titanic’s music book. Others were played at various occasions such as the Sunday church service. Find recordings of songs including Nearer My God to Thee, Songe D’Automne, The Glow Worm, Merry Widow Waltz, Somewhere a Voice is Calling, Alexander’s Ragtime Band, Maple Leaf Rag, Oh You Beautiful Doll. If you can’t find these, you can use other genres of music played on board including polkas, marches, waltzes, and ragtime.

* Become familiar with the instruments played aboard Titanic: cello, violin, viola, piano.
*Practice more of the jobs done by the staff of Titanic and those who built her. Great life skils include:
-baking and cooking
-cleaning: mirrors, sinks, toilets, tubs and showers, baseboards, dusting, emptying trash, mopping, washing windows, make beds
-clearing the table, drying dishes,  
-upkeep: folding clothes, towels, sheets, mending
-organizing: closets, cupboards
-pack items into a suitcase
-make appointments
-painting a room
*After trying out some of the tasks of workers on board Titanic (Marconi operator, kitchen help, captain, stoker/fireman (without real fire, of course!), purser, kitchen and bedroom stewards, decide which you'd most like to have had. Why?
*Make a picture that you think represents...the excitement of the immigrants boarding titanic to come to the US…the pride of the first class passengers upon entering the luxurious ship…the feelings of the eyewitnesses who saw ice on deck. Students could choose several of these and compile them for an end project, perhaps presenting them in gallery format and hosting a private "opening" where he/she could comment on the reasons he made the particular pieces and answering questions.

*Titanic had its own patterned dishes. Can you re-create the design using clay? Design your own modern set of dishes. (There are kits available for kids to make their own dishes.) It would be a nice keepsake.

Titanic Teaching Ideas--Activities for "Build It"

The basic timeline I used for my unit is as follows:

 1: Build It 

 2: Sail It  

 3: Sink It  

 4: Save It  

 5: Remember It 

Projects relating to the actual building of Titanic:

*A few vocabulary ideas: -hull -porthole -vessel -fittings -reciprocating engines 
-compartment -crow's nest -bridge -rudder -propellor -vast -interior -exterior -equip –helm 

*A few spelling ideas: (easier and becoming more advanced) ship, away, under, full, leak, sail, carry, cabin, dock, steer, class, night, April, ocean, aboard, across, titanic, bridge, ticket, warning, always, witness, wreck, route, message, reason, because, trouble, century, famous, international, official, necessary, recommend, especially, committee  

*Who were the Titans in Greek mythology? Why might shipbuilders choose such a theme for their ship?

*Was "Titanic" a good name for this ship, the most luxurious and biggest of its time? Why or why not? Suggest a better one-word name for the ship. Why would this name have been better?

*What did RMS stand for in Titanic's name? Why was it called RMS?

*Journal: Would you like to have traveled on this great ship if you'd had the chance? Imagine that you are living in the year 1912. You've just heard a great deal about this new, luxurious, unsinkable ship called "Titanic". Some people are saying that it's the greatest ship while others are cautious. Write a note/letter to someone you know, telling them why they should come with you on Titanic. OR Write a note/letter to someone you know, convincing them not to go on Titanic's maiden voyage. Use only facts that were known in 1912 before the voyage.

*Titanic was 882 1/2 feet long and 92 1/2 feet wide. Find a very large space outdoors. Mark out the dimensions of the whole ship. You might wish to comment in your journals about the enormity of it. If part of your group stays at one end of the "ship" can you see the rest of your group on the other end of it?

*Most of Titanic's lifeboats had a capacity of 65. Build a lifeboat (milk carton or other materials). See if you can get it to hold 65 (pennies, peanuts, paperclips).

*Sea trials game: Titanic had to be tested before its maiden voyage. The crew practiced port (left) and starboard (right) turns, stopping turning full circle, running at different speeds. One player is the captain. He leads the group in doing its drills...Ex. "full speed ahead" "everyone to the starboard side of the room for 10 jumping jacks"...

*Titanic was built on wooden platforms that sloped down into the water. At launch, 22 tons of tallow, soap, and train oil were used to grease the platforms so Titanic could slide down into the water at just the right time. Experiment-use ramps at different degree angles. Use different weights of objects, slide down the ramps. What gives them enough slipperiness to slide? Do any of them slide too quickly?

*PE Drama: Many first class passengers arrived to board Titanic with many suitcases, trunks, and crates. It was very important for Titanic employees to correctly match each piece of luggage with its owner. Some of the luggage was for the sea voyage, other pieces were to be held until the ship’s arrival in New York. Information on the tag included Name, Room Number, Class, and the White Star Line logo.
-Divide a large area, marking off first and second class, as well as several room numbers per class. -Create luggage tags which show to which class and room each piece belongs. –Place these tags on numerous boxes, suitcases, backpacks, and anything else which could be used to replicate luggage. –At your signal, the Titanic employees deliver each piece to its proper place. –This may be timed or played as a relay as well. –Be careful with the luggage! You wouldn’t want a passenger to get his fancy luggage dented!

*Find out the dimensions of a first class room and a third class room. Find a space, perhaps outside or in a very large room. Mark out the dimensions of that part of the Titanic. Try "sharing" the "rooms" with members of your group. Also try comparing the personal space for a first class room with that of a third class room.

*Look at the White Star Line Flag. It's a basic red pennant with a White Star. Use the painting technique of pointillism (small distinct dots) to create the flag. Fly the flag for the duration of your unit study.

*Make various origami boats. Use different sizes and types of paper. Make predictions for which will float best. Analyze and compare your results. Advanced students can use stopwatches and record the time it takes for each boat to sink. Results can be graphed.

*Find the area and perimeter of certain parts of the Titanic/the whole ship. For example, Titanic's first-class dining saloon measured 114 feet long and 92 feet wide. What was the total area of the dining saloon? If all 329 first-class passengers were in the dining saloon, how much room could each passenger have if the space was divided equally between them? Find the area for each person if only 1/3 of the first-class passengers were in the room.

Projects relating to the time period:

*What books were written in 1911/1912? (There are many.) Which are written for people your age? Find, read, discuss. 1911: Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett, Peter and Wendy by J.M. Barrie 1912: The Tale of Mr. Tod by Beatrix Potter, Sky Island by L. Frank Baum, Chronicles of Avonlea by Lucy Maud Montgomery, The Magic World by Edith Nesbit
Note: I haven't read all of these myself.

* Look at artists and art pieces of the time. Examples include: Picasso-Violin/ Still Life/ Bottle Glass Guitar and Pipe/ Still Life with Bowl and Fruit/ Guitar and Violin/ Guitar on a Table/ Musical Instruments. He also had his portrait painted by Juan Gris in 1912. Mondrian-The Grey Tree/ Still Life with Ginger Pot 2/ Trees in Blossom. Goncharova-Green Forest. Kandinsky-Black Spot 1/ Improvisation 28. Max Weber-New York. Georges Braque-The Clarinet/ and some new twists with collage. Delaunay-The Red Tower/ Simultaneous Windows/ Windows Open. Gino Severini-Blue Dancer. Giacomo Balla-Dynamism of a Dog on a Leash. Juan Gris-Guitar and Flowers/ Portrait of Picasso.
-Many of these works show a style of art typical at the time. Look also for any glimpses into life in 1912 as portrayed in them. Works can be compared/contrasted for their elements such as line, shape, and color, as well as mood, theme, etc.
-Note: One helpful website for finding art produced in 1912 is the Guggenheim Museum in New York. In a Titanic twist, the Solomon Guggenheim who founded the museum was the brother of Benjamin Guggenheim who died aboard the Titanic. As always, adults will want to monitor activities of students online.

*PBS has information about the 1912 Presidential election, called "one of the most significant elections in American history". 

*Play recordings of the popular music of the time. Older students can explore the historical and cultural backdrop and purposes for which they were composed. Research the musicians who were hard at work at that time. Students can learn to play these melodies if they have an instrument specialty. 

*King George V was king in England. (He succeeded his father King Edward VII after which the very important Edwardian era was named.) What trends (fashion, art, literature...) were popular.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Titanic Teaching Ideas--Part 2--Ongoing Projects

If you're looking for project ideas to show "mastery" over a certain Titanic topic, perhaps these will get you started. I have listed them here since they encompass the broader theme of Titanic, rather than fitting into of the specific portions of our timeline.

*Organize a game show. Give each student several trivia game "answers". Students make up a question for each answer. Students then mix all the cards and play the trivia review game. 
       For example: 
       answer: White Star Line
       student's question: What was the name of the British shipping company which operated Titanic, Olympic, and Britannic.

*Have students keep a scrapbook or journal. It can be used to record facts and reactions to topics covered. It could also be used to reflect on how the topic relates to the student's life today. Perhaps it could be a mix of facts and thoughts interspersed with pictures that the student has drawn or collected.

*Many songs were written about the sinking of the titanic. Research them and collect examples to be shared. Try to find works from a variety of different periods. Some were written right after the sinking. Others are more modern. Comment on some of the differences you find.

*Passengers on the titanic came from 46 different countries on 6 continents. Study the country of origin of one of the passengers. Consider geography, flag, foods, language, customs, history of country in 1910s, holidays, and landmarks. Perhaps you could find a passenger who came from your area. One source for this information is Titanic Lee Merideth. (Or since I have the book myself you can comment below and ask me!)

*If you're adventurous, you might plan to learn about steering boats firsthand--by going canoeing! Learn how the oar is used as a rudder to steer the canoe. Demonstrate. Let older students try controlling the rudder oar in the back of the boat.

*Let students create a webpage or blog entry to show knowledge about the Titanic as a whole or about a single topic within Titanic. Topics could include the design of the ship, famous people on board (along with whether or not they survived), fun things to do on board, the chain of events (and time of day) from iceberg warning to final sinking of the ship...the possibilities are endless.

*Research what else was going on in the year 1912. Who was president and who was elected president that year? What was invented? Who was in the World Series? What books were written? What pieces of art were created? What famous people were born? Who died? What two states were added to the U.S. in that year? What was the average family income in the U.S. at that time? How much did things cost? Can you find photographs of your local area from 1912?

*Research your family history from 1912. Create/look at your family tree. Which of your relatives were alive in 1912? Can any relatives that are alive today tell you anything about those people? Look at family pictures at that time. Where were your relatives living then? What did they do for a living?

*For the sports fan: 
-Baseball fans may wish to research players of 1912, statistics, gear, stadiums of 1912 and perhaps especially the 1912 World Series. Students could make authentic-looking baseball cards with statistics, or posters to advertise players and/or the series. 
-Auto racing fans may love to look at pictures of the old timers racing then. There was no formal NASCAR yet, but was there any racing? Indy? When did Henry Ford race? 
-General sports fans might like to research the 1912 summer Olympics held in Stockholm Sweden. See also Jim Thorpe? Were there winter Olympics that year? What events were held. Who were some of the big winners? Do any of the records still hold?
-Was Knute Rockne at Notre Dame at this time? What about other future-famous football players. Where were they? Future Baseball players?

*Field trip ideas:
       There are traveling exhibitions this year in Florida, Michigan, Missouri, Nevada, and California. My son enjoyed one of these exhibitions a few years ago.
       There are also more permanent Titanic museums in Branson, Missouri and Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. Titanic Historical Society has one in Massachusetts. I have not personally visited any of these.
       There is also a Molly Brown House Museum in Colorado. I haven't been there, either.
       A quick internet search will also help you find memorials of Titanic and well-known passengers in your area. They can be found all over the world.

*Choose one of the books you've read (independently or together) during this unit. Choose one of the following book report ideas to report on it. 
-Have someone interview you about the book: Questions will include what you liked and didn't like about the book, who the main characters were, what the plot of the book was...
-Make a play or puppet show to re-tell a main part of the book.
-Make a t-shirt to advertise how great the book was. Include catchy phrases from or about the book, drawings of exciting events or people from the book...
-Videotape a TV commercial explaining what you liked about the book, exciting characters and events...
-Create a song to tell the basic theme and/or message of the book.
-Draw and caption a photo album about the book.

*Choose a character trait: Compassion, Confidence, Cooperation, Courage, Decisiveness, Efficiency, Flexibility, Generosity, Honesty, Humility, Loyalty, Perseverance, Respect, Responsibility. Have students choose someone in Titanic's history that displays that trait and describe how and when the trait was shown. Students can also explain why he/she admires that trait or what he/she could say to that person about the trait. 

*See if the American Red Cross has a course in water safety or swimming available in your area for your particular age group. 

Coming soon...Ideas for Part 1: Build It...

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Titanic Teaching Ideas--Part 1--Resources

There are many resources out there for books and videos related to the topic of Titanic. I've listed a few of my favorites:

Tonight on the Titanic
       by Mary Pope Osborne and Sal Murdocca
Titanic: A Non-fiction Companion to Tonight on the Titanic
       by Mary Pope Osborne, Sal Murdocca, and Will Osborne
The Titanic: Lost and Found 
       by Judy Donnelly and Keith Kohler
Finding the Titanic
       by Robert D. Ballard
       by Victoria Sherrow
882 1/2 Amazing Answers to your Questions About the Titanic
       by Hugh Brewster and Laurie Coulter
Facts About Titanic
       by Lee W. Merideth
Titanic: An Illustrated History
       by Don Lynch
Inside the Titanic: A Giant Cutaway Book
       by Ken Marschall
Titanic (DK Eyewitness Books)
       by Simon Adams
Exploring the Titanic: How the Greatest Ship Ever Lost-Was Found
       by Robert D. Ballard
Polar the Titanic Bear
       by Daisy Corning Spedden and Laurie McGaw
The Story of the Titanic, as Told by its Survivors
       Edited by Jack Winocour
Titanic Names: A Complete List of the Passenger and Crew 
       by Lee W. Merideth
The Titanic Coloring Book
       by Dover
National Geographic Titanic DVD
       by National Geographic

Coming soon...Ongoing projects for the unit...

Titanic Teaching Ideas

In the coming days I'm going to be sharing all of the teaching ideas I've compiled to go with a unit on the sinking of the Titanic. I have plenty of ideas, as I've actually been working on it for several years. 

The ideas are cross-curricular and cover reading, language arts, math, science, history, art, music, and even PE. They can be used for a variety of different ages. 

Please come back and check them out. If the ideas look good to you, tell a friend!


(Part) 1: Build It 

(Part) 2: Sail It  

(Part) 3: Sink It  

(Part) 4: Save It  

(Part) 5: Remember It 

Friday, April 6, 2012

Sign of the Beaver and Native Facepaint

I had to share the pictures from one of today's highlights.

We recently finished reading "The Sign of the Beaver" by Elizabeth George Speare. It's a Newberry Honor book set in the 1760's.

My dd6 was unsatisfied with the ending. She would have preferred that the Indians come back to live in Maine instead of moving west. She made a plan to change the ending.

She asked if I could put Indian facepaint on her. (We found a pretty design on YouTube.) She would also make signs so that the Indians felt welcomed back. 

She feels much better about the way things turned out now!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Nature Study + Family Fun = A Great Day

I have to admit that the Charlotte-Mason style nature study has always interested me. We haven't done much with it, though. I'm not sure if it's because I didn't really know where to begin or because it seemed like we didn't have the time. Today's day out, though, has reminded me how great it could be.

Family Fun Magazine had a good article in this past month's issue which got us started. (I don't think this month's activities are on their website yet. I'll try to link to the specific ideas when Family Fun updates their site.)

1. We did some digging in the yard to look for worms and we tested Family Fun's idea of how to get worms to come up to the surface. 
2. We used materials that we had around the house to study the underwater critters at our nearby lake. We also tested the pH levels.

3. We had a picnic and made Family Fun's Sweet Seedlings (very cute!) 

In addition, we did a nature walk and journaling, and the kids also took some photographs. They took along our bird-identification book and also tried to identify the birds by their calls. One of the highlights of the day was finding a killdeer nest with four eggs in it. The momma bird treated us to her "broken wing" imitation so that we could see what she does when she feels her nest is threatened. We didn't stay long but snapped a few pictures before leaving momma to her work.

Since we had recently read "Sign of the Beaver" for history, we also tried to leave "signs" to show ourselves the way back (even though we already knew the way).

The kids and I really enjoyed our time!