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.


  1. Your unit is amazing! There is so much to it! Thanks for sharing!!

  2. My daughter is SO intrigued by the Titanic! This looks great!

    Stopping in from the workbox forum. :)

    ...danielle - raising little rhodies