3-4 Activities

3-4 Activities

These activities for Ships and Shipbuilding were updated along with the Learning Results sections in late 2008 and early 2009.

Note the differences in grade groupings: grades 3-4 and 5-8 were grouped together in the 1997 version of the Learning Results, and grades 3-5 and 6-8 were used in 2007.

Ideas to try....

Building boats has been going on in Maine for a long time, and continues today--from small wooden boats to yachts to large vessels at Bath Iron Works.  What skills and education would be required today for working in shipbuilding? How did builders learn their trade in the past? 

English Language Arts
What special vocabulary has been developed in the shipbuilding trade?  How can you learn the meaning of these words?  (See maritime dictionaries on Resource page.)  Writing assignments could include stories based on interviews with boatbuilders or on readings about boatbuilding. 

There are some kinds of boats that were traditional to Maine, including Friendship sloops and peapods or double-enders.  Research and report, orally and/or in writing, about the form and function of these designs.  What made these watercraft especially suited for their designated functions?

Compare vessels of different cultures at the same time periods (wooden sailing ships, canoes, Chinese junks, etc.). Why do you think they are so different?  Write an essay comparing and contrasting two vessels.

Physical Education
Partnering with peers in physical activities:  the Yard in the Yard and capstan at the Museum; or, a model building activity carried out in teams and ending with a model race.

The carrying capacity (tonnage) of clipper ships and Down-Easters may be calculated and compared.  Research how many vessels were built in various Penobscot Bay towns, and make graphs of the information.

How did the advent of steam for shipping, passenger vessels and the railroad change population centers in Maine?  Design a chart demonstrating change.
Make a map of the world showing trade routes between Maine and other countries. What kind of money was exchanged in the nineteenth century?  What other activities were involved in trade (letters of credit, barter)?
Geographical features influence trade goods needed and produced.  Add goods imported and exported to your maps.

Visit the Museum to see the marine paintings. What kinds of vessels do you see? Which paintings do you like best?  Why?


Science and Technology
Look at different kinds of wood. Which kinds were used in shipbuilding and why? Why were some woods not preferred?  Think about and discuss why some were used for only one or two parts of the ship rather than the entire vessel.

Compare traditional shipbuilding tools with woodworking tools we use today. How are they similar or different? Why?

Sail vs. steam—what were sources of energy used? How do they compare for speed, efficiency, reliability, flexibility?  How was steam produced? What other energy sources do modern vessels use for power?

Grades 3-4