5-8 Activities

5-8 Activities

These activities for Working the Bay were updated in late 2008 and early 2009, along with the Learning Results.

Ideas to try....

Consider the kinds of work people did here 100-150 years ago.  What factors influenced and limited their options?  What about today? Research one area of work in 19th century Maine.  Produce a written and/or oral report.  Although many of these occupations no longer exist, or are at least scarce in Maine today, students may be able to interview lobstermen, fishermen, boatbuilders, paper mill workers, or granite workers.  Recorded interviews with boatbuilders could be used in place of live interviews.  Videos are available also. 

Write a story about a Maine family in 1880 or another year.  Utilize background material from Working the Bay to set the stage for a fictional event.

How was health affected by various jobs in the past?  How would technological advances change personal health?  For example, in quarrying granite, there were effects from the process.  More modern building materials, such as vinyl, may have health effects too: this is a good research topic.

In math, there are many opportunities to extend Working the Bay.  For example, real-life problems would have included packing the holds of vessels with products such as ice, fish, or granite, so calculations of length, area, volume, and units of square or cubic measurement apply.  Charts and graphs can be constructed using products:  board feet of lumber, hogsheads of fish, or casks of lime from limestone production.  Many percentages apply: compare Maine’s production of lumber, for example, to another state or country.


Science and Technology
In science, we find that long- and short-term changes to the earth caused Maine to have certain natural resources.  Fossils that are found in limestone tell us information about these changes, as do kinds of rock, soil, and geographic features.

Floating and sinking experiments with model boats replicate shipbuilding and merchant ship capacity (Archimedes Principle).  These experiments allow students to make observations, measure outcomes, and collect and analyze data.

Social Studies
Maps and models may be created using classroom materials—these provide understanding of the maps of Penobscot Bay.  Students could work together to make a scale model of the Bay and its islands.

Try a classroom simulation of Maine trade, with students acting as makers or sellers of products such as lumber, ice, fish, coal, leather, etc.; shippers of these goods (who need to charge for that service); and buyers of the goods in different ports, such as Buenos Aires, New York, Boston, Liverpool, Havana, etc.  Learn how trading networks of one product overlap with those of other products. Consider issues of scarcity and glut in small and large ports, along with supply and demand.