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Titanic Lesson Plan

Instructor: Dana Dance-Schissel

Dana teaches social sciences at the college level and English and psychology at the high school level. She has master's degrees in applied, clinical and community psychology.

How can you separate fact from fiction when teaching students about the Titanic? This lesson plan uses a fact-filled text lesson to create a solid knowledge base and includes a fun activity designed to assess comprehension.

Learning Objectives

Upon completion of this lesson, students will be able to:

  • explain what the Titanic was
  • outline the features, dimensions, and construction of the Titanic
  • summarize the events that led to the sinking of the Titanic
  • list notable survivors of the Titanic

Length

1 hour for instruction and up to 3 days for the activity

Curriculum Standards

  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.6-8.2

Determine the central ideas or information of a primary or secondary source; provide an accurate summary of the source distinct from prior knowledge or opinions.

  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.6-8.3

Identify key steps in a text's description of a process related to history/social studies (e.g., how a bill becomes law, how interest rates are raised or lowered).

  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.6-8.7

Integrate visual information (e.g., in charts, graphs, photographs, videos, or maps) with other information in print and digital texts.

Materials

  • Chalk
  • A worksheet created using the quiz associated with the lesson
  • Images of the Titanic and some of its survivors

Instructions

  • Begin by asking students to share any facts they know about the Titanic, listing their ideas on the board.
  • Now ask the class to read the 'History and Construction of the Titanic' and 'Titanic's Specifications' sections of the text lesson Facts About the Titanic: History, Sinking & Survivors.
  • Take the students outside to mark off the 882-''foot'' length and 92-''foot'' width of the Titanic using chalk. They should mark a starting point and then take 882 tiny steps (slighter larger than the size of their feet) for the length and make another chalk mark. This process should be repeated with 92 steps to demonstrate the width.
  • Once the length and width have been marked, allow the students to create lines around the measurements in a shape similar to that of a ship.
    • Does the size seem bigger or smaller than what they imagined?
    • How does this compare to the cruise ships of today, size-wise?
    • Have students compare their footstep measuring unit to a true foot of 12 inches. Can they imagine how much larger the Titanic actually was?
  • Return to the classroom.
  • Alternate activity for teachers who are unable to sketch out the full dimensions of the Titanic: Have students measure the length and width of their desks. How many desks placed front to back would it take to reach the full length of the Titanic? How many desks placed side by side would it take to reach the width of the Titanic?
  • Instruct students to read the rest of the text lesson now.
  • Pass out the worksheet created using the associated quiz and ask students to complete it independently.

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