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Help! Exciting, challenging Titanic lesson ideas required!


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#1 JenniferJames

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Posted 18 February 2008 - 06:43 PM

Hello!
Department review is two weeks today.
Have a few lesson ideas in hand but I'm stuck on two!
Am starting two threads in the hope someone has some ideas.
I've hit a brick wall with Titanic, have started a few lesson ideas off but they don't seem to really work.
Have one lesson with a top set year 9 (level 5-6) and need an exciting, challenging, pupil based lesson (can't use text books either for some reason)
Thinking some kind of enquiry/ report but want it to be exciting too,
Any ideas would be great!
Jen

#2 Lesley Ann

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Posted 18 February 2008 - 07:35 PM

I usually start the lesson holding up some rivets and ask the students to identify the object and think of how it was connected to an event that shook the world.....


Just uploaded this on youtube: Why did the Titanic Sink? Why did so many passengers die?


other resources you might like to use: www.historyonthenet.com
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#3 JohnDClare

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Posted 18 February 2008 - 09:29 PM

Surely an opportunity for drama?

Not so much the orchestra playing as the ship sank, as the court of inquiry after it sank.
Give the pupils info-cards with names and information, and them get them to play the parts as you (the judge) quiz them - a bit like the Reichstag fire game.

Finish by asking the question - who was guilty?

PS are you aware of the conspiracy theories about the Titanic.
The usual one is that it wasn;t the Titanic that sank, but her sister ship, the Olympic, in an insurance fraud. There is a TV programme about this, with these clips on youtube - 1 and 2.

Recently, Robin Gardiner has come up with another, excessively convoluted theory:

#4 Gorbash

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Posted 18 February 2008 - 10:56 PM

1- There were two courts of inquiry after the sinking of the Titanic. The US version was a political event (exonerate J.P Morgan and hide his role whilst making the British look bad!) whereas the British one actually tried to come up with solutions to the problems. Depending on the ability (and timescale available!) it may be interesting to split the class into two groups and re-enact each inquiry and then debate the results... See what the pupils think about the two events and how they interpret them.

2- Robin Gardiner's theory isn't exactly new- the premise that White Star Line set up the whole thing in order to claim the insurance monies for the Olympic after her collision with HMS Hawke has been around for a good 20 or so years that I know of. The circumstantial evidence to support and/or denigrate it is all available in the book 'The Riddle of the Titanic' (Gardiner/Van Der Vat). Riddle of the Tianic incidentally is brilliant as the two co-authors disgaree violently about the fate of the Titanic (one in favour of the conspiracy theory & one against...) and it presents both sides so well.

3- What could be interesting is to examine Jack Thayer's picture of what he saw as the Titanic sunk (showed the ship had split in two!) and then compare it with the generally held views (went down in one piece) that existed right up to Ballard's discovery in 1985. Perhaps use some of the footage from the old films about Titanic to give the opposite view to Thayer. Quesiton pupils about why Thayer's correct information might have been ingored by people at the time. This could lead into a general discussion about the usefulness (or otherwise!) of witness testimony.

4- Another interesting approach might be to give the pupils two/three theories (bad luck, innocent negligence, wilful murder) about Titanic and then present them with a collection of information / sources etc and they have to sort out this information into each theory. After that they could decide which theory they liked best, is most/least likely etc and explain why. Just thinking about this idea and possibly it could be a good way of making use of Venn Diagrams.

5- Depending on where you live/work see if there is any link to your local area. Eg. Colne in Lancashire is the hometown of Wallace Hartley who was the bandleader; in the town there is a statue to him and there are reports that when his body was returned the whole town came out in mourning. In southampton there were literally whole streets affected by the loss of the Titanic as the ship's crew were mainly from there.

Just a few ideas off the top of my head. Hope they're useful to you.

Paul
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#5 Chouan

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Posted 19 February 2008 - 09:50 AM

The Titanic/Olympic scam is complete nonsense, actually and has been proven to be such beyond any doubt, ehatever the TV programme might say.

The rivet idea is a good one, however, and my personal bias shows here:
1) Why are we only concerned about the deaths of the passengers? Do the crew not count as people?
2) Card Sort -
The Titanic wasn't a Cruise Liner, there was no such thing. She was a Liner, a ship that followed a scheduled route.
All of the Officers were experienced Liner Officers. Many of the crew, however, had only recently joined the ship, as many of the original crew had refused to sail.
Poor quality rivets? The Olympic was built at the same yard, using the same materials and lasted for years.
You could use the idea that the wrong action was taken when the iceberg was seen. If the C/O had ordered the engines full astern, she would have had a head on collision which she would easily have survived.
You could also use the idea that many of the Titanic's lifeboats were of a new "collapsable" design that the new crew were not trained to use. Consequently they were not usable.
You could also use the idea that most of the crew were not trained in the handling of lifeboats in any case. Consequently abandoning a ship at sea with so many passengers and crew would have been beyond their abilities.
You could also use the idea that most of those who died were found the next morning floating in their lifejackets, dead of hypothermia. Very few actually drowned.


There is so much nonsense written and taught about the Titanic, mainly because the people writing and teaching about it have no idea about ships and how they are run, manned and operated. The film doesn't help, because that suffers from the same ignorance!

#6 JohnDClare

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Posted 19 February 2008 - 12:33 PM

There is so much nonsense written and taught about the Titanic, mainly because the people writing and teaching about it have no idea about ships and how they are run, manned and operated. The film doesn't help, because that suffers from the same ignorance!

But doesn't that make it all so much more FUN!!! :woo:

#7 Dafydd Humphreys

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Posted 19 February 2008 - 01:11 PM

What about the women and children first thing, wasn't there a similar boat from another country that sank in the same time-period, whose culture didn't do the chivalry thing, and it was mainly the men who survived?
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#8 Chouan

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Posted 19 February 2008 - 01:56 PM

There is so much nonsense written and taught about the Titanic, mainly because the people writing and teaching about it have no idea about ships and how they are run, manned and operated. The film doesn't help, because that suffers from the same ignorance!

But doesn't that make it all so much more FUN!!! :woo:


Perhaps I'm just a dull person.

I find it annoying when I find resources to teach students about a subject are simply inaccurate! or when textbooks get things wrong, or over-simplify a topic so much that the point is lost.
Virtually every KS3 textbook or resource I've seen on the Titanic falls into those categories.

No criticism is intended, but, given the mass of content to choose from, I'm not even sure why the Titanic is significant enough to even incude in a SOW?

Edited by Chouan, 19 February 2008 - 01:57 PM.


#9 Gorbash

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Posted 19 February 2008 - 02:28 PM

No criticism is intended, but, given the mass of content to choose from, I'm not even sure why the Titanic is significant enough to even incude in a SOW?


Significance is a horrible thing to define however I'd say that Titanic is important enough to be studied as:
* End of the Edwardian era of elegance & belief that man was above all things. In others words a great big crash to reality as people realised that nature could outdo anything we could come up!
* Worst tragedy of its time and with the growth of the mass media it became worldwide news. Probably one of the first events that really did this. This helped it to pass into popular mythology.
* Had lasting effect on international maritime trade/legislation etc. It was Titanic's sinking that led to the principle of lifeboats of everybody on board ships. It was Titanic's sinking that led to the foundation of the US coastguard and the Ice Patrol.
* Affected many countries- not just one. Just think of all the European immigrants who were setting off for a new life in America, think of the cream of UK/US society who were on board Titanic, think of the Irish who were on board as staff or the representatives of Harland & Wolff and who were ironing out the 'glitches' during the maiden voyage.

Also Titanic is one of the so called 'sexy topics' that History has which can be used to hook people into much bigger questions and studies of the past. From Titanic you can go into how and why Edwardian society operated; in this respect it is much like using Jack the Ripper to help explain the shortcomings of the Police in the late 19th century.

These are just off the top of my head and give some reasons for why titanic is significant. I'm sure that people can give other reasons...
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#10 Chouan

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Posted 19 February 2008 - 04:27 PM

"think of the Irish who were on board as staff or the representatives of Harland & Wolff and who were ironing out the 'glitches' during the maiden voyage."
Why does that make it significant? It does if you were one of their families I suppose, but I don't see that they are more important than James Moody, for example, or the Engineer Officers, all of whom were lost. http://www.encyclope....org/item/3494/

Otherwise some good arguments, except that I thought that the US Coast Guards were founded in 1915, but had existed as a life-saving organisation since the 1870's. The International Ice Patrol I'll grant you, but point one is more our view in hindsight. Afterall, the Olympic was built to the same design and wasn't altered because of the Titanic's fate.
Popular mythology is probably the most significant one. The hysterical reporting by the contemporary mass media and a news frenzy of the misinformed is the key, I think, along with the "celebrity" passenger list.

"Worst tragedy of its time"?
The Lena Gold mines strikes were contemporary and caused more deaths and were widely reported.
Chinese and Mexican Revolutions? both also contemporary and caused far more deaths.

All part of our fascination with celebrity and media I suppose.

#11 Chris Garratt

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Posted 19 February 2008 - 04:39 PM

No criticism is intended, but, given the mass of content to choose from, I'm not even sure why the Titanic is significant enough to even incude in a SOW?


Significant? How about because it is interesting? That's why I love History - it interests me.

Oh, and I like Gorbash's 4th idea above. Sources, groupwork, decision making - all good.

Edited by Chris Garratt, 19 February 2008 - 05:54 PM.

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#12 Chouan

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Posted 20 February 2008 - 08:50 AM

Of course its interesting! But why the Titanic? There are so many interesting "one-offs" that could be looked at, what is quite so fascinating, or significant, about the Titanic? Apart, perhaps from the "celebrity" and the media circus that surrounded its demise?

#13 Chris Garratt

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Posted 20 February 2008 - 09:39 AM

Of course its interesting! But why the Titanic? There are so many interesting "one-offs" that could be looked at, what is quite so fascinating, or significant, about the Titanic? Apart, perhaps from the "celebrity" and the media circus that surrounded its demise?


Personal preference?

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#14 Dafydd Humphreys

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Posted 20 February 2008 - 09:55 AM

Of course its interesting! But why the Titanic? There are so many interesting "one-offs" that could be looked at, what is quite so fascinating, or significant, about the Titanic? Apart, perhaps from the "celebrity" and the media circus that surrounded its demise?


It's cool B)
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#15 Chouan

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Posted 20 February 2008 - 11:11 AM

But why?!?!
Obviously you're all entitled to your own preferences, but I'm fascinated by the obsession with this one ship when so many thousands of other ships are ignored, especially when so much about this one ship and its crew is also ignored.




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