TEACHING LEVEL: Grades 7-9
TEACHING TIME: One 50-minute class period
- Students will be able to describe a clipper ship and deduce some
of the difficulties involved with this form of transportation.
- Students will
use primary sources to gain a deeper understanding of the hardships sailors
Adapting the Lesson for Middle School
The activities in this lesson are especially appropriate for middle school
students. Although some of the reading may be difficult because of the antiquated
language, the ideas are easy to grasp. An annotated bibliography of reference
materials is included to encourage teachers to make this an inquiry-based lesson
and to help students pursue independent research or prepare group projects.
The introductory activity can be used as a starting point for an inquiry-based
Much of the material taught in this lesson can be elicited from the students
themselves through questions and discussion, since the details of life on board
a clipper ship follow naturally from the physical restraints and requirements
of the sailing ship.
The first extension activity in Lesson 1 (The
which involves looking at the logs of a number of clipper ships is an appropriate
activity for middle school students that combines a geography lesson with primary
source material about ships and trade. The logs from these ships include incidents
that highlight some of the issues discussed in this lesson, such as discipline
on board ships and the hazards of working at sea.