Primary Primary Literacy

Primary – Literacy Activities for the Titanic

Activity One – Come Sail With Us!
Year 2 to Year 6

The Titanic was the most opulent, largest and most incredible ship ever built at the time of its maiden voyage. Hundreds of important people were on board, desperate to be there when history was made but not expecting the history that was to replace it. The ship’s owners’ Cunard, wanted as many people to enjoy the trip of a lifetime so set about promoting the ship.

In this activity, the children should be the ‘advertising executives’ charged with ‘selling’ the trip of a lifetime. They need to pick out all the information that would make people wish to sail on her and decide how they could promote it.

They could choose to do a poster, a radio advert, for radio was becoming popular at the time, a newspaper advertisement or a feature for the news detailing the luxury and innovation on board. The children may find that they’ll need to focus on just some of the good things about the ship so it’s also a good activity for work on grouping and prioritising. In carrying out the activity, remind the children, through examples, of the style used in posters of the day – several are available on Google Images, and look at the fonts that were used. If they are going to include pictures of people in their work, they’ll need to consider the way they were dressed and they’ll need to think about the language that was used in that era.

Activity Two – Ship’s Log
Year 2 to Year 6

Online there are examples of ship’s logs and a good American website that shows children how to fill out a log for a ship’s voyage. Both can be useful to help you with this activity.

See http://seagrant.psu.edu/education/stear/Ships%20Log.pdf
and http://sailsproject.cerch.kcl.ac.uk/wp-uploads/2010/07/shipslog3.jpg

Many websites and books tell you of the events leading up to the sinking, giving times when the events happened.  Explain to the children what a ship’s log is and what it’s used for – it’s really a diary of what happens on board a ship.

Use the template provided here to fill in the information you find – if you can’t find some of it, don’t worry, because a bit of thought will help you fill in the blanks.

Activity Three – The News Report
Year 2 to Year 6

The world was horrified when it heard of the sinking of the Titanic and the world’s newspapers responded likewise. In this activity the children will compose a newspaper report in an appropriate tone reporting on the disaster. It’s nice if you can make their final copy look old so if you get the chance, soak pieces of paper in cold tea before drying flat. If you’ve done it properly you’ll still be able to pass them through a printer to add a newspaper template. You can singe the edges or ask the children to tear small pieces out of the edges to add extra ‘age’.

Ask the children to make notes of the key facts about the ship to open the piece, then make notes on the events that led up to the sinking. Finally, ask them to research some of the people, rich or poor that perished and add that as a ‘personal’ touch to the report. Finally, finish by adding a drawing of the Titanic’s final moments or of some of those that died.

Dave Lewis
Primary Teacher

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