Sunday, October 6, 2013

Jamestown Ship Build

Hello Blog World! Today I am sharing one of my favorite projects of the year. I got the idea from a friend who does it at her school. I loved it so much that I recreated it, and added a few aspects too. This is something that students look forward to for weeks and talk about for years to come!

We build the 3 ships that came to America to start the settlement of Jamestown, the first permanent English settlement in America. We build them out of dowel rods, streamers, and masking tape. Once built, students get into the ships and do some journaling and a reader's theater that I wrote based on the book "Blood on the River" (a must-read for any Jamestown unit!)

So here's how we do it...

1. I don't have a picture, but the day before, I go out and step off the measurements for the ships and spray paint on the grass roughly an outline for the ships. The measurements are included in my lesson pack.

2. Assign students the name of an actual passenger on board one of the ships headed to America. This can be found online or in my lesson pack.

3. Break students into groups of 3-4 students and give them dowel rods, yard stick, and a hammer.

4. Let students lightly hammer the dowel rods into the ground about a yard apart.

5. Students then run paper streamers between the dowel rods, attaching the streamers with masking tape. This is especially important if it is windy!

6. Continue adding streamers until it is as full as you would like, or you run out.

7. Build all 3 ships and let students get "inside" the ships to do some activities. 

8. We do a journal prompt, asking students to put themselves in the place of the person on their name tag. They are asked to create a few journal entries telling about their journey to the New World.

9. We also do a reader's theater, assigning parts and reading it aloud. There is one based on the book "Blood on the River" in my lesson pack or you could find one online.

We let the kids dress "colonial" and so the teachers do too! This was my team last year: Mrs. Cejda, myself, and Mrs. Grace.

The kids created signs to label our ships too.

We build them in the morning, spend most of the morning out in them, eat lunch in them, then leave them up for other grade levels to come visit and see.

I make "Hardtack" or ship biscuits for the kids to eat onboard too. You can find the recipe here. 

Some helpful hints I have found after doing this a couple times:
-You need about 150 dowel rods (we got them donated from Home Depot)
-About 80 rolls of streamers is needed
-Spray painting the outline helps in controlling the chaos
-Invite other classes and grade levels to visit (our whole 5th grade does it together)

**This lesson pack does NOT have directions for building the ships with dowel rods and streamers. That is for my blog only. It suggests using chalk on concrete.**

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