Monday, March 2, 2015

US History Lesson: Titanic

  I remember I penciled this in for March in the very beginning when we were making our first lesson plans.  The girls were so excited to begin studying this!  I assumed we would be studying Samatha and the Industrial revolution, which would lead right into the Titanic studies.  Well- life happens, that was before we had to move, which put us out of school for a couple of weeks, and before we began with a slow and steady pace at our American History lessons.  We had just finished the revolutionary war and I was ready to begin the civil war fresh with our new History curriculum, and I knew we were planning our family trip to Pigeon Forge for the teacher appreciation deals...  so I decided rather than begin the Industrial revolution just to back peddle, we would take a break and focus only on Titanic.

 I was a teenager when James Cameron released this film that made American Titanic crazy.  Me and my Dad went to see the late movie, I remember leaving at eleven on a school night and feeling like such a rebel lol!  Later in the year, I remember we went on a trip to Gatlinburg (near Pigeon Forge!) and we visited Ripley's Aquarium.  They had a Titanic exhibit...  and we were excited to visit.  That did me in, from that point on I was fascinated by the fate of the ship and the world and memories that lived at the bottom of the Atlantic...   I couldn't wait to share this with my kids!

  Since we only had a week before our trip, the two books that I chose to study from were not novels but illustrated books.  I found them both on the library system online and had them placed on hold for my hubby to pick up.  The first was the Eyewitness Book, which is something that we have used in SEVERAL of our history lessons and the kiddos have really grown to love these books!  they are filled with facts and photos, and they absolutely love to look through them!  In this book, we studied the background of the RMS Titanic, why it was called RMS...  where it was built and who did the building.  We learned about where it was going, where it had came from.  The kids absorbed these facts and this story like sponges!  They really loved studying this part of American History!

  The second book that we chose was my favorite!   This book was written in the 1950s, and is a thick, hefty book!   The book starts out with biographies of some of the people who sailed on the Titanic.  It's one thing to know a lot about the ship, about the building, the facts and the meaty stuff...  but to know the stories opens up a whole new world.  Now that you know them as people, you are invested in their lives.  Invested in their stories and hopeful for their survival.  We read stories of a young girl who was in care of her baby brother, traveling with her Mother and younger sister.  Her name was Ruth.  We also learned of a family known as the Allisons, their daughter and infant son Treavor.  They traveled with a Nanny who had a questionable past. It was in this book that the kids really learned the class sytem, and how it was set up.  With magnificent illustrations and some drawings and photographs from the Olympic, Titanic's sister ship.  (While in the Titanic Museum, we learned that the only photos ever taken on board Titanic were taken by Francis Browne.  He snapped them while he was on the voyage between Southhampton and Queenstown, where he departed to join his family on vacation.  The photos were not released until after his death in 1960, which is possibly why those photos aren't in this book!)  This was an amazing book, and the girls learned a lot from it!

  We chose this documentary: Titanic: Death of a Dream to watch.  The kids actually really enjoyed it, the little kids got a little bored near the end but Lacey and I enjoyed it a lot!  We learned a lot of interesteing facts about the ship and even got to see some of the people who we had read about in the book!  It was so interesting to hear the interviews of survivors!  Again, this is an older documentary, but we enjoyed it nonetheless.

   And lastly, I did let them watch the Titanic movie, but we agreed from the beginning there was some inappropriate content that I didn't want them to see, and they were okay with it.  I never discussed what it was, but anyone who has seen the movie knows exactly what I'm talking about!  And I've seen it so many times I know exactly when to skip scenes lol, so they watched it and saw none of the things Mommy didn't agree with.  It really is a great movie, even if its got a couple of things in it that I didn't approve of.  It helped bring it to life for them.

   This week, we drove to a small town in Tennessee called Pigeon Forge.  For those of you who aren't familiar with the area, it's a really 'county' type of town, very touristy and full of attractions.  The main attractions that we traveled for was the Titanic Museum!
   Upon entering the museum, you are given a card with a name on it.  The name of the passenger that you are holding is the passenger that you are becoming that day!  Brother got Michel (pronounce Me-shell) Navratil.  We had learned about these little boys.  Their parents were getting divorced and their mother was awarded custody.  Their father had been given the opportunity to keep them over the Easter weekend.  Instead of returning them to their Mother, he boarded the Titanic.  Their father did not make it, but the boys survived.  They were take care of by a woman in first class until their Mother discovered that they were alive.

and later:

This was the first time that we have ever went and knew some of the people who were chosen for us!  It was a spectacular visit!  If you are ever in the area, certainly take a stop!  We enjoyed Titanic and look forward to studying the industrial revolution more in depth in a few years in our History journey!!