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The Curriculum

Primary (K-2): The Classroom Ship

Turn your classroom into a sailboat. Review basic boat anatomy and vocabulary with students, and have them label corresponding parts of the classroom. Labeled parts may include the bow (the front of the classroom), the stern (the back of the classroom), port (the left side), starboard (the right side), the helm (the teacher’s desk), etc.Schooner Vocabulary
Hoofer Sailing Club.

See these Web sites for additional vocabulary ideas.

Schooner vocabulary - click here
Hoofer Sailing Club - click here

Explain The Race to students and ask them to discuss what it might be like to sail around the world. Emphasize that conditions can be difficult, and every person on board is very important for a successful journey. Visit Team Adventure: The Race with the class to learn more about the different responsibilities of people on the boat. Ask students to role-play some different jobs, such as skipper, navigator, or boat captain.

Elementary (3-5): Buoyancy Challenge

Ask students to brainstorm about why some things float and others sink. How does a boat carrying hundreds of pounds of cargo float while that same cargo would sink to the bottom of the ocean if dumped overboard?

Ask students to list as many different kinds of boats as they can and compare boat shapes. Some boats have one hull, and some are multihulls, like the boats in The Race. Have students research boat design and catamaran structure on Team Adventure: The Race. Why would multihulls be advantageous for The Race?

For the Buoyancy Challenge, give students small balls of clay and demonstrate that they sink when placed in a tub of water. Ask the students if they can reshape the clay so that it floats. Demonstrate how flattening the clay and creating a sailboat shape causes the clay to float. Discuss the concept of buoyancy, including density, surface area, and displacement.

Then give small groups of students one sheet of newspaper, a two-foot (61-centimeter) square of aluminum foil, and six inches (15 centimeters) of duct tape. Ask them to use these materials to construct a buoyant and stable boat. Encourage diversity in design. Float the resulting boats in a tub of water, and add pennies or weights to see which one can hold the most weight before sinking. Have students note the most successful boat designs and discuss why they worked.

Middle School (6-8): Navigation

Ask students to research navigation and how advances in technology have changed it over the last 200 years. Topics to explore may include celestial navigation, sextants, compasses, LORAN, and Global Positioning Systems (GPS). Students should look at the course of The Race to learn more about how the boats will navigate throughout the race.

After students have shared their research results, hold a class debate about which method of navigation they would choose for a long ocean voyage. Pros and cons of each navigational method should be considered, along with factors such as reliability, ease of use, cost, and availability. To aid in the debate, have students create poster advertisements for the navigational method they think is best.

Charting the Way
Obtain a nautical chart and have students compare it to land-based maps. Guide students through explorations of latitude, longitude, chart symbols, and measuring distances. After reviewing the course, ask students to use an atlas to determine the latitude and longitude of certain points along the course. Online atlases may be found at the UN Atlas of the Oceans.

Compass Complexities
Ask students to research how a compass works. They should gain an understanding of true north, geographic north, magnetic declination, and cardinal directions.

Outdoor Action
How to Use A Compass

These Web sites may aid student research.

Outdoor Action - click here
How to use a comapss - click here

Then have students make their own compasses. Obtain a strong bar magnet with marked north and south poles. Magnetize the sharp end of a needle by stroking it ten times across the south pole of the magnet. Push the needle through the opening of a short straw and float it in a shallow dish of water. Draw a circle on a piece of paper and place the dish of water on it. Once the needle settles, have students determine the four cardinal directions and mark them on the paper.

Ask students to follow a predesigned path around the classroom using their compass. For example, “start at the door and take five steps due east. Then turn south and take three steps.” It can be beneficial if following the directions results in the formation of a shape—that way, students know if they have followed the directions correctly. Ask students to determine what happens to their compass if it comes in contact with a magnet. How could this phenomenon affect boats navigating the race?

High School (9-12): Form and Function

The history of sailing is a fascinating way to trace the growth of civilization, and sailing history can be defined by the evolution of boat design. In small groups, have students research sailing vessels from different periods in history, starting with Viking ships and ending with the "ultramodern multihull vessels of The Race. Ask students to pay particular attention to materials used, sail configuration, hull design, and ships’ purpose.American Sail Training Association

These Web sites may aid student research.

American Sail Training Assoc - click here
Gander Academy. Viking Ships - click here
Sailing Ships Archives - click here
Evolution of Ship Building - click here

Have groups share their results with whole class. Students can make creative presentations, such as writing classified ads for their vessel. Challenge students to correlate historical developments with the advent of better nautical technologies.

The physics of sailing has remained the same throughout all the changes in sailboat design. Have students research Bernoulli’s principle and how the physics of sailing compares to the physics of flight.



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