Give Me a Tall Ship

Give Me a Tall Ship


Have you ever played with or built a toy boat or raft? If so, you have something in common with adults and children from many thousands of years ago.

In many ways, ships of the past and ships of today are not all that different from each other. What do ancient and modern ships have in common? How are they different? We might understand how a small raft or wooden rowboat can stay afloat, but what about a large sailing ship like the three-masted tall ships? Or a steel cargo tanker, loaded with heavy grain? Or a naval aircraft carrier, nearly 900 feet long and 150 feet high?


Eva Hart: Titanic Survivor
Begin your exploration by listening to an interview with Eva Hart: Titanic Survivor, who was a child on board the Titanic. Answer these questions on your Give Me a Tall Ship student sheet.

  • According to Eva Hart, how did her mother describe what she felt when the ship struck the iceberg?
  • What did she and her parents do once they learned what had happened? What were their reactions?
  • Where were the lifeboats located?
  • Eva and her mother got on the lifeboat but her father didn't. Why do you think he didn't?
  • What were Eva's recollections about the sinking of the ship? According to her, how did the ship sink?
  • What ship rescued Eva and her mother?

The challenge of this lesson is to learn how different ships from different periods of time are similar and different.

Purpose of This Exploration
In this activity, you will use a variety of websites to take a look at the types of ships that were built recently and at those built hundreds, even thousands, of years ago.

Your group will research one specific ship, gathering information on the size and shape of the ship, as well as what it was used for. Then you’ll prepare a poster describing what you have learned about your ship and present your findings to your class. Finally, you will compare your ship with those that your classmates read about to determine what is similar and different about ancient and modern ships.

Enjoy your trip into maritime history!


  1. Write the names of your team members on the Research Data Table student sheet.
  2. Write the name of the ship that you will research in the space provided.
  3. Complete the Research Data Table using the relevant websites from the tables below. Be sure to also look at the sites on how a ship like yours would have been built.
  4. Note: Check with your teacher; you may or may not be able to download and print out pictures from the websites to use for your poster.
  5. Prepare your poster. Note that your poster must include the following information, if it is available:
  • Name of ship
  • Dates it was in use
  • Purpose (what it was/is used for)
  • Total (overall) length
  • Width (beam)
  • Draft (how much of the ship sits under water)
  • Weight (if available)
  • Water displacement in tons or metric tons (mt)
  • Short description of the ship’s history and where it is now (e.g., decommissioned, sunk, scrapped, on display, etc.)

Important note: Some of the sites may be written in a language other than English. Look for an American or British flag button or scroll down the menus on the side of the page to find the English versions of the index and the text. All of the sites have English versions.

Name of ship Website(s) about ship
The Mary Rose

The Gokstad and the Gyrfalcon

The Ladby Ship and the Imme Gram
The C.A. Thayer
Websites about building Wooden Ships


Name of ship Website(s) about ship
The Balclutha
The USS Arleigh Burke
The SS Red Oak Victory
The SS American Victory
The Keystone State class ships (SS Gopher State)
The USS Constellation
Websites about building Iron/Steel Ships


Name of ship Website(s) about ship
44 Voyagmaker
Websites about building Sailboats

This esheet is a part of the Ships 1: Give Me a Tall Ship lesson.

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Esheet Details