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Grand Designs and Great Failures

Grand Designs and Great Failures

Introduction

At some time, you may have seen film clips of early attempts at developing a working airplane. While these designs seem comical to us now, at the time they were sincere and labor-intensive attempts to create a machine that could fly. Similarly, when we look back in history at great advances in design engineering such as hydraulics, plastics, ceramics, solid-state circuits, and microchips, they seem logical solutions to the problems of the time. However, what we don’t see are the many attempts that failed, despite the contribution of brilliant scientists and engineers.

In this activity, you will examine two ship designs that failed very publicly, spectacularly, and tragically. Your task will be to use what you know about floating, sinking, ships, and load lines to explain how these ships sank and offer the best explanation of why. In addition, you’ll propose some ideas to improve the design of these ships. Finally, you’ll present your information to the class, as directed by your teacher.


Exploration

Using the websites listed below, explore the information to learn more about your assigned ship(s). Take notes as you research the following questions. You'll eventually have to provide detailed answers for each question.

  • Who built this ship? What was the purpose of the ship?
  • When and where was it built?
  • What were some of the new innovations in ship design that were built into this ship?
  • If possible, discuss how the new ship was tested before sailing.
  • What happened to this ship on its maiden (first) voyage? Describe in detail why it sank. Refer to the hull, keel, and ribs, as needed.
  • Explain how the load line was exceeded in this ship.
  • If a new ship were to be built based on the Titanic or Vasa, what suggestions would you make to the designers to avoid the problems that caused these ships to sink?
Name of ship Website about ship
The Swedish Vasa

The HMS Titanic




Knowledge Check

Now that you have completed your research, respond to the questions below:

  • Who built this ship? What was the purpose of the ship?
  • When and where was it built?
  • What were some of the new innovations in ship design that were built into this ship?
  • If possible, discuss how the new ship was tested before sailing.
  • What happened to this ship on its maiden (first) voyage? Describe in detail why it sank.
    Refer to the hull, keel, and ribs, as needed.
  • Explain how the load line was exceeded in this ship.
  • If a new ship were to be built based on the Titanic or Vasa, what suggestions would you
    make to the designers to avoid the problems that caused those ships to sink?

This esheet is a part of the Ships 3: Grand Designs and Great Failures lesson.

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Esheet Details

Grades
AAAS