Ninety-seven years ago, the Titanic — then the world’s largest ship — was crossing the North Atlantic on her maiden voyage. The captain received several warnings about icebergs in the area. Some of the messages were not marked for the captain to see.
Late in the evening of April 14, 1912 — a moonless, windless night — the Titanic struck an iceberg. Within five to ten minutes, the ship had a starboard list of five degrees. She was already sinking, without enough lifeboats to save everyone. Although it was not the most deadly sinking of all time, Titanic remains the most sensational.
Activity: The story of the Titanic has been well publicized through movies and from the underwater technology used to find the ship, create video, and bring many of the valuable contents back into museum and private collections. This should motivate students to want to learn more about the Titanic and many of the facts that led to the tragedy of its sinking and the many lives that were lost.
Here are the procedures to locate a variety of newspaper accounts in America’s Historical Newspapers of what happened that evening, why, and how the outcome could have been different:
- Type “Titanic and ship and iceberg” in the Search box.
- Click the Decade selection 1910.
- Type “Titanic” in the Advanced Search box Document Title and then Search.
Require students to cite at least three articles for their reports: written — 150 to 200 words; oral — two to three minutes. Reports should include answers to Essential Questions to motivate students to integrate critical thinking in their research and reporting.
Here are some examples; teachers should create additional ones especially if students are assigned the same topics:
- What was the goal of the maiden voyage of the Titanic and why?
- Who was responsible for the decisions that put the ship in “harm’s way”? <
- Why were there not enough lifeboats aboard to save all the passengers?
- What rules were there for selecting the passengers to be saved and why?
- Why were safer routes not chosen for the voyage?
- How did the tragedy of the Titanic affect future development of luxury liners?