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The Titanic


Raise the RMS Titanic from the depths of history with a series of cross curricular project plans and resources exploring various aspects of life aboard the most famous ship of all time.

On 15 April 1912 at 2:20 am, RMS Titanic disappeared beneath the waves of the Atlantic Ocean, taking 1517 lives with it. The sinking of this famous ship is a legend that naturally engages children and maintains its relevance today.

Titanic was a legend before she even sailed on her maiden voyage. She was built as a dream – the largest passenger ship in the world at the time, and, ironically, the safest. She was special, she was unsinkable, and under this illusion, carried just 20 lifeboats. The largest ship to sink on her maiden voyage, the Titanic disaster resulted in an enormous loss of life. Some of the wealthiest people in the world at the time perished in the sinking.

The activities presented here in this project plan are targeted at children in Key Stage 2 and lower Key Stage 3. It is a cross curricular topic with a great emphasis on thinking skills. The topic aims to engage the children as readers with purpose, enabling them to connect their new learning to current understanding.

The activities involve solving problems in a variety of curriculum areas including literacy, mathematics, history, drama and PSHE. Some of the skills students will be developing include making links between cause and effect, gathering information, developing imaginative ideas, considering evidence, thinking logically, seeking patterns and evaluating their learning in an enjoyable and meaningful way.

A question-led information resource accompanies the activities, which can be photocopied for use in the classroom. Students will need to read, extract and expand on the information presented here to complete the activities which follow. Alternatively, depending on ability, you may want to ask students to research each of the different areas independently, prompted by the questions provided.

Please note: The resources in this project have been improved since its publication in Creative Teaching and Learning, based on feedback from our readers. Because of this, you may notice minor discrepancies between the information in these resource packs and the plans featured in the magazine.

Top: The Titanic docked in Southampton. Left: Survivors of the sinking in one of the lifeboats. Centre: The Titanic. Right: The accused killer - the iceberg that the Titanic allegedly struck. (Photos from wikipedia.org)


This cross curricular project includes:

The Titanic text
Why did RMS Titanic, ship of dreams, sink? This text explores the events that fateful night and why the Titanic became the most famous shipwreck of all time. Available as a pdf (found in 'Project Plan: The Titanic') and as a separate word document (formatted to make mass printing/photocopying easier and more cost effective).

Activity 1: Activating prior knowledge
As an introduction to the topic of the Titanic, students use a single image to speculate on the text they are going to be reading.
Includes instructions and:

  • Activity sheet 1a: Image prompt
  • Activity sheet 1b: Placemat (to record thoughts)

Activity 2: Anticipation guide
Children complete an ‘Anticipation guide’ before reading the text, ‘The Titanic’, deciding which of the statements are true and which are false. They then read the text searching for specific evidence – this encourages them to read with purpose and engagement.
Includes instructions and:

  • Activity sheet 2: Anticipation guide

Activity 3: Powerful verbs and adjectives (formerly ‘Mind map’)
In this short activity, students create a pool of powerful verbs and adjectives related to the Titanic for use later on in the project.
Includes instructions and:

  • Activity sheet 3: Student worksheet

Activity 4: Reading the text
This activity encourages active thinking and reading through close examination of the text, ‘The Titanic’. Students read and analyse the text from various reading ‘roles’ – predictor, summariser, questioner and clarifier.
Includes instructions and:

  • Activity sheet 4a: Record sheet
  • Activity sheet 4b: Reading roles cards (to cut out)
  • Activity sheet 4c: Working Out Words (to record unfamiliar words for later reference)

Activity 5: Read all about it!
Students write a newspaper front page on the Titanic disaster making use of the powerful verbs and adjectives they collated in Activity 3.
Includes instructions and:

  • Activity sheet 5: Question hand example

Activity 6: Titanic facts and figures
Students use numerical data about the Titanic to answer a number of mathematical word problems.
Includes instructions and:

  • Activity sheet 6a: Titanic facts and figures (information sheet)
  • Activity sheet 6b: Word problems (student worksheet)

Activity 7: What shape boat floats the best?
Students set up a scientific investigation to determine which boat designs float the best and support the most weight. Includes instructions.

Activity 8: Poetry writing
Students complete two mini activities before using their ideas to write a poem about the sinking of the Titanic. The first encourages them to visualise scenes that could have taken place as the ship sunk, the second encourages them to use all their senses.
Includes instructions and:

  • Activity sheet 8a: The film strip
  • Activity sheet 8b: Using the senses grid


Activity 9: How much of an iceberg can be seen above the waterline?
A visual demonstration to the children that the majority of an iceberg is below the water line and cannot be seen.
Includes instructions and:

  • Activity sheet 9: Student worksheet

Activity 10: Should the wreckage of the Titanic be left alone? (formerly ‘Agree/disagree line or Decision alley’)
Students explore the pros and cons of leaving the wreck of the Titanic alone and evaluate their final decision. Includes instructions for two different approaches to this activity – Agree/disagree line and Decision alley.

Activity 11: Producing a culturegram
Students create a culturegram (an image bank) of life in England between 1910 and 1914.
Includes instructions and:

  • Activity sheet 11a: Student introduction
  • Activity sheet 11b: Example culturegram

Activity 12: Titanic role-play
In this activity, the children use role-play to explore moral and ethical issues surrounding the Titanic disaster. Includes instructions.

Activity 13: Splat!
A game of snap, in which students match key words related to the Titanic to definitions. The game can also be extended into a research activity and a fun whole-class competition.
Includes instructions and:

  • Activity sheet 13: Splat! cards

Activity 14: Taboo
The children play a game of Taboo with words to do with the Titanic. They must find a way to describe the person, place or object without using the ‘forbidden’ words on the card.
Includes instructions and:

  • Activity sheet 14: Taboo cards

Activity 15: Safety procedures and survival
Students consider what could have been done to save more lives on-board the Titanic and devise step-by-step emergency procedures.
Includes instructions and:

  • Activity sheet 15a: Student introduction and question sheet
  • Activity sheet 15b: Titanic deck plans

Left: Artist's impression of the sinking. Centre: The Titanic makes front-page news. Right: The site where the Titanic sank. (Images by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

This resource bank can be accessed for free with subscription to Creative Teaching and Learning or purchased for £36.

Related Articles

PDF

Project Plan: The Titanic

April 2012 marks the centenary of the sinking of the world’s greatest liner, the Titanic. Through a series of cross-curricular thinking skills activities, primary school teacher Jane Jones explores every aspect of the Titanic’s history from boat design, to iceberg investigations to social history.
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The Titanic text (Word document)

Why did RMS Titanic, ship of dreams, sink? This text explores the events that fateful night and why the Titanic became the most famous shipwreck of all time.
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Activity 1 Resource Pack: Activating prior knowledge

The Titanic: Activity 1 Resource Pack. Introduction to the topic of the Titanic - students use a single image to speculate on the text they are going to be reading.
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Activity 2 Resource Pack: Anticipation guide

The Titanic: Activity 2 Resource Pack. Children complete an ‘Anticipation guide’ about the Titanic, deciding which of the statements are true and which are false, before reading the text, ‘The Titanic’, searching for specific evidence.
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Activity 3 Resource Pack: Powerful verbs and adjectives

The Titanic: Activity 3 Resource Pack. In this short activity, students create a pool of powerful verbs and adjectives related to the Titanic for use later on in the project.
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Activity 4 Resource Pack: Reading the text

The Titanic: Activity 4 Resource Pack. This activity encourages active thinking and reading through close examination of the text, ‘The Titanic’. Students read and analyse the text from various reading ‘roles’.
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Activity 5 Resource Pack: Read all about it!

The Titanic: Activity 5 Resource Pack. Students write a newspaper front page on the Titanic disaster making use of the powerful verbs and adjectives they collated in Activity 3.
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Activity 6 Resource Pack: Titanic facts and figures

The Titanic: Activity 6 Resource Pack. Students use numerical data about the Titanic to answer a number of mathematical word problems.
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MS Word

Activity 7 Resource Pack: What shape boat floats the best?

The Titanic: Activity 7 Resource Pack. Students set up a scientific investigation to determine which boat designs float the best and support the most weight.
MS Word

Activity 8 Resource Pack: Poetry writing

The Titanic: Activity 8 Resource Pack. Students complete two mini activities designed to fire their imaginations, before using their ideas to write a poem about the sinking of the Titanic.
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Activity 9 Resource Pack: How much of an iceberg can be seen above the water line?

The Titanic: Activity 9 Resource Pack. A visual demonstration to the children that the majority of an iceberg is below the water line and cannot be seen.
MS Word

Activity 10 Resource Pack: Should the wreckage of the Titanic be left alone?

The Titanic: Activity 10 Resource Pack. Students explore the pros and cons of leaving the wreck of the Titanic alone and evaluate their final decision. Includes instructions for two different approaches to this activity – Agree/disagree line and Decision alley.
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MS Word

Activity 11 Resource Pack: Producing a culturegram

The Titanic: Activity 11 Resource Pack. Students create a culturegram (an image bank) of life in England between 1910 and 1914.
MS Word

Activity 12 Resource Pack: Titanic role-play

The Titanic: Activity 12 Resource Pack. Children use role-play to explore moral and ethical issues surrounding the Titanic disaster.
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Activity 13 Resource Pack: Splat!

The Titanic: Activity 13 Resource Pack. A game of snap, in which students match key words related to the Titanic to definitions.
MS Word

Activity 14 Resource Pack: Taboo

The Titanic: Activity 14 Resource Pack. The children play a game of Taboo with words to do with the Titanic. They must find a way to describe the person, place or object without using the ‘forbidden’ words on the card.
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MS Word

Activity 15 Resource Pack: Safety procedures and survival

The Titanic: Activity 15 Resource Pack. Students consider what could have been done to save more lives on-board the Titanic and devise step-by-step emergency procedures.
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