Ships, Navigation, and Whaling

This year, our oldest son completed a small unit study on ships, navigation, and whaling.  This unit fit easily into the context of our current colonial America studies, but reached beyond the 1700's into the 1800's. 

For bite sized nonfiction information, he read Ships, by Philip Wilkinson and Whale Port, by Mark Foster. 

Ships, published by Kingfisher, is divided into four main sections: Trade and Discovery, Ships of War, Peopling the World, and Discovering Ships.  Each section has numerous topics displayed in the typical two page spread of this type of book.  The information was just enough to create an interest and determine a course of more in depth study. 

Whale Port is a fun book that follows the fictional town of Tuckanucket from colonial times to contemporary times.  Though the book has elements of imagination, it is seeped with true facts of interest.  The overall effect was the story of whaling through the years.  It was a good book for my son to read after his recent reading of Moby Dick{He read this title on his own by his own choice.  Though it was not part of this unit study, it did lend itself well to the theme.}

For a personal example of navigation and shipping, he read Carry On, Mr. Bowditch, by Jean Lee Latham.  This biography follows the remarkable life of Nathaniel Bowditch.  Bowditch's determination, perseverance, and diligence are character traits are showcased in this well written book.  If you only want to read one book on navigation, let this be the one.  I highly recommend it.

For more hands on activities and further navigational information, he used Tools of Navigation, by Rachel Dickinson.  This book includes the history, as well as the science, of navigation.  Some of the topics include ancient navigators, explorers, using the stars to navigate, and land exploration. With directions to make your own compass and explanations on contour mapping, the fifteen different activities are applicable and interesting for children and adults. 

Previously read books relating to ships, navigation, and whaling:
All Set Sail, by Armstrong Sperry
Clipper Ship, by Thomas P. Lewis

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