On the Water

Learning Resources

Van Valen’s Gold Rush Journey

Interactive Web Site & Student Activity Guide

Investigate the authentic journal of Alex Van Valen, a man who set sail in 1849 to stake his claim in the California gold fields, to discover what life was like during the gold rush. The Web site provides a rich set of primary sources to explore and analyze, as well as an interactive PDF guide where students can record, save, and print their findings.

View Van Valen’s Gold Rush Journey Web Site

Download Gold Rush Student Activity Guide

Download Gold Rush Teacher's Guide

 

Maritime Voices: Merchant Mariners and Shipyard Workers Remember WWII

Oral Histories Web Site & Student Activity

Listen to oral history recordings and examine related primary source materials to uncover the history within the stories of the men and women who built and sailed on Liberty ships to support the allied war effort during World War II. The Web site encourages students to take on the role of historian by presenting them with a variety of related primary source materials and historical questions.

View Maritime Voices (Web site & Student Activity)

 

Life at Sea—1680 to 1806

First Hand Accounts Web Site & Student Activity

Listen to dramatic readings of firsthand accounts of an African slave, an American woman, naval officers and sailors to discover what life was really like on board sailing vessels from 1680 to 1806. The Web site encourages students to take on the role of historian by presenting them with a variety of related primary source materials and historical questions.

View Life at Sea—1680 to 1806 (Web site & Student Activity)

Literature-based Activities

Grades K-4

Life on the Water

Read Keep the Lights Burning, Abbie, a wonderful historical fiction book about a teenage girl who saved the day! Explore related hands-on activities from making your own hard-tack to using technology to find maritime connections in your local community. These activities are designed to help children age 5-10 and adults enjoy exploring history together and are ideal for use at home, in the classroom, or in an after school setting.

View Life on the Water activities

“Keep the Lights Burning, Abbie” by Peter and Connie Roop and illustrated by Peter E. Hanson. Illustrations copyright © 1985 by Carolrhoda Books. Reprinted with the permission of Carolrhoda Books, a division of Lerner Publishing Group, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without the prior written permission of Lerner Publishing Group, Inc.

Photo Sharing Activity

Grades 3-12

Snapshots in Time

How does maritime activity impact your community and daily life? Students investigate this central question, take digital images and write a detailed description. The class can then nominate images for upload to a U.S. map on the National Museum of American History Web site to help build a nation-wide snapshot of what’s happening On the Water today.

View Snapshots in Time map
Go to OTWsnapshots Flickr Group
Download Snapshots in Time Educator’s Guide

WebQuest

Grades 5-12

Life-car Challenge!

Take your students on a webquest! Have them do the work of a museum curator by facing a difficult decision—three other museums have asked to borrow the same 19th century object for an upcoming exhibition. Students will conduct Web research on the object, analyze the results and present their decision on which of three exhibitions—one on invention, one on immigration, or one on maritime safety—should be allowed to borrow this fascinating object.

View Life-car Challenge activity

Web Links

Visit this page for a list of related Web sites keyed to sections of the exhibition.

View Webliography