100 Years Later, the Titanic Continues to Fascinate and Educate
This year marks the 100th anniversary of the fateful night the “unsinkable ship” plummeted to the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean. The Titanic disaster has been arguably the most popular shipwreck in history, and it still captures the interest of people a century after it made its ill-fated maiden voyage.
The centennial anniversary has taken the media by storm, bringing life once again to the “ship of dreams.” In the April 2012 edition of National Geographic, new photos of the Titanic lying at the bottom of the ocean will be published. These photos are like none other. It took a team of professionals, millions of dollars, two months, and state-of-the-art technology to capture this high-definition, never-before-seen look at the ship.
Deep-sea explorers used programmed robotic vehicles, side-scan sonar, and multi-beam sonar to capture images. These techniques were able to record the finest details and changes that have happened to the ship since it sank and was discovered in 1985. The process of storing the “ribbons of data” that the robots took of the ship is what the professionals call “mowing the lawn,” which scanned the entire distance of the wreck (three by five miles long).
Organizations like the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and famous explorers (ahem…James Cameron) have been studying the shipwreck for decades. It takes many people from different professions to bring the Titanic from the ocean floor to the public… and into movie theaters. Scientists, archeologists, marine biologists, the Navy, historians, artists, photographers, animators, engineers, inventors, entrepreneurs, and deep-sea explorers have all been involved in helping us remember what the Titanic was really like.
In the Classroom:
Many people are fascinated by shipwrecks, so we bet that your students will be too. The sinking, exploration, and discovery of the Titanic are all teachable moments that can bring subjects like science, math, and history into the classroom with this real-world experience.
Here are some ideas on how you can incorporate the 100th anniversary of the Titanic disaster into the classroom:
Careers: Remember the professions that were listed above? Would your students be more motivated in school if they knew someday they could work on projects like the Titanic? It’s never too early to think about what you want to be when you grow up!
Physics: How could the ship have avoided sinking? Many experts think the captain and crew of the Titanic ignored many different signs, which led to its sinking.
Science: What has happened to the ship since it sank? How exactly did it sink? Experts are learning that it didn’t sink the way we thought.
History: The Titanic is old, having been built in the early 1900s. How were ships built then? What were the passengers like? What kinds of artifacts have been preserved from the ship?
One more thing…we can’t discuss the Titanic without mentioning James Cameron’s 1997 blockbuster, Titanic. If you haven’t heard, the film is being rereleased in theaters in 3-D to celebrate the anniversary. Will you go see it in the theater again? Remember that it has a rating of PG-13 and might not be suitable for all ages.
Useful Links About the Titanic:
‘Unseen Titanic’ article and hi-tech photos (National Geographic)