KS1 Topic: Oceans and Seas Block F: Boats And Ships

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KS1 Topic: Oceans and Seas Block F: Boats And Ships

Research the development of boats and ships, changes in their power sources, changing length of voyages, the history of regattas and the life of seafarers. Paint, make sketches, write journal entries, use code and write ship telegrams. Carry out floating and sinking experiments, construct boats and finally put on a regatta with sandwiches and prizes!

Block F: Boats And Ships

[9 sessions]

Main outcomes: History and D&T

Other outcomes: Science, English, Maths and Art

By the end of this block you will have achieved the following outcomes:

  • Understand historical concepts such as continuity and change.

  • Identify similarities and differences between ways of life in different periods.

  • Learn about events beyond living memory that are significant nationally or globally.

  • Learn about changes in living memory.

  • Explore and use mechanisms in their products.

  • Design purposeful, functional, appealing products based on design criteria.

  • Select from and use a range of tools and equipment to perform practical tasks.

  • Select from and use a wide range of materials and components according to their characteristics.

  • Observe closely, using simple equipment.

  • Perform simple tests.
  • Use observations and ideas to suggest answers to questions.

  • Write for different purposes.

  • Use simple connectives to join clauses.

  • Recognise and use language relating to dates, including weeks, months and years.

  • Compare intervals of time.

  • Use place value and number facts to solve problems.

  • Choose and use appropriate standard units to measure mass (kg/g) to the nearest appropriate unit, using scales.

  • Recognise, identify and describe the properties of 2-D shapes, including the number of sides and line symmetry in a vertical line.

  • Develop drawing techniques in using line, shape and form.

  • Use painting to develop and share their ideas, experiences and imagination.

  • Learn about the work of a range of artists and designers, describing the differences and similarities between different practices and disciplines, and making links to their own work.

Session 1: History_and_English__Life_at_Sea'>History, Maths and Art

Boats in the Past

Compare ships of different eras; Think about the length of voyages; Make sketches and create a timeline of ships.

Children will

  • Identify and compare features of boats/ships of different ages.

  • Create a timeline of ships.

  • Use language relating to the measurement of time: hours, days, weeks and months.

  • Order dates chronologically using century, decade and year.

  • Use a pencil to sketch a boat.

Session 2: Art and English

How are Boats and Ships Used?

Look at the different design features of boats and ships; Use watercolours to paint a picture of a ship with a specific purpose.

Children will

  • Match the design features of boats to their functions.

  • Paint a ship/boat with a specific purpose, using watercolours.

  • Write a clue card about their painting

Session 3: History and English

Life at Sea

Learn about the differences between life at sea in the past and the present; Read fictional journal entries of sailors and voyagers; Write journal entries in role as a seafarer.

Children will

  • Match ship images to fictional journal entries.

  • Identify the differences between life at sea in the past and present.

  • Write a journal entry in role as a seafarer in the past.

Session 4 History and D&T

Ship-to-ship Communication in the Past

Learn about the history of ship-to-ship communication and then write, code and decode ship telegrams.

Children will

  • Look at ship-to-ship communication in the past and present.

  • Explore the Marconi telegraph system.

  • Learn the story of the Titanic and its voyage.

  • Write, code and decode ship telegrams (English to code/coded text into English).

  • Create a poster comparing sea communications in 1915 and 2015.

Session 5: Maths__How_Do_Boats_Stay_Afloat'>Science, D&T and Maths

How Do Boats Stay Afloat?

Carry out simple floating and sinking experiments and begin to understand why heavy metal boats float.

Children will

  • Conduct and record simple experiments to explore floating and sinking.

  • Offer explanations as to why heavy metal boats float.

  • Explore whether salt or fresh water affects an object’s ability to float.

  • Make predictions based on knowledge, experience and observations.

  • Use video/still photography to record the results of experiments.

  • Use scales to weigh objects.

Session 6: D&T and Maths

How Are Boats Powered?

Explore how boats move through water; Construct simple boats with a range of power sources.

Children will

  • Explore the different ways boats move through water.

  • Construct simple paddle/propeller and sail boats.

  • Create a pictogram showing boat power sources.

Session 7: Maths and Science

What Boat Shape Is Best?

Investigate different boat hull shapes and find out which is the most efficient for moving through water.

Children will

  • Identify and label irregular and regular shapes of a boat’s hull.

  • Experiment to find which shape a boat’s hull is the most efficient.

Session 8: D&T and English

Boat Building

Design and build a boat, with a power source, to carry a small load.

Children will

  • Design a boat that can float, move in a straight path, uses a power source and can carry a small load.

  • Make the boat they have designed using a range of materials and tools.

  • Evaluating and modify their boat design when completed.

  • Write an overview/introduction to their vessel.

Session 9: D&T and History

Class Regatta

Compare regattas from the modern day and the past; Design and make sandwiches for a class regatta; Test boats and award prizes.

Children will

  • Explore the history of regattas through images and film.

  • Design and make sandwiches from a range of ingredients.

  • Test boats against the design brief from Session 8.

Session 1

Provided: Time and Date Cards; Boat and Ship Images; Cruise Ships Old and New; Images for Ordering.

You will need: Sketching paper; Drawing pencils.
Session 2

Provided: Artwork of Ships and Boats; Ink & Watercolour Paintings.

You will need: Art paper; Ink pens; Watercolour paints & brushes; Card; Sticky labels.
Session 3

Provided: Journal Entries; Working Ships Past and Present; Background information Cards.
Session 4

Provided: Titanic Collision Map; Marconi Wireless Sets; Morse Code Key; Example Marconigram Form; Blank Marconigram Form; Morse Code Messages; Morse Code Message Solutions; Sea Communication Statements.

You will need: Atlases; Poster paper.
Session 5

Provided: Large Container Ship.

You will need: Tubs of water; Floating bath toy; Metal object, same size as bath toy; Modelling clay; Scales; Table salt; Whole, uncooked eggs; Digital cameras; Range of small objects of varying buoyancy.
Session 6

Provided: How Do They Move?; Pictogram Images; Pictogram Grid.

You will need: A3 paper; Scissors; Glue; Tubs of water; Balloons; Pens; Bendy straws; Thin rubber bands; Tape; Styrofoam containers; Markers; Rulers; Thick card, Electrical tape; Corks; Coloured paper; Toothpicks; Beads; Small screwdriver; Cutting mat.
Session 7

Provided: Boat Shapes; Tin-foil Boats; Shape Sheet 1; Shape Sheet 2; A Kayak.

You will need: Tin foil; Trays of water; Small electric fans; Stopwatch.
Session 8

You will need: Trays of water; Small cargo (e.g. a rubber); Scissors; Glue; Balloons; Pens; Bendy straws; Thin rubber bands; Tape; Styrofoam containers; Markers; Rulers; Thick card, Electrical tape; Corks; Coloured paper; Toothpicks; Beads; Small screwdriver; Cutting mat; Any other craft materials available (e.g. juice/milk cartons, plastic tubing etc.).

Session 9

Provided: Modern Regattas; Historic Regattas.

You will need: Model boats made in Session 8; Small cargo (e.g. a rubber); Trays of water; 3 small prizes; Range of sandwich ingredients; Plates and plastic knives.

Useful websites for background information:
Life at sea


BBC History sight on Life at Sea in the Royal Navy of the 18th Century


Information on the life of a sailor during the War of 1812


Case study on Charles Bertram Jones and his life on the HMS Marlborough, with document scans


Royal Museums of Greenwich site on ships, seafarers & life at sea in different eras

Ships past and present


Video clip: A modern cruise ship


Video clip: Ship launch


Video clip: Boat propeller

Crafting boats


How to make balloon-powered boats


How to make a rubber-band-powered boat


How to make cork sail-boats


Video clip: A fish swimming

Regattas past and present


Video clips from Henley Royal Regattas in recent years


Video clip: Henley Royal Regatta in 1920

© Original resource copyright Hamilton Trust, who give permission for it to be adapted as wished by individual users.

The links to the websites and the contents of the web pages associated with such links specified on this list (hereafter collectively referred to as the ‘Links’) have been checked by Hamilton Trust (being the operating name of the registered charity, William Rowan Hamilton Trust) and to the best of Hamilton Trust’s knowledge, are correct and accurate at the time of publication. Notwithstanding the foregoing or any other terms and conditions on the Hamilton Trust website, you acknowledge that Hamilton Trust has no control over such Links and indeed, the owners of such Links may have removed such Links, changed such Links and/or contents associated with such Links. Therefore, it is your sole responsibility to verify any of the Links which you wish you use. Hamilton Trust excludes all responsibility and liability for any loss or damage arising from the use of any Links.

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