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Titanic ~ Over a Century Later and We’re Still Sinking

Titanic ~ Over a Century Later and We’re Still Sinking

Titanic ~ Over a Century Later and We’re Still Sinking

This post may contain affiliate links. Please see disclosure policy for details.

This post may contain affiliate links. Please see disclosure policy for details.


Every year our grade 8 students journey back to 1912 and re-live the last moments of the Titanic tragedy. This is the most exciting 6-week unit in English, and they anticipate it all year long! I know, I know, you’re probably thinking ‘but this is Social Studies!’ but since it covers so many ELA outcomes in such a fun, interactive way, it works out beautifully!

First we start the unit with research and a viewing of James Cameron’s first dive to the wreckage site some 70 years after the sinking. His extensive research was included in the movie Titanic, released in 1997, directed by Cameron himself.The movie went on to win 11 of its 14 Oscar nominations, and brought a true sense of who many of the well-known passengers aboard Titanic were.


As we journey along…


The passengers who ventured on the most magnificent vessel of her time, truly come alive as the unit unfolds. Each student delves into the life of a passenger of their choice, investigating lifestyle, habits, and even scandals of the times! They then slip off their shoes and step into those of their chosen passenger and become that person on the day of our infamous Titanic Ball.


The Titanic Ball


The Titanic Ball is something we host on the last day of the unit.  Students get to showcase all of their hard work, and we turn the classroom into a dining saloon where we eat our last meal before Titanic takes her plunge!


Titanic Dinner Table
1st, 2nd and 3rd class seating


Titanic Crew Seating
Here you see special seating for the crew.


But, before we eat, we give proper introductions to get to know one another a little better. We were graced with the presence of several affluent members.



Below you will see our very own John Jacob Astor IV standing alone. The richest man on the ship, at 47, Astor was heading back across the Atlantic with his wife, Madeline.


They had been celebrating an extended honeymoon and boarded Titanic as first class passengers, of course! Astor’s wife was only 19 and also 5 months pregnant — a hot topic with many other first class passengers! The ‘heat’ revolving around their marriage was why they took their extended stay in Egypt, then Paris, in the first place.


JJ Astor IV
Our very own JJ Astor IV


An honorable man, Astor helped his wife into a lifeboat as the ship was sinking, and perished in the water along with over 1500 people that night.


Ticket to Ride


Each student is required to have a ticket before they can enter the Titanic Ball.  This ticket comes in the form of a final project.  Students have a variety of options to choose from that will allow them to showcase the information they have been researching and learning over our weeks of study on Titanic.


Students might choose to make a scrapbook of Omens or Survivors, they may create a Newspaper or Postcards, or perhaps craft a model of something like the Lost Treasures or the Titanic itself.  The project everyone looks forward to on the final day is that of the Menu.  Students who choose this option not only recreate Titanic’s final dinner menu, but they are also required to choose an item from the menu, make it and bring it in to share with the class before we hit the iceberg!


A look at the fantastic projects that came in.

Titanic under the ocean

Titanic projects


Let’s Eat!


Titanic dinner menu


By the end of Titanic unit, students recognize the sad truth of one simple fact: if only there had been enough lifeboats on board, no one would have had to die that cold fateful night in April, 1912.  But what they also get to take away is an appreciation for the controversies that surround the ship, and why several people were accused in their own way for the outcome of this historic tragedy.


Until we sink again… Remember: Life is what you make it. Take lots of pictures.




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Rachel is an optimist at heart, always trying to find a way to inspire happiness in those around her. She is a mom to two wonderful girls. A teacher as well, in her spare time Rachel blogs about life, happiness, family, and more. Join along and subscribe over there in the right sidebar. You don't want to miss out on anything.

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