Titanic presentation


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Jan 21, 2003
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I'm going to be doing a presentation on the Titanic to a 6th grade class for my mother. I was wondering how I would explain the new theories about the sinking and break up that wouldn't be to technical. Also alot of photos and diagrams would also be helpful. thanks in advance for any help.
 
Jun 12, 2004
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Chris,

First of all, to which new theories are you referring? There are so many, and newer theories continue to develop all the time.

Also, if this is for the 6th grade, you're going to be limited on time, so you're going to want to focus on one or two things specifically. What specifically are you thinking about discussing?

I have teaching experience and can help, but knowing exactly what you plan on doing will better allow me to provide you will examples of presentation.

Images and graphs are always helpful, as visuals explain a lot without confusion.

As for not getting too technical, you can tell how many decks and boilers Titanic had, as well as its reciprocating engines. Briefly describe what each was designed to do.

You can also relate maximum speed and that Titanic was going over 21 knots when it collided with the iceberg (this is fast for some ships, but not for others).

As for theories on the sinking . . .

The "bottom-up" theory suggests that the stern remained horizontal while the bow filled with water. As the forward part sank and the stress pulled on the hull plates and girders (interior beams that offer support to the decks), the keel (bottom spine) snapped loose and rose upward through the decks, sheering the ship apart.

You can find images at Roy Mengot's site for the "bottom-up" theory. Sorry, but I don't remember the web address. Perhaps someone else can provide it for you.

The common belief, however, is that water filled the ship from forward starboard (your right side), pulling the bow under water. As the bow continued to sink at a lean to port (left side), the keel bent to a point where the tension was too much for the ship's structure (hull plates, girders, etc.) to handle, and the mid-section (just behind the third funnel) crumbled away as the hull crunched and ripped apart. The stern rose about 30 degrees out of the water until everything forward fell away, then settled back even with the water and slipped under the waves.

You can see the above here: http://www.marconigraph.com . Go to Titanic at the left and follow to "More Questions than Answers, Part 1" near the top. This will provide a visual model of this theory.




There are other theories, too, but these are two. The best way is to stay away from technical explanations and stick with the general steps as I have described them above.

Just remember that the breakup was basically caused by the extreme stress on the ship's structure due to the weight of the sinking bow and the rising stern. That stress became too much, and . . . CRACK! That should be enough for a 6th grade class.

Again, it all depends on what you specifically want to talk about. You can't cover everything because there is just way too much. This is why you should focus.

Anyway, I hope this helps. Please ask if you have any further questions. We'll be glad to help.

Take care and good luck!
 
Jan 21, 2003
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Mark I am looking into the bottom up theory that was on tv not too long ago (wish I could find that program) I was also interested about the angle of the break up and have diagrams showing the difference between what was thought to have happened , but turned out to be false. I just want to give the kids the most up to date info on the sinking an break up without boring them. I have to April to do this so I have plenty of time to figure this out
 
Jun 12, 2004
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Chris,

My apologies for not getting back to you sooner. I had some work that took me through the weekend.


quote:

I was also interested about the angle of the break up and have diagrams showing the difference between what was thought to have happened , but turned out to be false.

Well, as we suspect, the ship was likely twisted into an ever-declining port list. It is my contention, though, that, because the port side hull plates compressed while the starboard hull plates simultaneously underwent stress due to extreme pulling from both the sinking bow and the rising stern, the breakup was initiated by these opposing forces with a right-to-left cataclysmic "tear" through the mid-section of the ship. This can best be illustrated in Park's model. There was, I believe, an upward ("bottom-up") movement of the keel as the bow sunk further and further, too, so it was likely not just one, but a combination of dynamics involved. Quite messy, indeed! Still, the evidence to support this is merely corroborative and not 100% affirmative at this point.

What diagrams did you find? I don't think you'd be able to explain everything to a 6th grade class, as it is too complex and will likely take too long. The secret is condensing all of the information and presenting/explaining it in a simple fashion. You certainly have a challenge ahead of you there.


quote:

I just want to give the kids the most up to date info on the sinking an break up without boring them.

Oh, believe me, you won't bore them, especially after Cameron's movie. True, it came out 10 years ago, but I am sure that many or the 6th graders have likely heard of it.

Again, I would suggest not getting too bogged down in intricate details, because then you just might get lost. Stick to the basics.

Also remember that the bottom-up theory, although continuing to draw attention is not 100% confirmed either, so it is important to weigh and compare several of the current theories, if not with your students, then by yourself. Please be careful about what you pass along as fact, because it just might not be. This is why it is so important to weigh the data first.

You seem like you want to focus on the breakup in particular. Considering the cause-and-effect that took place, I'm not quite sure you can do that and still be clear about everything. You can, however, briefly describe everything up to that point and then ease on into the specifics of the break up and stern sinking.

Pictures say a thousand words, as the saying goes, so you'll undoubtedly need images to assist you--just not from any of the movies.

Also, Chief Baker Joughin's account in both American and British Inquiries should be of special interest, as he was near the break and on the stern as it went into the water. He was the last person off the ship that night (stepped off into the water as the stern sank beneath him). I don't think you could gather data from survivor accounts without including his.

Anyway, I'd be willing to work through it with you if you'd like. I would actually enjoy it. All I ask is to keep us updated on the methodological decisions you make regarding presentation so that we can be tuned into what you plan to do and how. As you know, this certainly makes a difference in relation to the data you intend to present.​
 
Jun 12, 2004
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Hello, Chris! Glad to see you back.
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I'll be happy to help any way I can. Thanks for the email.

I would post my email here for you, but security reasons prevent me from doing so. If you wish to email me, you can do so through my profile. I'd look forward to hearing from you.
 
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