Finding and documenting the Titanic required the cooperation of many different professions (such as, biologists, geologists, marine archeologists, cartographers, meteorologist, satellite technicians, engineers, submersible pilots, divers to release the sub from its housing, ship's crew, photographers, cinematographers, writers, lawyers, accountants and administrators, etc.).
Identify as many marine careers as you can
- What kinds of professionals helped locate and explore the Titanic? Don't forget satellite connections! Work in groups of 3 or 4 students to brainstorm as many different careers as you can. See who can come up with the longest list.
- Ask each student to choose one career to research.
- Then create a mural depicting each kind of professional "at work" with a paragraph describing his/her job next to an accompanying photo or illustration.
- Research how sonar, submersibles, and satellites are used in oceanography. How have these tools changed the way scientists work, as well as the kind of experiments they do or questions they can answer?
Add these tools of technology to your mural.
Discuss careers that involve map making(includes, surveyor, architect, oceanographer, cartographer, meteorologist, road builder, town planner, forest ranger, geologist, hydrologist, astronomer, archeologist, etc.).
Law of the sea
In 1987, a French expedition recovered 1800 artifacts from the Titanic. The salvaging sparked intensed debates. Discuss both sides of the issues of a maritime practice that allows an abandoned ship to be boarded and salvaged by the first to stake a claim. What arguments could be made for salvaging the Titanic? Should artifacts be sold to collectors? Should they be put on exhibit in a museum? Should they not be disturbed at all?
Research the maritime laws that govern salvage on the high seas. Learn what maritime lawyers do.
People in the news
Write a newspaper article reporting the Titanic tragedy or the excitement of her discovery on the ocean floor 73 years later.
Write a biography of someone associated with the Titanic, such as,
"Unsinkable" Molly Brown (Margaret J. Brown) a colorful Denver, Colorado, socialite who survived the sinking. Her fortune came from her husband, James J. Brown,who had struck gold out West.
Dr. Robert Ballard, the marine geologist from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution who found the Titanic, the Monitor, and the Bismarck. He was among the first to discover giant deep-sea vents 9,000 ft. down in the Pacific Ocean. He has written several books, scientific publications, and numerous articles for National Geographic.
Science and politics
Research the mistakes the builders and the crew of the Titanic made that contributed to her sinking.
Correlate this with the events that led up to the explosion of the Challenger Space Shuttle in 1986.
The designers, operators of both were under great political pressure to show the world how technologically advanced these crafts were, at the risk (in retrospect) of overlooking some obvious safety controls. Also the power of nature was underestimated. Other similarities: a hurried schedule, lack of communications between builders and operators, both were victims of ice, and a lack of adequate means of escape for th passengers.
Was too much confidence placed in technology? What was the public reaction? What did subsequent investigations turn up? How did these two tragedies lead to improved safety measures? What are the risks and rewards of technology?
As a result of the sinking of the Titanic, lifeboat drills and more stringent rules for inspections and certification of lifeboats and other safety gear were instituted. What kinds of safeguards do/should modern passenger ships have?
Contact a cruise line or the U.S. Coast Guard, or interview someone who was a recent passenger on a cruise ship to learn the answer.
- Robert Ballard's books on the discovery of the Titanic and the Bismarck