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Monday Morning Ready08.03.2018
Jumpstart Your Week!

Sitting in thrones, brokering powerful alliances, engaging in pomp and circumstance, conducting pirate raids? One of these things may not seem like the others, but in fact all four were things that would have seemed familiar to Denmark’s earliest kings. As ScienceNordic’s Stine Rendrup Johansen reports — pirates actually founded Denmark.... < read more >
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS
Grade 3-4

What are four things you know about pirates?

Grade 5-6

Are you surprised to learn that the Vikings who founded Denmark were pirates? Why or why not?

Grade 7-8

According to the article, Viking pirates used expeditions and "pirate-approved methods" to struggle for power, unite their own warriors and fund ongoing activity. What do you think those "pirate-approved methods" were?

Grade 9-10

In what ways do you think piracy could affect the laws and norms of a developing monarchy?

LESSON PLAN
Fact vs. Fiction: Comparing Pirates

PROCESS:

  1. Have students brainstorm a list of things they know about pirates. Analyze the list. Which items are fact and which are fiction? Do they know for sure?
  2. Instruct students to conduct research to learn about pirates. Encourage them to record a list of facts they consider to be the most important or interesting.
  3. Have students examine how pirates have been presented in pop culture. Instruct students to compare those findings with the facts they recorded about real pirates.
  4. Give students time to create a display comparing and contrasting real-life and fictional pirates.

ASSESSMENT:

Invite students to share their displays with the class. Encourage students to identify any facts about real pirates that they thought were fictional and any facts about fictional pirates that they thought were fact.

CUSTOMIZE THE LESSON:

Grades 3-4:
As a class, conduct research to learn about real-life pirates. Then invite students to identify and describe fictional pirates they know. Divide the class into small groups. Instruct each group to pick one real pirate and one pirate from a book, movie or other work of fiction. Give each group a piece of poster board. Have groups draw pictures and write facts to compare and contrast their real and fictional pirates.
Grades 5-6:
Divide the class into small groups. Instruct groups to conduct research to learn about real-life pirates and those that are works of fiction. Give each group a piece of poster board. Have groups create a Venn diagram with pictures and facts that compare and contrast real and fictional pirates.
Grades 7-8:
Divide the class into pairs. Instruct partners to conduct research to learn about real and fictional pirates. Challenge them to create a digital display comparing and contrasting fact vs. fiction.
Grades 9-10:
Divide the class into pairs. Instruct partners to conduct research to learn about real and fictional pirates. Then have them create a digital display comparing and contrasting fact vs. fiction. As part of their displays, challenge students to disprove at least one myth about pirates that most people consider to be true.
SMITHSONIAN RESOURCES
Living in the Atlantic World 1450-1800
Invite students to explore this online exhibit from the National Museum of American History to learn how Atlantic-based trade—including the piracy that plagued the Caribbean Sea and North American coast—shaped modern world history and life in America.

The Swashbuckling History of Women Pirates
Read this Smithsonian article to learn about a time when women roamed the high seas in search of fortune, freedom and sometimes revenge.

Pirates of the Golden Age
Explore this slideshow from the National Museum of Natural History to meet seven of the most fearsome pirates from the Golden Age of Piracy.

William Dampier—The Pirate Who Collected Plants
Invite students to read this article from the National Museum of Natural History to learn about a fearsome pirate whose work as a naturalist influenced some of the greatest scientists, explorers and writers of his time.

The Real Story: Pirates of the Caribbean
Have you ever wondered how much of the blockbuster film “Pirates of the Caribbean” was true? Watch these clips from the Smithsonian Channel to hear what historians, weaponry experts and one of the film’s screenwriters have to say about how true pirate adventures inspired this blockbuster franchise.

The Last Days of Blackbeard
Read this Smithsonian magazine article for an exclusive account of the final raid and political maneuvers of history’s most notorious pirate.
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