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Every Ship Has a Story

Paintings or drawings that show ships, trains and other modes of transportation have a story to tell. Students discover the rich history of maritime artist Antonio Jacobsen and create their own ship painting with a journey of its own.

  • Grade 2
    Grade 3
    Grade 4
  • Multiple Lesson Periods
  • Directions

    1. In 2001, to celebrate the millennium, FAPE assembled the GIFT TO THE NATION, comprised of 245 American artworks that have been placed in permanent locations in embassies and ambassadorial residences around the world. One of those pieces was a maritime painting by Antonio Jacobsen.
    2. Antonio Jacobsen was born in Denmark but made his journey to the United States in 1873, settling in New Jersey. His home overlooked the Hudson River where he watched ships arrive in New York Harbor from all around the world. Each ship had its own story of a journey from a faraway place. Jacobsen became a prolific maritime painter. He painted about 6,000 portraits of ships in the New York harbor between 1876 and 1919.
    3. Choose several Antonio Jacobsen ship paintings to share with students. Be certain to choose paintings that include the name of the ship. Have students work in small groups and use the internet to research information about the ship depicted in the painting. Have each group present their findings to the class.
    4. Have students create their own paintings of a ship using a watercolor painting with crayon resist.
    5. Students cover their work area with recycled newspaper. On a piece of construction or watercolor paper, students draw their ship sailing in the water with Crayola® Crayons. The lines drawn in crayon will “pop” through and resist the watercolor paint. This technique shows detail and creates texture in the painting.
    6. Fill in the ship and background using Crayola Washable Watercolors, Crayola Watercolor Pencils or a combination of both. Set the painting aside to dry overnight.
    7. Students complete the lesson by naming their ship and writing a short story about their ship’s journey.
  • Standards

    LA: Read with sufficient fluency and accuracy to support comprehension.

    LA: Ask and answer such questions as who, what, where, when, why, and how to demonstrate understanding of key details in a text.

    LA: Recount or describe key ideas or details from a text read aloud or information presented orally or through other media.

    LA: Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas and information clearly.

    MATH: Know relative sizes of measurement units within one system of units.

    SCI: Construct drawings or diagrams as representations of events or systems.

    SS: Identify and describe examples in which science and technology have changed the lives of people, such as in homemaking, childcare, work, transportation, and communication.

    SS: Compare and contrast different stories or accounts about past events, people, places, or situations, identifying how they contribute to our understanding of the past.

    SS: Locate and distinguish among varying landforms and geographic features, such as mountains, plateaus, islands, and oceans.

    VA: Use visual structures of art to communicate ideas.

    VA: Use different media, techniques, and processes to communicate ideas, experiences, and stories.

    VA: Identify specific works of art as belonging to particular cultures, times, and places.

  • Adaptations

    As a class, read the book Polar the Titanic Bear, by Daisy Corning Stone Spedden. It tells the true story of the infamous Titanic and its failed journey as told through the eyes of young boy’s teddy bear.

    Students identify other forms of transportation and their impact on history and culture. For example: •Space exploration •Railroad •Automobiles •Animals as transportation Research the mode of transportation and depict it in artwork. Write a factual, informative text to present to the class.

    Students research famous explorers and expeditions. For example: •Neil Armstrong’s flight to the moon •Lewis and Clark exploration of the west •Christopher Columbus searches for the new world •Amelia Earhart’s flight across the Atlantic Ocean What kind of transportation did they use on their famous expeditions? Students create artwork depicting a famous expedition featuring the transportation used.

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