Do you live somewhere near the East Coast? If the answer is yes, then you’ve probably heard of OpSail (Operation Sail). This year was the first time our family attended, and what a wonderful surprise it was. Not only were the ships amazing and crew very friendly… but we got a geography lesson out of it too!
We saw ships from here in the local area, and from as far away as Indonesia. We happened to visit around dinner time and many of the ships had crew members cooking. My boys were able to not only see the difference between the ships from many countries, but smell it too. We discussed how the food smelled different because the crew from those countries used different spices. We especially noticed a difference between the smell of the Colombian Tall ship and the Indonesian Tall Ship. Both smelled yummy though and I wished we could have feasted with them!
If you have the opportunity to visit an OpSail I highly recommend it. I suggest you wear flats. I saw quite a few women in super high heels trying to walk up and down the steep planks they use to enter and exit. Not cool! I thought for sure they were going to fall.
Be sure to ask the crew how long it took them to get from their home countries to your location. The Indonesian sailor my husband spoke to told him it took 4 months to make the journey. WOW!
We took pictures of each ship we visited, making sure to capture what country they were from. We will be using those pictures this coming school year to show the boys where the ships came from on a world map. I might let them hypothesize about which route the ships may have taken. For route planning I suggest you use a globe, as what seems like a straight line on a flat map isn’t a straight line on a round earth.— This is a great way to illustrate to your student the difficulty Cartographers face when trying to represent the round earth on a flat map.
Be sure to talk to your children about the different languages spoken in those countries. This may spark interest in learning a foreign language.
Oh and my favorite ship was the one from Colombia – they gave way free Coffee!!!!