All Hands on Deck: Learning Adventures Aboard Old Ironsides
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  Historical Background on USS Constitution
USS ConstitutionUSS Constitution is the oldest commissioned warship afloat in the world. Carrying a crew of 450 men and over 50 guns, she was launched in 1797 to protect America's freedom on the seas. She was undefeated against the British in the War of 1812 and earned the nickname "Old Ironsides" when a sailor saw a cannon ball bounce off her thick, wooden hull during battle. When she was declared unseaworthy in 1828, she was saved by the American people who rallied for her preservation. After a long career, including capturing a slave ship, circumventing the globe, and serving as a military prison, she is now berthed in Boston and is open to the public. For more information, go to,, and


First Watch of the Day Aboard USS Constitution
The crew on board the USS Constitution started the day at noon. They worked in 4 hour shifts, called "watches." A member of the crew rang the ship's bell every half hour to signal the passing of time. Because there were no clocks on board, a half-hour glass was used. Each half hour that passed was recognized by adding on another ring of the bell. At 12:30 there would be one bell and at 1:00 there would be two bells.

After completing this lesson, students will be able to:
  1. Tell time at quarter-hour intervals using a.m. and p.m.
  2. Compare both decks as to their length, width, perimeter and approximate area.

Massachusetts Math Curriculum Frameworks
Grade 3 Learning Standards: Data Analysis, Statistics and Probability; Measurement
Students engage in problem solving, communicating, reasoning, connecting, and representing as they:
  2.D.2 Organize, classify, represent and interpret data using tallies, charts and tables.
  2.M.1 Identify parts of the day (e.g., morning, afternoon, evening), days of the week, and months of the year. Identify dates using a calendar.
  2.M.2 Tell time at quarter-hour intervals on analog and digital clocks using a.m. and p.m.
  4.M.3 Identify time to the minute on analog and digital clocks using a.m. and p.m. Compute elapsed time using a clock (e.g., hours and minutes since…) and using a calendar (e.g., days since…).
  4.D.3 Construct, draw conclusions, and make predictions from various representations of data sets, including tables, bar graphs, pictographs, line graphs, line plots, and tallies.

  Worksheet (pdf): Computing Time and Creating a Schedule
  Manipulative: analog clock

Given information about the actual USS Constitution crew's first watch of the day as well as a pretend schedule, the student will be able to interpret, draw conclusions, and make predictions to complete the given tables as well as solve the given elapsed time problems.

Rubric for Evaluation and Analysis
The student will display knowledge of the necessary mathematical reasoning skills to correctly solve math problems involving data analysis and the measurement of time related to the study of the USS Constitution.
  3 The student displays knowledge of the necessary mathematical reasoning skills by solving the problem with the correct (appropriate) answer.
  2 The student displays knowledge of the necessary mathematical reasoning skills but solves the problem with an incorrect (inappropriate) answer.
  1 The student attempts to solve the problem but is unable to display the knowledge of the necessary mathematical reasoning skills.
  0 The student does not attempt to solve the problem.

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