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Week 17: Blowing in the Wind

[ View the related 'Weekly Post': Week 17: Blowing in the Wind ]

Our ships are making steady progress this week and all three captains’ report favourable wind conditions. We will take a closer look at the role the wind plays in our journeys and how it is measured, described and harnessed to keep our ships sailing in the right direction.


Scene: sunday before a hard gale

scudding  before a hard gale. Edward Snell, 1849

Inquiry Questions:

Find evidence in this week’s journal entries of the important role the wind plays in the voyages?

How is language used to describe and measure the wind?

How do the captains of each ship measure the wind direction and speed and use this information to sail their ships?

Research Topics:

Consider the role that sailing has played in the development of civilisation. How has the ability to sail impacted  on fishing, trade, exploration, transport and warfare?

How have humans endeavoured to harness the power of the wind over time?

How do sailors use their knowledge and understanding of the wind to power and guide their vessels?

Historical Skills:

Chronology, terms and concepts                                  Create a time-line to show the development of the windmill over time? Consider the purposes people have had for building and using windmills to create power. How has technology impacted on windmills over time?                      
Historical Questions and research Develop inquiry questions to find out how sailing has changed over time. What were the first sailing ships like and where were they used? What developments have impacted on sailing ships over time?
Analysis and use of sources Use internet search engines and libraries to find examples of different types of sailing ships. Compare sailing ships from different parts of the world and different times in history.
Perspectives and interpretations

Examine how the captains of our three ships describe the wind this week. Can you use descriptive language to covey the same message?

Why have they recorded the information in this way? Who are they recording it for and why? If the captains were writing a letter home to their families would they talk about the wind in the same way?

Explanation and communication Imagine you are a marketing executive and you have been asked to sell the wind. Design an advertising campaign to promote the wind as a useful, economical, powerful and sustainable commodity.

Activity Suggestions:

1. In this week’s journals we hear the wind described as ’clever, squally, hazy, moderate and strong’. What do you think the wind conditions would be like to have been  described in these ways? Brainstorm other words that could be used to describe the wind. Use these words to write a cinquain poem about the wind. 

2. What is wind and how is it produced? Brainstorm your ideas and then do some research to find out.

3. Find out how wind energy is used to generate electricity with this role play. Produce your own role play to demonstrate an understanding of how wind is used to power sailing boats

4. Find out how wind farms are planned, built and operated and consider the pros and cons for farming wind.

5. Play these games to think about how wind direction and wind force affects our daily lives.

6. Conduct an experiment by using the wind to fly a kite. Design and build a kite in small groups. Test the kites in an open space away from trees and power lines. What conclusions can you draw from this? Write a list of factors that make a kite fly more successfully?

6. Find out about the Beaufort Wind Scale

In small groups, discuss the following:

-          Why is it important to have an understanding of wind conditions?

-          What terms are used to describe wind speed?

-          Which level on the Beaufort scale would be ideal for the 3 vessels that we read about his week?  Remember to look at the size of each vessel when making your decision.

Share conclusions with the rest of the class.

7.Build a winch that uses wind power to lift objects.

What if?


What if the ships were leaving England in 1936 or 2011? What types of ships would they have been? How would the captains have measured and described the wind?  How important would recording the wind conditions be if the ship was powered by steam?


What do you think?


Consider this statement and form your own opinion:

Wind is a free source of power and should be used to generate all of our electricity.


Stay Tuned


Next week we take a look at what it is like to live on board our ships. How do people sleep, eat, play, work, learn and even go to the toilet on board our ships?




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