Wednesday sees the anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic 103 years ago. At 11.40pm on the night of 14 April 1912, en route to New York and on her maiden voyage, the RMS Titanic struck the iceberg that would ultimately lead to her sinking less than 3 hours later. Out of over 2,200 people on board, approximately 700 lived to tell the tale.
Our Fractions Experience takes place aboard the Titanic and brings the disaster to life. Use our Fractions Experience as a point of historical inquiry, inspire literacy, or as a creative way to practice fractions in context. In this experience your class will use maths to work out; which deck they should hide on as a stowaway, if there are enough lifeboats and how many people can fit in each lifeboat and the numbers of dead and survivors. Have a listen here. Allen Gross, Y6 Teacher at Chisenahle Primary, told us that, for his class, being in the Fractions Experience, aboard the Titanic, “really helped them to understand. I was then able to build on this back in the classroom and what’s more, the entire class were having fun doing fractions”.
If you want to know how it might have felt to have been on the Titanic, here are just a few of the survivor’s stories:
Laura Mabel Francatelli, a 30-year old secretary from London, reflected on the dramatic arrival of the rescue ship Carpathia: “Oh at daybreak, when we saw the lights of that ship, about 4 miles away, we rowed like mad, & passed icebergs like mountains, at last about 6:30 the dear Carpathia picked us up, our little boat was like a speck against that giant. Then came my weakest moment, they lowered a rope swing, which was awkward to sit on, with my life preserver ’round me. Then they hauled me up, by the side of the boat. Can you imagine, swinging in the air over the sea, I just shut my eyes & clung tight saying ‘Am I safe,?’ at last I felt a strong arm pulling me onto the boat…. ”
Mr. Chas. Burgess, second class baker of the Titanic recalled that: “We had just had supper when we felt a slight shock, we took no further notice and went on working. The bread was due out of the oven then and we got it out, and I then prepared the oven for the scones. I proceeded to put the butter in to melt for the corn bread which the American passengers are fond of. No sooner had I done this when the order came, ‘All hands on deck; bring your lifebelts.’ I was proceeding up to the boat deck when I remembered the butter, and, thinking it might melt too much and catch alight, I returned and took it out, placing it on a cold stove.”
John Thayer It was the desperate cries for help that haunted John “Jack” Thayer. The shouts from those thrown into the icy water swelled into “one long continuous wailing chant”, noted the teenager. “It sounded like locusts on a midsummer night in the woods. This terrible cry lasted for twenty or thirty minutes, gradually dying away, as one after another could no longer withstand the cold and exposure.”
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