Nautical Voyages as a Learning Metaphor

  Paddle Voyageur



"Tomorrow, our voyage will become a memory,
but the fascination of these hazardous steps in the drama of human endeavour is,
I hope, only a prologue...for like Ulysses, my purpose holds
to sail beyond the sunsets and the paths of all the western stars
and in the end to say I am part of all that I have met" -- explorer Amos Burg, 1938

Built around a core project of building an actual boat, these elementary-level class activities integrate history, ecology, literature, drama, music, geometry, trigonometry, chemistry, physics, practical life skills, and physical education as we take advantage of our unique Alaskan setting.

Using the metaphor of a nautical voyage we will:

The materials we use to build our boats will lead us to a study of forest ecology, which we will study from both modern scientific and traditional Tlingit perspectives.

Using life-size models of our boats as props, we will use drama to explore historical and practical life voyages.

In the classroom, we will use the design of our boats to explore geometry, trigonometry, and physics.

Using libraries and museums, students will write a research paper on an historical or current voyage of their choosing, emphasizing cultural contrasts.

In the pool, we will learn boating safety and cold water survival skills.

Finally, we will launch our boats out into the ocean, in a community celebration.



The Concept (Organized by Setting):

Boatbuilding: An Integrated Interdisciplinary Approach for the Elementary School Classroom

Back to Fritz's Boat Page

Contact:  Fritz Funk (