Constitution's maintop was like a swaying, tree-top fortress when battle began. The ship's bravest Marines fought from here, aiming to pick off enemy seamen with musket fire. Fixed around the main mast some fifty feet above the deck, the maintop was half the width of a tennis court. It felt much smaller when it was crowded with Marines, and with seamen knotting and splicing rigging damaged by enemy cannon fire.
Marines were stationed approximately 85' to 90' above the spar deck of Constitution during battle. How high is that, exactly? With this Lesson Plan, work with your students on a sunny day to discover the height of a tree or a flagpole through its shadow (and then compare the height to where Marines were stationed on the Maintop in Battle). There’s no end to this lesson! Use distance and real space to see how high and how much room these Marines had to operate (the Maintop’s width was half the size of a tennis court). Can they imagine keeping their balance and taking aim atop a rolling ship…while being fired at?