Marine or Sailor?
Benefits and Statistics

With your students, compare and contrast a sailor’s duties onboard Constitution to that of a Marine’s. What were the pros & cons of each position? What were the dangers in being a Marine and a sailor? What was the pay difference? Have students choose a sailor or a Marine and then write a persuasive essay persuading a friend to join Constitution as a sailor or enlist in the Marines during the War of 1812. Why would you choose one over the other?

To the Beat of Your Own Drum

Marines exercised to the beat of a drum; certain numbers of beats required Marines to perform specific actions. View this drum from the USS Constitution Museum’s learning collection and then have your students create their own drum in this activity. You can learn more about how certain sounds communicated messages to Marines and sailors on Constitution at the annotated “Quarterdeck” scene.

Make your Own Marine Hat

Follow the directions for this craft activity to make your own Marine hat. Use our search feature to find other craft activites, like Make a Captain’s Hat, and create your own props for suggested skits throughout the Annotated Scenes of Explore Old Ironsides.

Teaching with Objects: Musket

Marines exercised, or drilled, with their muskets. Learn more about the musket and its purpose with an artifact from our collections. Muskets from the 19th century are fairly common in museums. Do you have a local history museum in the area? Find the museum online and perhaps take a field trip with your students to visit. You might be able to see a musket in person with your students. Watch the Marines in action at the Maintop in Battle.

Marines Exercising

In battle, Constitution's Marines fired on the enemy with muskets. These guns were loaded with a lead ball and enough gun-powder to fire it, wrapped in a paper "cartridge". Marines bit off the top, and tipped a little powder into the gun's pan. They poured the rest and the ball down the yard-long barrel, ramming it home with a rod. A badly-loaded gun would not fire, so Marines drilled until they could almost do it in their sleep.

Drill Like a Marine: An Active Exercise

Teach your students to drill like a Marine, with directions of body movements they used - a great way to practice following directions! This Marine Drill is like a game of Simon Says. If you are interested in a similar game, try the sailorís version called Captainís Coming.