Compare and Contrast: Sailors Eating and the Wardroom

Have your students view both the “Sailors Eating” and the “Wardroom” scenes in Explore Old Ironsides. Ask students to draw up a compare and contrast chart of their observations. In the wardroom, officers gathered to eat at a table, sat in chairs, and ate off china and crystal. They were served by a sailor assigned to them and could spend their own money on better provisions and drank wine with dinner. Sailors sat cross legged on the deck, ate food cooked in bulk and had more crowded conditions. Can students draw a parallel to different “ranks” at a school and their eating habits or locations?

Explore Old Ironsides and find Guerriere the Terrier!

Guerriere the Terrier, Lt Beekman Verplank Hoffman’s dog, appears in 11 scenes in Explore Old Ironsides! Find and locate him to win a reward, and then learn more about Guerriere the Terrier in our Family Activities. Show Flat Guerriere around your town and post your favorite photographs of him enjoying the local flavor to his Facebook page at Guerriere Terrier.

Geography & Creative Writing:
Where in the world is Guerriere?

Guerriere the terrier goes anywhere! Unlike sailors who were restricted from some areas of Constitution, Guerriere could wander all over the Ship; today he enjoys traveling. Ask students to choose a location they’d like to visit in the world and research it. If Guerriere visited, what might he experience? What would he see, do, taste? Have them write Guerriere’s travel journal entries from his trip!

Music in 1812

Officers and sailors enjoyed listening to music during their time off duty. Listen to some early American tunes with your students to help set the mood of your classroom to 1812. Older students might take on a research project in conjunction with their music class or musical extracurricular activities. For a list of popular songs of the time and suggestions of where to find them, see this list.

The Wardroom

Sitting down in their wardroom for dinner, Constitution's officers look just like gentlemen ashore dining in a good restaurant. Indeed, they eat far better than the seamen they command. They club together to buy fresh food, preserves and wines. Their servants act as cooks and waiters. These are not the only advantages of their rank. Ranged around the wardroom and nearby are officers' cabins. Though hardly more than cubicles, they provide privacy, a cot bed, and storage space.

Meet the Crew!

The wardroom was a private space for officers to eat together and each had his own cabin to sleep in. Visit Meet the Crew with your students and read about the different officers’ roles on board Constitution. Explore the scene to learn about the other ranks. Compare where the Lieutenants are located in the Meet the Crew chart with the ordinary and able seamen’s location. How many Lieutenants and other officers are there, and how many common sailors? For reference, compare the men who served aboard Constitution to the ranking system at your school. For example, the Captain is like the Principle, the Officers are like the teachers, and the common sailors are like the students.