Lesson Plan

Life and Times of the Lighthouse Keeper

Cape Lookout Light Station circa 1913

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Grade Level:
Second Grade
Architecture (Building Styles and Methods), Career Studies, Civil War, Colonial History, Commerce and Industry, Community, Engineering, Family Life, Geography, Geology, Government, History, Maritime History, Science and Technology, Women's History
60 minutes for each session
Group Size:
Up to 24 (4-8 breakout groups)
National/State Standards:
2.G.1.1, 2.G.1.2, 2.G.2.1, 2.G.2.2, 2.C&G.2.1, and 2.C&G.2.2


Students will put themselves in the shoes of Lighthouse Keepers and Life-Saving Surfmen as they learn about the lives of these coastal heroes.


The learner will be able to:

• Identify some of the duties and daily ac tivities of lighthouse keepers.
• Understand the difference between wants and needs in relation to survival on the coast.
• Understand some of the rules for keeping a lighthouse working and the consequences for breaking those rules both for the keeper and for sailors.


Pre-Site Visit Activities: TEACHER COMPLETED

Knowledge Assessment (in post-site materials)

Introduction to Lighthouses
• What is a lighthouse?
• Why do we have lighthouses?

Keep the Lights Burning, Abbie Activity
• Introduce the story by reading the "A Note from the Authors" section
• Read Keep the Lights Burning Abbie to the class
• Use the discussion points on the activity sheet to ask basic questions.
• Building the Lighthouse Activity
• Borrow Cape Lookout's lighthouse building blocks or use the cutout to create your own
• In groups of 3, have students build their own Cape Lookout

Lighthouse Coloring Page

On-Site Visit Activities: RANGER COMPLETED

Day 1

Differences in North Carolina's Lighthouses
The Dangers of Lookout Shoals and the Whole Carolina Coast
Rules, Consequences, and Keepers

Day 2 and Day 3

Lives of Lighthouse Keepers and Families
Lighthouse Keepers vs. Life-Saving Surfmen
Story Time: Keeper in the 1800s (Ranger will be dressed as a Keeper)
You Be the Keeper - Photo Opportunity

Post-Site Visit Activities: TEACHER COMPLETED

Knowledge Assessment

Life-Saving Service Coloring Sheet

Rescue on the Outer Banks Activity

Discussion Points

• The photo opportunity shows a man as a keeper, but women were keepers, too.
o Charlotte Mason was Cape Lookout's only female keeper, but …
o Wives, daughters, and sons all helped with the keeper's duties
• The U.S. Life-Saving Service symbol meant rescue to many shipwreck victims
o What might mean rescue to people today?
o What means rescue to you?
• Why were the crew members in the story "Rescue on the Outer Banks" not awarded metals during their lifetimes?
o Were these crew members heroes before they got their metals?
o What makes someone a hero?