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How to
Use the Activities


Inquiry Question

Historical Context




Table of

Putting It All Together

The following activities will help demonstrate to students the need for the establishment of the United States Lifesaving Service and the important role it played in our history

Activity 1: Shipwrecks and Rescues
Divide the class into groups of three or four. Have each group write a short story about a shipwreck that could have occurred along North Carolina's Outer Banks during the late 19th century. Students should try to emphasize details about the ship, cargo, crew, and the circumstances of the wreck--weather, location, and so on. Randomly distribute these stories so that each group receives another group's story. Each group must then write a lifesaving rescue report to match that shipwreck story. Corresponding wreck and rescue accounts can then be read to the class and discussed.

Activity 2: Beach Patrol
This activity simulates one of the most important duties a surfman had to perform: accurately reporting shipwreck details to the Keeper of the station. Divide the class into equal groups, and assign each group a separate area of the room to serve as their "station." Each group should elect a Keeper and assign numbers to the crew members or surfmen. All of the students who are designated Surfman #1 then step forward, walk a "patrol" once around the room, then report to the teacher, who will show them a sheet of information stating (a) the weather (clear, rain, snow, fog, etc.), (b) the type of ship in distress (schooner, steamship, warship, passenger liner, etc.), (c) the distance the wreck is from shore (in hundreds of yards), and (d) how many people were spotted aboard. The surfmen must memorize this information as best they can in 30 seconds and then return around the room to their station and report to their Keeper, who will record the information. Proceed with the Surfmen #2's, Surfmen #3's, and so on until all have participated. Put the data from each Keeper's log on the blackboard and have students assess the accuracy of the recorded information. Hold a general classroom discussion of what the students have learned about the lifesavers' complex job.

Activity 3: Today's Lifesavers
Arrange for the class to visit a local fire station (or Coast Guard station if possible). Have students prepare a list of questions to ask a member of the rescue team about lifesaving procedures and training as well as about the history of the station building and how the space is used by the rescue personnel. After the visit, hold a classroom discussion about how modern lifesaving procedures and conditions differ from those encountered by lifesavers of the U.S.L.S.S.

Alternatively, have students research details of a fire station call or Coast Guard rescue from the local newspaper and discuss similarities and differences of rescue by members of the U.S.L.S.S. and lifesavers of today.



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