Lesson Plan

Post-Visit Activity: I Want to be Captain!

girl at wheel
Taking a turn at the helm.


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Grade Level:
Third Grade-Fifth Grade
Commerce and Industry, Economics, Entrepreneurs, Geography, Government, Hispanic or Latino American History and Culture, History, Maritime History, Science and Technology, Social Studies, Transportation, War of 1812
60-90 minutes
Group Size:
Up to 36
National/State Standards:
Massachusetts Grade 3: Concepts and Skills
History and Geography 2, 3
Economics 9
Learning Standards 3.9, 3.13

Grade 5: Concepts and Skills
Economics 12, 13, 14
Learning Standards 5.11, 5.33


In “I Want to be Captain!” students create a persuasive writing piece to convince a ship owner that they will be a great captain.  Using what they have learned, students will do pre-writing activities to create tools and reflections that will prepare them for successful writing.  They will take on a “role” and write persuasively to an intended audience.  Such writing practices high-level thinking, organizing, and writing skills. The lesson, for grades 3-5 will take 60-90 minutes to complete.


Students will be able to:

  • Explain how maritime trade in Salem enabled some mariners to have social mobility,
  • Describe how mariner's responsibilities changed as work changed.
  • Explain the importance of maritime commerce in the development of the nation.




Resource:Duties of the Crew aboard Vessels like Friendship of Salem



1. Informal teacher observation of the activity in progress.

2. Informal checking for understanding during classroom discussion.

3. Students will submit a rough draft of their letter for review.

4. Students will write and submit a final version of the letter.

Park Connections


The purpose of Salem Maritime National Historic Site is to promote the maritime history of New England and the United States, and preserve part of the historic waterfront in Salem, Massachusetts. Together, this collection of wharves and buildings tell the story of the development of colonial port towns, the importance of international trade to the early economy of the United States, and the connection between maritime trade and growing industrialization.



Additional Resources

Resource: Biography of Samuel Upton

Last updated: February 26, 2015