Grade: all

#1801. Ahoy! Pirates

Social Studies, level: all
Posted Fri Jun 16 14:26:03 PDT 2000 by Marcia Goudie (
Set Sail on a Pirate Ship
Crescent Elementary, Suisun, California
Materials Required: assorted
Activity Time: varies
Concepts Taught: social studies, maping, folk heros

Ahoy! Pirates
WOW! a Pirate unit would be lots of fun for elementary students, but I was never sure how to connect it to curriculum standards (especially in this time of SAT9 stress).

The other day I thought about connecting lessons and found some ideas that were perfect.

Dig right in and help your students enjoy a wonderful bit of fun. This is a great unit to use at the end of the school year when educational interest wanes.

Pirate Unit Ideas

Integrated Unit Ideas
Grades: K-5 (choose and adjust the lessons for your students.

Those activities with a * meet one or more of California State Curriculum Standards for Second or Third Grade. Check to see if they meet any of your state standards. (

Social Science and Language Arts
* Have the children write a journal that will become their "ship's log."

* Interview an imaginary pirate. Let the children think up the questions that might include where he lived before he became a pirate, why he became one, and many more interesting ideas.

* Have the children help you produce a K-W-L chart about pirates.

* Students may do a research project on pirates. Find out what famous historical figures that fit the definition of pirate.

*Investigate the types of pirates that have existed throughout history. Give examples of each kind. Links-(

* Learn about a pirates' "code of conduct". Have your class create their own code. Using a Venn Diagram compare and contrast the two codes. Discuss why countries have rules and laws, and what happens to people who choose not to obey them. Discuss this same concept among pirates. Compare and contrast the consequences.
* Create an Illustrated Pirate Dictionary. (

* Learn about the vocabulary of pirates. Create a dictionary or other journal of these terms. Compare and contrast pirate terms and the terms used today. (

* Research clothing worn by pirates in the years after the colonization of the United States. Write a report, including illustrations, dioramas, or mobiles demonstrating what you found.

* Investigate and research the different kinds of ships used by pirates. Do pencil sketches of these ships; create a poster from magazines or other media.

* Read and make a book report from one of many fictional or factual books listed about pirates, pirate ships or pirate voyages. These reports could be oral, using art medium or using technology (such as a Kid Pix or Hyperstudio slide show).

* Working alone or with team write a play or puppet show staring pirates. Give this play for your class, or another class.

*Learn about how to read maps. Investigate where pirates have lived in the world. Illustrate a world map including these places. Label oceans, continents, and landforms. Make sure you have key items on your map that will allow others to understand and read it. (

* Do more mapping activities. (, (
 Design your own deserted island. Include water and food sources for a pirate to use for existence. Include X marks the spot where your pirate buried his treasure.

Create a pirate flag for your special pirate, using original designs.
 Learn about the lifestyle of pirates. (
 Attend sailor's School- (
 Learn sailor's knots- (

Design a pirate costume or hat, making it either authentic or imaginary. Use recyclable materials.

*Create a wanted poster for your pirate or an historical pirate. Research carefully what they would have looked like, and what important details wanted posters included.

*Create some foods. (

*Research pirate clothing and create a mobile of these items.

* Research pirate weapons, ships or pirate music. Write a report, create a mobile or mural demonstrating what you have learned.

* Learn about pirate chanties. Using a tape recorder, sing some of these chanties and perform them for you classmates.

*Learn about pirate treasures. Discover the coins that were lost. Compare and contrast the value of coins from the times of pirates to current times.( Design your own pirate coin.
* Great pirate links, including lesson plans for Treasure Island and other "pirate themed books" -(

Pirate Dictionary
pirate- To make an attempt, or to complete an attack on a ship. A thief of the seas, or oceans. Violence used to steal (by force) the property of another vessel in order to steal gold/treasure.
privateer- An armed vessel sailing under the commission of a sovereign power against the enemy.
buccaneer- A piratical adventurer of the sea. A person who plunders at the sea, or land from the sea.
mariner- One whose responsibility it is to help in navigating a vessel.
merchant ship- A ship that is involved in trade/commerce. A cargo ship.
galleon- A large square masted vessel of the 1500's used for war, or commerce.
booty- Goods obtained illegally. Spoils obtained as a result of war or battle.
bounty- Reward or payment, usually from a government, for the capture of a criminal.
loot- Gold, money, or other goods obtained illegally
plunder- The act of pillaging or robbery.
cutlass- A short, heavy, single edged sword, once used predominantly by sailors.
mutiny- To rise against authority, particularly a naval or military power.
maroon-to isolate. Sailors would leave mutinous shipmates on deserted islands, without any means of survival.
jolly roger- Typically a black flag bearing drawn white bones; indicates a pirate ship
Great Books on Pirates
When I began to gather materials for my pirate unit, I went online to my local public library. I was astonished at how many books they had listed for children. So, I ordered them up to review. I then went to my second best source, and looked around there for books..I found tons. I also checked the Amazon Auction. I found quite a few...and here are some of the covers to entice your interest.

Here is the list of books on my "great choices".
 Pirates by Gail Gibbons
 Pirates Past Noon by Mary Pope Osborne
 Edward and the Pirates by David McPhail
 The Trouble with Uncle by Babette Cole
 Craft Topics-Pirates by Rachel Wright
 Grace the Pirate by Kathyrn Lasky
 Wild Will by Ingrid and Dieter Schubert
 Pirates by Dina Anastasio
 Do Pirates Take Baths? by Kathy Tucker
 Pirates: Robbers of the High Seas
 Pirate School by Cathy East Dubowski
 The Great Pirate Activity Book by Deri Robins
One of the best pirate books I have found is The World of the Pirate by Val Garwood.

Pirate Books for the older set-
Pirate's Promise by Clyde Bulla
Captain Butcher's Body by Scott Corbett
The Ghost in the Noonday Sun by Sid Fleischman
Pirate Queen by Patricia Reilly Giff
Amy's Eyes by Richard Kennedy
The Great Piratical Rumbustification by Margaret Mahy
The Pirate's Mixed-Up Voyage by Margaret Mahy
Captain Abdul's Pirate School by Colin McNaughton
The Mysterious Voyage of Captain Kidd by A.B.C. Whipple
The Ballad of the Pirate Queens by Jane Yolen

Yummy Pirate Treats

One great thing about teaching kindergarden (and preschool) is that you can intregrate all kinds of foods into the curriculum. In The Great Pirate Activity Book by Deri Robins I found has some super food activities...I customized them to my liking and here they are.

Scuvy Medication-
Pirates looked for as many citrus products as they could find to prevent Scurvy. This is treated with Vitamin C..
Grind up the rind of lemons and oranges. Squeeze the juice of some lemons and oranges to make a tasty drink.(you might need to add a little sugar if it becomes tart)

Treasure Chests-
Chocolate mini-rolls, jelly beans or M&M's. Cut each mini-roll in half. Put a few pieces of candy inside and replace the top!

Hard Tack-
Buy some chocolate chip cookies and pretend the chips are weevils!

Pirate Jewels-
Cut some thread into 14-inch lengths. Using a needle string on chunks of cheese, apple, pineapple, grapes, pretzels and much more. Have a feast.

Pirate boats-
Toast some bagel halves. Butter or top with cream cheese, jam or melted cheese. Use American cheese slices for a mast by securing them on a tooth pick. Or you can have the children cut out sails from paper and decorate them with their names.

Tropical Boats-
Cut several oranges, saving the skin in halves. Blend up the orange bits and mix into orange jello. Set the jello mixture into the orange peel halves to set.

California State Standards- Third Grade

Language Arts-Listening and Speaking
1.1 Retell, paraphrase, and explain what has been said by a speaker.
1.10 Compare ideas and points of view expressed in broadcast and print media.
1.11 Distinguish between the speaker's opinions and verifiable facts.
1.2 Connect and relate prior experiences, insights, and ideas to those of a speaker.
1.5 Organize ideas chronologically or around major points of information.
1.6 Provide a beginning, a middle, and an end, including concrete details that develop a central idea.
1.7 Use clear and specific vocabulary to communicate ideas and establish the tone.
1.8 Clarify and enhance oral presentations through the use of appropriate props (e.g., objects, pictures, charts).
1.9 Read prose and poetry aloud with fluency, rhythm, and pace, using appropriate intonation and vocal patterns to emphasize important passages of the text being read.
2.1a Make brief narrative presentations that provide a context for an incident that is the subject of the presentation.
2.1b Make brief narrative presentations that provide insight into why the selected incident is memorable.
2.3 Make descriptive presentations that use concrete sensory details to set forth and support unified impressions of people, places, things, or experiences.

1.6 Use sentence and word context to find the meaning of unknown words.
1.7 Use a dictionary to learn the meaning and other features of unknown words.
2.5 Distinguish the main idea and supporting details in expository text.
2.6 Extract appropriate and significant information from the text, including problems and solutions.
3.1 Distinguish common forms of literature (e.g., poetry, drama, fiction, nonfiction).
3.2 Comprehend basic plots of classic fairy tales, myths, folktales, legends, and fables from around the world.
3.3 Determine what characters are like by what they say or do and by how the author or illustrator portrays them.

1.1a Create a single paragraph by developing a topic sentence.
1.1b Create a single paragraph by including simple supporting facts and details.
1.2 Write legibly in cursive or joined italic, allowing margins and correct spacing between letters in a word and words in a sentence.
2.2 Write descriptions that use concrete sensory details to present and support unified impressions of people, places, things, or experiences.

History-Social Science
3.1.1 Students describe the physical and human geography and use maps, tables, graphs, photographs, and charts to organize information about people, places and environments in a spatial context by identifying geographical features found in their local region (e.g., deserts, mountains, valleys, hills, coastal areas, oceans, lakes).
3.1.2 Students describe the physical and human geography and use maps, tables, graphs, photographs, and charts to organize information about people, places and environments in a spatial context by tracing the ways in which people have used the resources of the local region and modified the physical environment.