North Dakota Government site North Dakota Tourism site

USS North Dakota: Eighth Grade Lesson - The Floating Community - Activity 2

Activity 2
  1. Debating the Evidence:

    Discuss the schools held on the ship for the enlisted men. Some of the questions that you might discuss are:
    • Were the lessons valuable to the men, or were they a waste of time?
    • Could anyone really make educational progress while studying only one hour and fifteen minutes a day?
    • Would education make better sailors (seamen), or would the enlisted men (seamen) want to get off the ship and get a better job before their enlistment was up?
    • Were the officers enthusiastic about educating the seamen?

    If people in your class hold different views on the education of enlisted men, you can have a debate. You must gather your evidence or facts, and develop a strong position or argument to defend your side of the debate. Debate the resolution by having one group take the affirmative (or accept the resolution) and another group take the negative (or disagree with the resolution): Resolved: Taking time for education aboard the USS North Dakota was beneficial to the officers and enlisted men of the ship.

  2. Analyzing the evidence:

    Historians interpret facts to explain the importance of events in the past. Two events on the North Dakota need more analysis. Spend some time thinking about one or both of these events and try to provide an explanation.
    • Crossing the Line celebration. Why is this celebration so important that ships’ crews have done this for centuries? What is the meaning of the costumed characters such as Davy Jones and King Neptune?
    • The fire on September 8, 1910. Three men died, six men were honored as heroes. The new ship was disabled. Why was this event an important news story in 1910? Is it just as important today?