All Hands on Deck: Learning Adventures Aboard Old Ironsides
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USS Constitution, Johnson

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Chain of Command
Putting objects in order

To familiarize students with some of the different positions and titles of the crew, ask them to color and cut out the Crew Cards. The cards indicate who are the officers, warrant officers, petty officers, lesser petty officers, seamen, boys and marines. The word “petty” comes from the French, petit, or small. The lesser petty officers had a specific trade skill or greater responsibility than the seamen. Explain that chain of command is the order of authority in an organization. To introduce students to the concept of rank, ask them to sort their cards into piles according to the number of stars on the face of the card. Then have them arrange their piles (some “piles” will have only one card) in descending order from left to right and lay out the cards in columns so they can read each one. Explain that the people highest in rank are in the columns on the left descending to the lowest rate on the right.

You might check students’ understanding of rank by playing a game. Ask students if the cook can tell the carpenter what to do. Have the first student who gives the right answer make up a similar question and go around the room.

Part 1
Crew Cards (front) (pdf)

Part 2 (continued)
Crew Cards (front) (pdf)

Have on Hand- scissors, crayons and photocopies of "Crew Cards"


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