The USS Constitution Museum is committed to providing educators with resources to share the story and legacy of “Old Ironsides” and her crew.
On this page, our Education team has compiled Educator Resource Kits, containing primary sources, lesson plans, and classroom or at-home activities, organized by major themes. Nearly any subject can be connected to USS Constitution and we hope that these kits provide engaging and educational content for educators and students.
Below you will find kits assembled around key themes related to USS Constitution: Design and Construction, Life at Sea, Meet the Crew, the War of 1812, and USS Constitution’s Legacy.
We recommend pairing any of these resources with a visit to the Museum’s interactive A Sailor’s Life for Me website, a Virtual Tour of USS Constitution powered by Google Maps, or the Museum’s Orientation Film for an overview of all USS Constitution has to offer educators and learners.
Design and Construction
In 1797, USS Constitution was built intentionally for speed and strength. And the Ship is still here today! Explore the resources and activities in this kit for learning about how the Ship sails and the design choices made during construction and launch.
Construction & Launch
- Constructing a Warship: Simple Machines & Basic Science (Grades 1-5)
- Which is Bigger, Constitution or Your School? (Grades 5-8)
- Calculating Area and Volume (Grades 5-8)
- Design a Figurehead (Grades 9-12)
- Puzzling Constitution’s Orlop Deck
- Constructing Constitution Activity
Sailing USS Constitution
Museum Object Collections
- Construction and Launch Museum Object Collection: This page contains primary source objects and documents directly related to the construction and launch of the Ship.
- USS Constitution Plans: See detailed plans of USS Constitution drawn for the United States Navy from the Ship’s initial construction in 1794 to subsequent restorations, as recent as 2010.
Museum Blog Posts
- Construction and Launch Museum Object Collection: Explore Museum blog posts related to the construction and launch of USS Constitution. Posts are written by the Museum’s historians, curators, and educators.
Life at Sea
Life aboard an 1812-era warship was both routine and thrilling. From the tedious task of scrubbing the decks, to the high-energy moments of battle, these resources explore the daily life of a USS Constitution sailor.
- Coopers on Constitution: Building a Barrel (Grades 2-5)
- Sailors Telling Time: Half Hour Glass (Grades 3-5)
- Making a Compass (Grades 4-6)
- Working Music: Sea Chanties and Call & Response Poetry (Grades 5-10)
- How to be a Great Navigator (Grades 6-8)
- Sea Superstitions (Grades 7-12)
- Build a Simple Sextant
- Drill Like a Marine
- 1812-era Dice Game
- Flat Guerriere
- How Many Sailors Can Sleep at the Same Time?
- Captain’s Coming
- Brave Little Sailors: Sharing Stories (Grades PreK-K)
- Marines on the Main Top (Grades 5-8)
- Build an Alka-Seltzer Cannon (Grades 5-8)
- Reloading Relay (Grades 6-8)
- Gun Drill Team Building (Grades 5-10)
- Powder Passing Relay
- Classroom Skit on Constitution vs. Guerriere
- Cannonball Competition
Injury and Illness
- Medicine in 1812 (Grades 1-5)
- Injury and Illness Aboard Naval Ships (Grades 4-8)
- Puzzling Vocabulary: 1812 Naval Medicine Crossword Puzzle
Food and Diet
- A Sailor’s Diet in Weights and Measures (Grades 4-7)
- Eat Your Fruits and Vegetables
- Guess the Ingredient
- Feeding 480 Mouths: Traditional 1812 Recipes
- Life at Sea Museum Blog Post Collection
- Daily Routine at Sea
- Quotes about the Chore of Holystoning
- Regimen for Victory
- Herman Melville on a Ship’s Hammocks
Injury and Illness
Food and Meals
Meet the Crew
During the War of 1812, USS Constitution‘s crew was made up of 450 – 500 men with diverse backgrounds. The USS Constitution Museum has conducted years of research into the lives of the individuals who served on board the Ship throughout history. Explore the resources and content developed from that research below, and compare the lives of historical crew to those of the active duty men and women who serve on board USS Constitution today.
- Crew Ranks & Rates
- Commanders of USS Constitution
- Crew Profile Database
- Crew Hierarchy Chart
- Marine Private vs. Able Seaman Comparison Chart
- Black Sailors
- Meet Today’s Crew
- Women Making Waves
- Horace B. Sawyer Album
- A Love Letter for Minerva
- A Miniature Middy
- When Irish Eyes are Sailing
- From the Desk of Marine
- The Face (and stuff) of John Lord
- Freedom by Positive Proof: Two Tales of Sailors in the Old South
- Boy, Oh, Boys
- Captain Isaac Hull
- Surgeon Amos Evans
- Lieutenant Beekman Verplanck Hoffman
- Boatswain Peter Adams
- Purser Thomas Chew
- Cook William Long
- Midshipman Pardon Mawney Whipple
- Marine Lt. William Sharp Bush
- Able Seaman Richard Dunn
- Able Seamen John and Joseph Cheever
- Ordinary Seaman Jesse Williams
- Ordinary Seaman William Cooper
- Dorthea Cooper
- Ordinary Seaman Moses Smith
- Ordinary Seaman John Wentworth
- Gunner John Lord
- Sarah Clear
- Boy David Debias
War of 1812
USS Constitution made her mark during the War of 1812 as part of a new Navy formed to protect American crews and interests abroad. Explore the resources in this kit to learn more about Ship’s three major engagements with British vessels, as well as the causes and outcomes of the war.
War of 1812 Lesson Plans
- Draw What you Hear (Grades K-4)
- Victory in the News (Grades 5-8)
- Eyewitness Account (Grades 5-8)
- Personal Observation (Grades 9-12)
- What a Glorious/Tragic Day (Grades 9-12)
War of 1812 Activities
War of 1812 Primary Sources
- War of 1812 Museum Object Collection
- Escaping a British Squadron Museum Object Collection
- Battle with HMS Guerriere Museum Object Collection
- Battle with HMS Java Museum Object Collection
- Battle with HMS Cyane and HMS Levant Museum Object Collection
- Commander Isaac Hull Museum Object Collection
- Commander William Bainbridge Museum Object Collection
- Battle Quotes for Analysis and Creative Writing
USS Constitution's Legacy
USS Constitution has endured as a national symbol for over 200 years. Explore theses resources to learn about the legacy of America’s Ship of State, from roles served after the War of 1812 to restoration work that keeps the Ship afloat today.
Camp Constitution: Virtual Edition
The Museum is bring summer camp to you this year. This days-worth of activities follows a day in the life of a historic sailor on USS Constitution. It is an engaging mix of outdoor games, virtual games, hands-on activities and videos that you can easily use with your campers, summer learners, or family.
Camp Constitution: Virtual Edition is supported by a National Endowment for the Humanities CARES Act Grant.