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News Article about EEC

“After a day of sailing a 17th-century tall ship, making maps and transforming raw jute into three-strand rope, even armchair sailors get hungry.”

The following is an exerpt from an article published in the February 2001 issue of Pacific Yachting. It was titled “Classroom Cuisine” and written by Dyan Dunsmoor-Farley.

I met a group of sailors recently who appeared to have done it all. Not only had they built a 17th-century tall ship, but they had sailed it to Japan, China, Mesopotamia, Greece, Italy and Peru. No matter that it was an imaginary trip; it had the feel, colour and taste of the real thing. Swahbuckling sailors wearing bandannas showed me their ship’s layout, described their days at sea – from captain to cook – and even fed me the local cuisine.

Roger Aubin’s grade six and seven classes had definitely been places, even if only through research – on-line and the old-fashioned way with books! Every square inch of their classroom at Craigflower Elementary was festooned with maps of the 17th century world, scale drawings of the interior and exterior of wooden vessels that plied the open seas three centuries ago, and pictures of the flora, fauna and food eaten by those early voyagers.

By the time the project was completed, students had applied learning in a variety of ways. Art and math skills were developed while creating the drawings of ship’s cross-sections and sail plans. Public speaking skills were honed as each group had to present their voyage to the class (and a couple of unlucky groups had to present to a Pacific Yachting writer – you could tell the adrenaline was up for that one). Map-making demanded some basic understanding of geography, particularly where one continent was in relation to another and how things had changed in the last three hundred years. Doing the project meant going back in history, with lots of reading and problem-solving along the way. And because nothing is really much fun without food, students researched and prepared authentic dishes from the countries that they “visited” and shared them with their classmates.

But food wasn’t the only thing that was made from scratch. The kids learned about what went into building a tall ship, right down to the rope. I was amazed when five students took a bag full of raw jute and turned it into a tough three-strand rope. It also made me very grateful that we don’t have to rely on prickly, skin-abrading jute anymore.

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