Home School Life Journal From Preschool to High School

Home School Life Journal ........... Ceramics by Katie Bergenholtz
"Let us strive to make each moment beautiful."
Saint Francis DeSales

Privateers and Spanish Galleons, Week 4: Maps and Ship in a Bottle

Make a Ship in a Bottle

This idea comes from Noggins & Nonsense via Live, Learn and Love Together.
Rinse your bottle well and remove wrapper. Using a cutting tool, cut around the empty soda bottle about 2 to 2 1/2 inches from the bottom. Then rinse out your bottle and remove the wrapper from the outside. Follow with a thorough drying.
Next, find a ship  you would like to put in by printing them out or drawing them. (Here are some copies of Columbus' ships, if you would like to use them.)
Arrange your ships. Glue your ship to the bottom of your bottle. Hold until set. Once your ship(s) are set add your “water”. Your water can be  made from blue confetti strips, shredded paper, wave shapes from sheet foam or construction paper.
Using tape, attach the part of the bottle that you previously cut off, and to the bottle cap.  To complete the look add a band of ribbon to the areas where you have put the tape. To prevent your bottle from rolling around, you can glue strips of foam, thick paper, sheet foam or Popsicle sticks to the bottom.  

James loved shaking the bottle to simulate a ship in a storm.

Assignment 1: Make a Map: You had your map of the Caribbean laid it out on a little table so that you could study it in the light of day. Later, you left the map on the table to attend to other duties. When you turned in for the night, you forgot to retrieve the map. During the night a light rain fell. This morning the map was soaked and barely readable. Worse yet, it is so stuck to the table so tightly that any effort to pick it up will ruin it altogether. The map is necessary to the success of the voyage. You must duplicate the map as best as you can.  (younger students) Have the children draw an island on their construction paper. Write the name of the water that surrounds their island (ocean, bay, cove, lake) on the map. Draw a compass rose in the lower right hand corner of the treasure map. Things to include on the island: symbols for hills, mountains, pond, lakes, forest, palm trees, shark fins in the water, big X to mark where the treasure is.
When the treasure maps are finished age the maps by pressing a damp tea bag all over it or painting it with strongly brewed tea. Tear the jagged edges all round the treasure map to make it look aged. (20 dots)

(older students) Draw the best map of the Caribbean area that you can. You can trace a map, hand draw it or use a blank map. The early maps used by sailors were not always extremely accurate, so don't be too worried about getting it perfect. Your map should include: Mexico and the southern part of United States, all of Central America, all of the West Indies, Northern part of South America.(2 dots) Make a key in the lower left hand side of your map to represent details. (2 dots) Label the islands of Cuba, Hispaniola (now called Haiti-Dominican Republic), Puerto Rico and Jamaica (these islands are now known as the Greater Antilles). (2 dots) Locate the cities of Veacruz, Portobelo, Cartagena, and Havana with a dot and print their names. (2 dots) Print these in the proper location: Gulf of Mexico, Caribbean Sea, Pacific Ocean, Yucatan Peninsula, Bahama Islands.a (2 dots) At the top of the map on the left hand side draw a symbol or crest that represents your ship. (2 dots) Codes and/or riddles wee often written on maps to indicate where treasure was buried or some other important information. On a scroll on the upper right hand side of the map write a message. (4 dots)  Make a box at the top of the map and fill it in with the name of the map, the date it could have been made, and your name. (4 dots)  Move 20 dots for completing all of these instructions. Subtract dots if you do not do all of it. Optional: Make your map look old by painting with strong brewed tea and burning away the edges.

Assignment 2:  Mapping (older) Make a treasure hunt for your younger siblings. Decide on a place to hide the treat I will give you to hide. Decide where your treasure hunters will start. Make a map of all the things between where they start to where the treasure is. Make little drawings about what is noticeable along the way. Make an X to mark the spot where the treasure is located. (10 dots)

(younger) Using your brother's map, go on a treasure hunt. Can you find it? (10 dots)

Assignment 3: Science-(older) Ocean Currents Ice Cube Demonstration and make a compass or

source: Disney Family
(younger) make a model of a compass

Assignment 4: Explorers: Make a Ship in a bottle (younger) see above or add these explorers to your timeline (older): Sir Francis Drake, Coronado, Jacques Cartier, Hernando de Soto, Cortes.
Fates: For the past number of days the wind has been steadily decreasing, as so has the speed of your ship. Your crew's strength depends on how many provisions you have taken on board or how recently you have resupplied your ship. Men can become too weak to climb the rigging and trim the sails.
For the Spanish Ships: If you have fully stocked initially (teacher decision -how much food did they supply the ship with? Think about how long it would last.) or passed a landfall in the last 10 dots, add 5 dots to your movement. If it has been more than 10 dots but less than 15, add two dots to this move.
For the Privateers: You hope for survival lies in reaching the New World as quickly as possible. To achieve this, you put all the extra sail you have available. If you have a boatswain and at least two seamen, you can roll a die an add this to your movement.
Week 1: Ships
Week 2: Life on Board
Week 3: Navigation


  1. I LOVE all these ideas-especially the ship in a bottle! I will be doing a "Pirate Day" with my preschool stART class...I wonder if I can adapt the ship in a bottle craft for that age group...hmmmm...

  2. What a fantastic and informative homeschool blog-journal you have! Wonderful project! I'll visit back!

  3. I love this. There are so many fun ideas.

  4. Very cool! I'd copy this right away, but I still want to go back, and do the mystery science.

  5. Ships in a bottle!!! Very cool! We're going to do this! :)

  6. Oh my words, I am so impressed!! And great to see a fabulous craft for the older children!!

    Do come and join us on Kids Get Crafty again! Latest link http://www.redtedart.com/2011/02/16/kids-get-crafty-robot-cards-the-robot-the-blue-bird/

    Would love to see you there (again)!


  7. Very cool ship in a bottle. My two have a bit of a pirate / under the sea thing going on at the moment and will love this.


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