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Science of Sailing - Lesson 1

Topic: Introduction to Sailboats


Teacher Resources:

Printable PDF Version of this Lesson Plan

Downloadable PPT of Lesson (12.5mb)

Lesson 1 Handout - Sailboat Parts Identification Exercise (PDF)


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Primary Goal :

A basic introduction to the sailboat. Students should be able to identify the parts of a sailboat and familiarize themselves with some of the terminology that will be used throughout the course.

Lesson Objectives :

  • Ability to identify fundamental parts of a sailboat

  • Introduction to boat terminology used throughout the course

  • Introduction to some of the math and physics concepts that will be covered throughout the course

Lesson Outline :

  1. Establishing a Foundation: Parts of a Sailboat
    1. When looking at the many pictures of all the different types of sailboats, students may become overwhelmed
    2. It is important to emphasize that although boat designs may differ greatly, most of the fundamental elements are the same
    3. Show the slide with the 7 boats and ask the students to identify the similarities/differences
      1. Not only will this get the students engaged, but it will make them aware that they don’t know the boat terminology
    4. Learning boat terminology is like learning a new language à critical for communication

  2. Identify the Parts of a Sailboat
    1. Hull – the foundation of the boat that makes it a seagoing vessel
      1. Bow, Stern, Port, Starboard
      2. Fiberglass, wood, metal
    2. The Rig – the structures coming up from the hull that support the sails
      1. Mast, Boom, Forestay, Backstay, Shrouds
      2. Explain the importance of supporting the mast
    3. Running Rigging – all the gear and lines used to raise and trim the sails
      1. Halyards, Sheets
    4. Sails – how a boat generates speed
      1. Mainsail, Jib, Spinnaker
      2. Parts of the Sail: Luff, Leech, Foot
    5. Underwater Appendages
      1. Rudder, Keel

Supplemental Resources :

School of Sailing Glossary: http://www.schoolofsailing.net/terminology.html

US Sailing Video: Parts of a Boat : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vZ6O8lB0cII

Exercises/Activities :

If you have access to boat models, bring in and allow the students to take turns identifying the parts of the sailboat. It will be good to provide them with a list of all the items covered during the course.

Separate the students into groups and create a competition using both the sailboat part identification and definitions (Sailboat Jeopardy works well).


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