Teaching Pirate History: A Treasure Trove of Learning Extensions

Anna Starecheski

Something we're always asking ourselves as we're creating an article is: "Will this make students want to learn more?" We always aspire to open doors of curiosity in your students' minds, and we hope that every article can serve as a jumping-off point to further learning. With that in mind, we've created this list of learning extensions to go along with the nonfiction feature from Storyworks' October/November issue: The Search for Pirate Gold. We hope these will be big hits in your classroom!


TO READ: A dazzling, interactive book from the popular "Ology" series

TO DO: A creative journal entry.

Pirateology: The Pirate Hunter's Companion (grades 3-7) is an immersive story in the form of a pirate's journal. Along with the gripping story, the book offers facts about pirates, the places they went, their ships, and more. We predict that this scrapbook-style book will be a hit with even your most reluctant readers!

LEARNING TASK: Have your students write a journal entry as a pirate. They should use facts and language from the book to inspire them.


TO READ: A biography of one of the most famous pirates in history.

TO DO: A poster

Who Was Blackbeard? (grades 3-7) is part of a wonderful series of biographies for kids. Students will be riveted learning about this infamous, ruthless pirate.

LEARNING TASK: Have students create posters about Blackbeard's life, using details from the book as well as any facts they find in their own research.


TO READ: A news article about modern pirates.

TO DO: A compare and contrast exercise

This article from our friends at Scholastic News outlines the problem of modern pirates. If your students thought that pirates were a thing of the past, this should be very eye-opening! Note: This article contains brief descriptions of violence and murder. Please preview it first to make sure it's appropriate for your students.

LEARNING TASK: Students can write a compare and contrast essay comparing the 18th century pirates described in the Storyworks article to the modern pirates described in this article. 


TO WATCH: A charming video from kid volunteers at Colonial Williamsburg

TO DO: A class discussion

This video from Colonial Williamsburg features young volunteers who are very familiar with what it was like to be a kid in the time of Sam Bellamy.

LEARNING TASK: Have a class discussion about the question posed to the kids in the video: Would you rather be a kid in the 18th century, or a kid now?


TO SHOW: A slideshow of ten amazing shipwrecks

TO DO: A research project

This hauntingly beautiful slideshow of ten shipwrecks frozen in time will fascinate your students. 

LEARNING TASK: Students can pick one of the shipwrecks from the list and research it, creating either a poster or an essay about what they find.


Did you discover any great learning extensions for this issue? Tell us about it in the comments!

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