Pirates are often misjudged in our society.
They were often not the cut-throat villains they are commonly portrayed to be in most literature. However, they were young men who were put in the way of danger, often by governments, and found successful strategies for survival.
Most traditional pirates were the victim of international conflicts, primarily between the UK and France, fought out to sea. They were often the sons of farmers who were press ganged onto a war ship, and through circumstances beyond their control, ended up on ships that engaged in plundering other ships.
However, it is the more noble aspects of being a pirate that I would like to focus on in this blog.
I want to pay particular attention to how uneducated farm boys, who had never even seen the ocean, in a few short years, were able to adapt themselves to become formidable seamen.
I would like to explore some of the hardships they had to endure, and how they developed strategies for survival in an otherwise inhospitable environment. I would like to help the students understand how they adapted themselves best to :
- work as a member of a team,
- to harness the energy of the wind and waves to cross enormous distances
- use the power of mathematics to navigate across the vast featureless oceans
I am a qualified sea captain. I have sailed yachts for thousands of miles and spent months at sea. I would like to bring to life some of the practical everyday tips that pirates would have used in their daily life. In particular:
- how to tie useful knots
- how to navigate a ship
- nautical terminology
- How sails work
- How to drop an anchor.
Furthermore, I am a qualified marine biologist and a teacher. I would like to over time help the student realize that pirates were a product of their times. However, now there is a whole new dimension that is opening up to future pirates. A future where pirates no longer have to barely survive in an otherwise inhospitable environment. A future where pirates can utilize modern technology and scientific concepts to explore and enjoy the marine frontier.
I would like to compare and contrast them with our concept of a mermaid, a mythical creature who is half fish/ half woman that it perfectly adapted to a marine existence. As such, the mermaid / pirate contrast can be used across a number of learning platforms.
As a parent of a younger child, you will no doubt appreciate the value of kids parties themed as pirates and mermaids. But are you aware of the potential for your older children to turn their knowledge and appreciation of pirates and mermaids as a tool to earn themselves extra money as babysitters? Furthermore, an older high school modern day pirate can be taught how to harness their latent practical skills to construct small aquaponic farms. These ‘farms’ can be as low tech as a fishbowl with cress growing on top, to a fully fledged automated system that can effectively feed an entire family with fish and vegetables.