activity page will offer:
Insight into the actual dimension of the Hunley
opportunity to sketch a full-scale drawing of the Hunley
opportunity to use math and measuring skills
Up a Drawing
Scale drawings are often used to represent objects that would be
too large or too small to reasonably illustrate at their actual
size. In this activity, you'll use a scale drawing of the Hunley
as a model from which to draw a full-scale version of this vessel.
CAUTION: Remind students not to inhale the chalk dust. It is an
irritant and can be harmful if breathed in.
- Work with a small group of students in an outdoor area identified
by your instructor.
- Brainstorm a technique for laying out a 40- foot long and 6-foot
wide grid on the ground. The gird will be drawn with chalk onto
the exposed ground surface. The lines must be spaced 2-feet apart.
- To produce the grid lines, cover a length of kite string with
chalk dust. Two students hold opposite ends of the string against
the ground. The third student "snaps" the chalked string to the
ground recording its impact in chalk dust. You might need to thicken
the line by drawing over it with chalk to make it easier to see.
- To simplify the copying process, you might want to number the
squares on both the scale drawing and the full-scale chalk grid.
Then, box-by-box, copy the outline of the submarine from the page
to the ground.
- If each chalked gird box represents a two-foot by two-foot square,
how long is the submarine?
- How could you create a larger drawing of the submarine, but
still retain its scale dimensions?
- How might increasing the number of lines in the scaled down
grid affect the accuracy of the final drawing?
The hatch through which the crew entered
the Hunley was a tight fit. It was an oval shape that measured 14
inches by 15¾ inches. Cut out a piece of string and arrange
it to these dimensions. Then, imagine older sailors slipping through
this tight portal during an emergency.
for the Confederacy
Suppose you were a Civil War reporter
who was allowed to examine the Hunley and interview its crew before
the submarine's final mission? What might the crew confide concerning
the upcoming mission? Think about it. Then create a story that would
be published in the Charleston Gazette on the morning following
the sinking of the Housatonic and loss of the Hunley.
Suppose that the Confederacy had perfected
and produced a fleet of Hunley-like submarines. If you were a Union
admiral wishing to protect your blockade vessels, what sort of anti-submarine
measures would you develop? What types of antisubmarine weapons
could you implement using the technology of the 1860s?
During World War I, about 50 years after
the sinking of the Hunley, the German navy nearly dominated the
seas using its fleet of U-boats. Research these vessels and prepare
a presentation that addresses the advancements in these weapons.
How were the German U-boats of WWI different in design and stealth
from this Confederate prototype? How did the action of the torpedo
change? How do today's submarines compare to the undersea vessels
employed during this "war to end all wars"?
Submarine CSS H.L. Hunley
A richly illustrated site that describes the Hunley and its role
as a Confederate weapon
A richly illustrated site that describes many aspects of the submarines
US Naval Institute proceedings on the Hunley
activities in this guide were contributed by Michael DiSpezio, a
Massachusetts-based science writer and author of "Critical Thinking
Puzzles" and "Awesome Experiments in Light & Sound" (Sterling Publishing
Academic Advisors for this Guide:
Corrine Lowen, Science Department, Wayland Public Schools, Wayland,
Suzanne Panico, Science Teacher Mentor, Cambridge Public Schools,
Anne E. Jones, Science Department, Wayland Middle School, Wayland,
Gary Pinkall, Middle School Science Teacher, Great Bend Public Schools,
Great Bend, KS