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Cooper Seventh Graders Learn About Titanic with Unique Experience

12/12/2023

Students at Cooper Junior High learned about the most infamous maritime disaster through a Titanic Museum set up in the school’s library.

Students look at Titanic memorabilia.

Reading teacher Kat Israeloff created a museum experience for her seventh-grade reading students using reproduced paper memorabilia associated with the RMS Titanic. Replicas such as boarding passes, photos of passengers, receipts, maps of the ship, newspaper articles, advertising flyers, sheet music and dinner menus were displayed for students to view.

Teacher shows students Titanic picture.

As they would in a real museum, students perused this realistic material about the great tragedy at their leisure.

“There were crew passes -- like first class and second class -- that said things about the crew,” seventh-grader Mathias Castro said. “The crew passes put it on a personal level for me.”

Class poses for photo.

This is the second year the seventh-grade reading classes have had the Titanic Museum experience for their informational nonfiction unit.

“It gets kids out of the classroom and gets their buy-in,” Israeloff said. “It’s a new way to learn about something and hits all the TEKS.”

Seventh-grader Kiet Nguyen says the museum brought the story of the Titanic to life for him.

“Seeing the picture of the Titanic broken apart made it real,” Nguyen said. “Also, the book with the number of people who died really got me.”

Student looks at photo.

Nearer, My God, to thee, one of the songs the band played as the ship went down, played in the library too. For seventh-grader Arya Owens, hearing the same music play that the passengers heard stood out to her and greatly added to the somber atmosphere of the lesson.

Girls look at pictures.

Special education aide Amber Rice brought two of her family’s telegraph machines. Students experienced tapping out distress signals using Morse Code.

Teacher and students look at papers.

Seventh-grader Annabelle Angeles shared about her visit to an actual Titanic Museum with her class.

“This lesson helped me realize how many families were heartbroken by the sinking of the Titanic,” Angeles said.

Girls pose for photo.

Israeloff attests that the Titanic Museum impacted her students and even other teachers.

“A hard-to-reach kid said, ‘I knew [the Titanic] really happened, but looking at this stuff made it so real.’ The Titanic Museum made him excited about learning,” Israeloff said. 

One of the history teachers saw Israeloff’s students in action and plans to use replica packs of other historical events to create the museum experience for her classes.