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20,000 Leagues Under the Sea
Unit Study: Part 1

"20,000 Leagues Under the Sea" by Jules Verne makes a really good literature unit to combine with oceanograpy, marine biology, seamanship, the science fiction genre, etc. Part one of this unit study covers Part 1, Chapters 1 - 5 of the book.

As with many classics, there are several versions of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea on the market. The edition that I am using for this unit was originally published by Classic Press, Inc. in 1968.

Suggested Vocabulary:

If you would like to download a free copy of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, one of the best downloads that Iíve found is available from http://www.knowledgerush.com/books/2000010.html. Its a no frills, continuous copy of the book.

Online-Literature.com also has 20,000 Leagues as well as several over works by the author Jules Verne. And at http://www.selfknowledge.com/446au.htm there is a realaudio version of the book you can listen to!

Book Summary from http://www.people.virginia.edu/~mtp0f/flips/jules.html
20,000 Leagues Under the Sea is about the adventures of Captain Nemo and his crew aboard the submarine, Nautilus. One day ships start sinking, particularly ones dealing with war. Survivors think it is a big whale. A harpoon ship goes out to kill it, but finds out that the whale is actually the Nautilus. The most interesting part of this book was probably the Nautilus itself. It is shaped to look like a fish, with a large metal fin on top used to ram and sink the ships. The camouflage of the boat being shaped like a whale works, up until the part where the Nautilus takes on a few passengers from one of the sinking ships. Another intriguing part of this book was Captain Nemo. He is the kind of character that you neither like nor dislike. I say this, because of some of Nemoís actions. Captain Nemo hates war, and throughout the book, he uses his submarine to destroy all kinds of war related ships. You would like him for trying to put an end to war, but dislike his method (destroying ships and killing innocent lives).

Suggested Questions and Activities:

1. What year does the story take place in? [Answer: 1866].

2. Who fast is a whale? [Answer: Blue whales, which may weigh over 100 tons, have been clocked at 20 knots or about 23 mph.]

3. What are cetaceans?

4. What is an ichthyologist? [Answer: one who is an expert on fish]

5. Look at a globe and trace some of the lines of longitude and lines of latitude.

6. Who was the narrator of the story?

7. Draw a picture of a narwhal and research this once mythic animal.

8. You may wish to do some math problems with the "knot" as the base. A knot is 6,076.1 feet, or roughly a sixth of a mile longer than a mile. So 10 knots an hout is appreciably faster than 10 miles an hour.

9. Keep a journal through out this unit. Add a drawing and biographical sketch of each new character as you run across them in the story.

10. What was the location ... latitude by longitude ... of the Abraham Lincoln at the time of the sighting of the "enormous thing." See if you can find this location on a globe or map.

On Line Lessons:



As stated above, as each unit section comes online, I'll have more ideas that you can use. You may decide after reading each section to rearrange when you do some of the different crafts, recipes, activities, etc. That's perfectly fine. This literature unit is just to give you some ideas, not to replace your own creativity. Have fun with it ... and if you find or think up something that I missed, email me and I'll go back and add it to the unit so others can benefit from your resourcefulness.

Have fun!

Link for PART TWO


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