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20,000 Leagues Under the Sea
Unit Study: Part 3

"20,000 Leagues Under the Sea" by Jules Verne makes a really good literatur unit to combine with oceanography, marine biology, seamanship, the science fiction genre, etc. Part three of this unit study covers Part 1, Chapters 11 - 15 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:
"took the altitude
Ruhmkorff apparatus
Portuguese man of war

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 is a hygrometer? [Answer: it is an instrument for measuring the amount of moisture in the air.]

2. What is a chronometer? [Answer: a highly accurate kind of clock used in navigation.]

3. Many of the different apparatus on the Nautilus used electricity, something not in common use at the time that "20,000 Leagues" was published. Learn about what electricity is and how it is used today. Are any of the apparatus mentioned in the story in common use today?

4. Using the description in the very beginning of chapter 12, draw a blueprint of the Nautilus. Compare the description with a description of modern day submarines.

5. The Nautilus only had an approximately 20 man crew. What size crew do modern submarines require? [Answer: 140 to 150 men]

6. What does it mean when it says that Captain Nemo "took the latitude?" [Answer: this is also known as "shooting the sun." This must be done at exactly noon. The navigator can then, from his readings, calculate his position.]

7. You may want to study ocean life by using the following links:

How to draw tropical fish

Fish Around the World lesson

Fish party theme

Curriculum bridges for marine life

Ocean unit study http://www.northcanton.sparcc.org/~greentown/ocean/ocean.htm

8. What is a hydrophyte? [Answer: a plant that grows in water] How many can you list?

9. What kind of hunting expedition did the Captain take Aronnax on?

10. Explain the diving apparatus as Captain Nemo described it. Compare it with modern day diving equipment.

On Line Lessons:




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