The Edmund Fitzgerald sank November 10, 1975 during a horrific storm on Lake Superior. My Albert Lea seventh graders learned about the Fitz during a month-long water unit (see our classroom below). For part of our unit, we read about the sinking and watched a video about the possible reasons the Fitz went down. While the mystery surrounding
the sinking makes the Fitz inherently interesting, it would have been much easier (and so much more engaging) to teach about the Fitz now.
The YouTube video for Gordon Lightfoot’s song “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald” would be a great introduction for the lesson. The website S.S. Edmund Fitzgerald Online would allow students to explore aspects of the ship and its crew of interest to them. With crew profiles, a time line of the ship, weather maps about this storm, and more, this would be a great introductory site to explore. NOAA (The National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration) has a great overview of the maritime weather on the night the Fitz sank and as an extension, we could explore NOAA’s current Marine weather reports.
Also as part of our water unit, we studied the Apostle Islands. If we were interested in linking the sinking of the Fitzgerald to shipwrecks in the Apostles, this section of Wisconsin’s Great Lakes Shipwrecks site would be quite helpful.
It would have been easier to engage students now, and the experiences would be so much more rich.