Bravery at Sea

Overview & Major Themes

In this lesson, for young students, they read a story of bravery at sea and look closely at the uniform of USS Constitution sailors. Then they make their own captain’s hat out of paper.


  • Students will understand that it took bravery to serve aboard USS Constitution.
  • Students will understand that sailors wore uniforms that set them apart from ordinary people.


  • Students will listen while being read a story in order to gain an understanding of the difficult life that a sailor led and what types of clothing made up his or her uniform.
  • Students will complete a craft in order to gain an understanding of what a sailor would wear as part of his or her uniform.

Materials & Resources

  • Story book (these are suggestions, but any seafaring book that shows bravery could be used) 
    • When I Wore My Sailor Suit by Uri Shulevitz
    • My Sailor Dad by Ross Mackenzie
    • Sailor Sally by Stella Gurney
    • Burt Dow Deep-Water Man by Robert McCloskey
  • Image of 1812 captain’s hat
  • Captain’s Hat craft supplies and instructions

Instructional Activity

15 min.

Read your chosen story book aloud to the students. Lead them in a small discussion asking questions that lead the students to think about how difficult a sailor’s life was out at sea.

  • Do you think a sailor’s life was tough?
  • Would you like to be a sailor?
  • Do you think the sailor in the story was brave?

The questions should be open-ended in nature.

5 min.

Ask students if they noticed any special clothing that the sailors were wearing. In the Navy, sailors have a particular uniform to wear. The captain wore a tall hat called a chapeau bras (show them the image of modern-day USS Constitution captain wearing the hat).

25 min.

Transition them into making the captain’s hat. Lead them in the craft project and let them proudly wear their hats! Directions are attached.