Thirteen Ed Online
Lesson Plans
Ship of Gold
Overview Procedures for Teachers

In September 1857 the steam ship SS CENTRAL AMERICA, filled with 578 passengers and crew members, 38,000 pieces of mail, and 21 tons of gold from the California gold fields, sank in a hurricane off the Carolina coast. Over one hundred years later, engineer Tommy Thompson began trying to solve the problem of finding and retrieving the lost treasure of the SS CENTRAL AMERICA from its resting place 8,000 feet below sea level. This lesson looks at the events that were taking place in our country during this time period and explores the adventurous, innovative, and individualistic traits that often define the American spirit.

Grade Level:


Subject Matter:

science, language arts, social studies, U.S. history

Curricular Uses:

To support and enrich social studies, U.S. history, supplementary reading and writing activities, science and inventions, ethics and values

Learning Objectives

Students will be able to:

  • research different time periods in history in order to gain understanding of the events that surrounded the sinking of the SS CENTRAL AMERICA;
  • develop understanding of the American spirit of adventure and innovation;
  • discuss the nature of motivation among different groups of people in a variety of occupations, and how it relates to larger societal and individual values;
  • create a variety of presentations based on what they learned about the shipwreck and recovery of the SS CENTRAL AMERICA;
  • use the Internet to conduct research;
  • create an individual innovative invention to solve a problem in their own lives.

    Use of the Internet:
    • Investigation/Research
    • Communication
    • Publication
    This lesson plan was developed by Maureen Carroll and Laurel Blaine of Baybreeze Educational Resources.