HOME: The Story of Maine

"They Came by Sea"
Lesson 1: Design a Transportation Stamp

For use with Classroom Modules 1 and 2

Guiding Principles: 1. A Clear and Effective Communicator

  • Uses oral, written, visual, artistic, and technological modes of expression.
  • Reads, listens to, and interprets messages from multiple sources

    2. A Self-Directed and Life-Long Learner

  • Finds and uses information from libraries, electronic databases, and other resources.

    3. A Collaborative and Quality Worker

  • Demonstrates reliability, flexibility, and concern for quality.

    SOCIAL STUDIES: History: Historical Knowledge, Concepts, and Patterns

  • Students will develop historical knowledge of major events, people, and enduring themes in the United States, in Maine, and throughout world history. Students will be able to:

    Middle Grades 5-8: Demonstrate an understanding of selected themes in Maine, United States, and world history (e.g. revolution, technological innovation, migration).

    ECONOMICS: International Trade and Global Interdependence

  • Students will understand the patterns and results of international trade. Students will be able to:

    Middle Grades 5-8: Describe how changes in transportation and communication technologies have affected trade over time.

  • Students will:
    • Work in groups to research a certain form of transportation that has affected Maine’s economic and cultural development.
    • Write a persuasive letter that uses the research to support an argument.
    • Prepare a persuasive presentation, using visuals.
    Background Information:
    New transportation technologies have had a tremendous influence on Maine’s economic and cultural development. As wooden sailing ships became more efficient and were able to carry more cargo, Maine’s ports became important centers of trade for the developing United States in the mid-1800s. After the invention of the steam engine, steamboats could transport tourists more quickly and more reliably than sailboats, so Maine’s tourist trade began to boom. As railroads were built, Maine’s towns and cities became more interconnected than they had ever been before. Farmers were able to ship potatoes and other crops via train to markets in Massachusetts and elsewhere. Lumber companies began to haul logs on railroads built specifically for logging. Tourists could travel much more easily to camps in the northern Maine woods. After the invention of the automobile, a different kind of tourist began to frequent Maine’s roads—the weekender. In a sense, the history of transportation illuminates the history of Maine. In this lesson, students will explore these different forms of transportation and how they have affected Maine’s development.
    3-4 weeks, with time both inside and outside of class to complete the project
    • Assignment Sheet #1
    • Grading Rubric #1
    1. Watch They Came by Sea with students. Discuss with them the different forms of transportation by sea that are represented in the video. Ask students to identify how the era of the wooden sailing ship affected Maine’s economy. What kinds of jobs could Mainers get on these ships? What kinds of cargo did the ships bring to Maine? How did the invention of the steamship change travel on the Maine coast? How did it affect the tourist industry?
    2. Ask students to think of all the forms of transportation that might have had an impact on Maine’s history and economy. Make a list on the board. Some suggested ones are:
    3. Trains Trolleys
      Automobiles Steamboats
      Planes Horse and buggy
      Canoe Sailing ship

    4. Tell students their services are needed to help choose one of these forms of transportation to appear on a postage stamp as a part of the U.S. Postal Service’s Transportation in the United States series. The federal government has appointed committees in each state to choose a form of transportation that has most influenced their state, and to design the stamp featuring this form of transportation. See Assignment Sheet #1 for details.
    5. Break students into groups of 3 or 4. Have them choose roles within each group, in order to distribute the responsibility for the project. See Assignment Sheet #1 for details.
    6. Give students enough time in class and at home to complete the research, the writing, and the preparation for their presentation (2-3 weeks). Make sure they are aware of the expectations from the beginning of the assignment. Have them evaluate themselves according to the Grading Rubric; then evaluate them using the same rubric.
    • Have students invent a futuristic form of transportation and write an essay that describes how their invention would affect the Maine economy.
    • Research all the modes of transportation in your local community. How do people get around? What forms of public transportation are available? What form of transportation is the most widely used? How might things be different if more people used public transportation, walked, or biked?
    Suggested Internet Sites: Suggested Print Resources:

    General Transportation Histories:

    • Men, Ships, and the Sea, by Captain Alan Villiers. Washington, DC: The National Geographic Society. 1962, 1973. This is a colorful book that details various travels by sea. It focuses on sea adventures, not on technical information about ships.
    • Man on the Move: The Story of Transportation, by Harvey S. Firestone, Jr. New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons. 1967. High school reading level.
    • Bikes, Cars, Trucks, and Trains. Scholastic Books. The Voyages of Discovery Series: Science and Technology. Junior reading level. A colorful, interactive book.
    • The Marshall Cavendish Illustrated Guide to Steamships, by Christopher Chant. New York: Marshall Cavendish Corporation. 1989.
    • Tracks Across America: The Story of the American Railroad, 1825 – 1900, by Leonard Everett Fisher. New York: Holiday House. 1992. Junior reading level; a good book for middle school readers.

    Maine/New England Transportation Histories:

    • Canals and Inland Waterways of Maine, by Hayden L.V. Anderson. Portland, 1982.
    • The Formation of the New England Railroad Systems, by George P. Baker. New York, 1968.
    • Maine Railroads, by Edward E. Chase. Portland, 1926.
    • Steelways of New England, by Alvin F. Harlow. New York, 1946.
    • The Grand Trunk in New England, by Jeff Holt. West Hill, Ontario, 1986.
    • Men, Cities, and Transportation: A Study in New England History, 1820 – 1900, 2 vols. New York, 1946.
    • Some Interesting Phases of the Development of Transportation in Maine, by Walter H. Leavitt. Orono, 1946.
    • The Maine Two-Footers: The Story of the Two-Foot Gauge Railroads of Maine, by Linwood W. Moody. Berkeley, CA, 1959.
    • The Bangor and Aroostook Railroad, an M.A. thesis by John William White. University of Maine, 1952.
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