Th story of the Hood and the Bismarck is 'cool' and 'awesome

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Compass Platform
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Th story of the Hood and the Bismarck is 'cool' and 'awesome

Post by Compass Platform » Mon Mar 03, 2008 9:55 pm

Yes battleships are awesome and cool to the young. Once the power and size of these steel monsters is explained to them, my pupils could not wait to build the Hood or in some cases KGV class ships.
I have taught Technical Education at Ardrossan Academy in Scotland for twenty years.
I am fortunate to be a teacher of Technical education as it is a subject which can build the self-confidence and self esteem of all pupils, perhaps especially, the less able pupils.
Often, I am teaching pupils who have personal, family and/or school problems. Technical Education can be a subject to be looked forward to by less able pupils.
It can be a subject that can excite, stimulate and motivate when little else in school interests them.
One year ago I started building a Technical Department website.


It was my intention to make this site different from the usual school website. Pupil centered, fun, exciting with individual photographs of the pupils and their work.
As a scale model aficionado I have tried to motivate my pupils by sharing my enthusiasm for this subject with them.
I was well aware of HMS Hood. However, it was only when I saw the documentary of The Hood and The Bismarck on the Discovery Channel that I thought about building HMS Hood as part of the pupil’s coursework.

Built from scratch, the enthusiasm of these 14-15 year olds when making the Hood was something to behold. The story of the great ship and its end by the Bismarck, really left its mark on these young people.

Some of these pupils are termed challenging in today’s parlance, however the build consumed their attention and their behavior was superb.
One can tell from the looks on the pupil’s faces on the new website that they are very proud of the work they have produced. It has to be remembered that these youngsters would rather suffer a death of a thousand cuts than be photographed and shown on a website doing something which they consider ‘uncool’.

I have tried where possible, to relate the pupils work to the Clyde area, or to Scotland in terms of design, history, technology and manufacture. This, I believe makes the work much more relevant and significant to them. This is another reason why HMS Hood was chosen.
In year 3 we limbered up with a pirate ship. The connection to Scotland was that the famous pirate Captain Kidd was born here in Dundee.
We then tackled the legendary HMS Hood in year 4. The pupils had to investigate the design of battleships and produce a design folder. The great ship was built only a few miles up the Clyde coast from the school. Before we embarked upon this adventure, many people informed me that these mixed ability classes would never be able to deal with the wide variety of skills required to undertake such a task. The finished models sure proved them wrong.

In the last 3 years around 60 HMS Hoods have been built, with a few HMS Prince of Wales thrown in. In houses throughout Ardrossan now, large 1 metre long scratch built Hood models can be found on mantelpieces, windowsills, coffee tables etc.
There is a picture on the site of two of my pupils, Geovan and David, proudly showing their finished HMS Hood models to the Head teacher in her office. However the Headteacher was concerned about how the two of them would carry their models home without damaging them. She was so concerned she phoned a taxi for them. This story has gone down in folklore of how the two pupils sat in the back of the large taxi with the models in the boot being dropped off at their respective homes to great acclaim.

The strange thing is that although the pupils had a free choice of project, eg table, cabinet etc. no one ever chose not to build a battleship.
One can find the site at http://www.ardtech.co.uk HMS Hood is to be found in the 4th year link. To show the pupils the massive size of the Hood and a feeling of perspective, I have placed a CAD 3d model of the Hood into a 3d model of Ardrossan Academy. This can be found on the Cad/Cag/HMS Hood visits Ardrossan Academy.
I hope that the members of your wonderful site realize that the story of The Hood and the Bismarck still strikes a chord today with young people.

Kind regards,
John Anderson

P.S. I have been toying with the idea of trying to tackle the Bismarck next with pupils. If I do I will be in touch.________________________________________

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RF
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Post by RF » Tue Mar 04, 2008 1:22 pm

Cool, Awesome and pretty deadly to the sailors who died in them.

Always remember that war is not cricket, it is not a game but a dirty, nasty business that is best avoided and not glamourised with today's politically correct soundbites.
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Post by RNfanDan » Tue Mar 04, 2008 5:57 pm

RF wrote:Cool, Awesome and pretty deadly to the sailors who died in them.

Always remember that war is not cricket, it is not a game but a dirty, nasty business that is best avoided and not glamourised with today's politically correct soundbites.
Not sure where you're coming from on this, but it seems you are linking ship models with glamorization of war; please forgive my misunderstanding, if this is not the case.

Building scale warship replicas is not in and of itself, a glamorization of war. Your presence here speaks to your interest in the subject, unless you are a web troll (which does not appear likely at this point). Warships can be beautiful, overwhelmingly so in some cases, and are historical treasure troves of technology. It is natural to be impressed by them, and if the terms "awesome" and "cool" offend your sensibilities, keep in mind they are just expressions of emotions, not fomentations of violence.

It is attendant upon any modeler to understand that the mean and nasty business of war is not trifling. Warships are born of life and death struggles, but they are no more than implements---large, impressive, high-tech and infinitely complex to be sure but implements, nonetheless.

Finally, war is not always "best avoided". More often than not, war imposed by aggressors on nations unprepared--or unwilling--to fight, is much to the latter's detriment. Peace comes at a terrible cost, and warships are but a reminder of that cost. They should be appreciated for both their power and the underlying reasons for their very existence.

I commend Mr. Anderson for his efforts. Far better students studying ships and technology, than plopped in front of the telly playing video games!

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Post by Compass Platform » Tue Mar 04, 2008 10:52 pm

One of the main points of the whole project is to try and ensure that the young people realise how awful war is. However, one has to motivate their interest somehow, in the first place, to enable them to learn at all. The words cool and awesome should not be taken out of context. They were used by some of the youngsters initially when they were informed about the specifications of battleships and the technology and materials involved in building them.
It is a design and make course. The pupils have to learn about different materials and their properties. Learn about hand tools, machines and manufacturing processes. Also, learn the design process. They could be making coffee tables, video cabinets or Play station games cabinets. I thought they would enjoy making battleships. I was not sure. It could have been a disaster.
As it turned out it was a great success. The pupils had to investigate battleship and battle-cruiser design. They had to draw out the different parts with dimensions. Write out cutting list of all the different materials and cut, shape and join them together.
Because they were now ‘hooked’ some wanted to know what happened to the Bismarck after she sank the Hood. Others wanted to know what were they fighting about anyway. So the project sparked an interest and questions in them. Who knows how long it will last or where it will lead. But as the models of the HMS Hood are sitting in many prominent places in the homes of these youngsters. That means that the men who gave their lives for the cause of freedom will not be forgotten.

I do not want to be rude to RF. However, he should choose his words more carefully. HMS Hood and Bismarck were glamorous. They were awesome. Thousands and thousands of people welcomed the Hood on its world tour because of those very reasons. That does not mean that war is glamorous, cool or a game.
My pupils know what happens in real war now. They know that there were only three survivors out of the1418 men on the Hood. They now know about the carnage on the Bismarck and the hundreds of poor sailors left in the sea because of a U-boat alarm.
Maybe, RF does not realise if everyone had his attitude, then these men’s ultimate sacrifice would be forgotten.

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marcelo_malara
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Post by marcelo_malara » Wed Mar 05, 2008 1:14 am

The "cool" part is that every effort to review history helps make sure that the people who died in the dirty and nasty businness is remembered, they should not be forgotten.

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Post by RF » Wed Mar 05, 2008 1:37 pm

My post on this was not directed at modelling.

Using words associated with ''Cool Britannia'' and political spin/soundbites, particulary as encouraged by ''New Labour'' is in my view a rather unfortunate choice of wording and gives the impression of trivializing war.
It is in much the same vein as the criticism directed at the French Front Nationale leader Jean Marie le Pen for describing the genocide of Jews in World War Two as a ''detail of history.''

Marcelo, ''cool'' has an English slang political meaning which you may not be aware of.

Compass Platform, I have visited the commemoration site of the 1513 Battle of Flodden Field. Here King James IV of Scotland and nearly 10,000 Scots were slain in a pointless political gesture in support of the French, who were at war with England's King Henry VIII. I visited the site to remember this battle and to respect the victims of it, and to reflect that England and Scotland are joined in a United Kingdom and no longer engaged in fratricidal conflict. In no way do I regard the site or the battle as ''cool'' or ''awesome'', party political and sub-cultural slang is just not appropriate.
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Post by RF » Wed Mar 05, 2008 1:46 pm

RNfanDan wrote:
Finally, war is not always "best avoided". More often than not, war imposed by aggressors on nations unprepared--or unwilling--to fight, is much to the latter's detriment. Peace comes at a terrible cost.....
Churchill described WW2 as an ''unnecessary war.'' Why? He was not commenting on the right of fighting that war, but on the fact it could have been avoided. Avoided by not having policies of appeasement, avoided by strictly enforcing the Treaty of Versailles.
I believe that all war should be avoided, and most wars start with aggressers not realising the other side can and will fight. It is political weakness and the miscalculations that follow from it that causes wars.
''Give me a Ping and one Ping only'' - Sean Connery.

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Post by Bgile » Wed Mar 05, 2008 3:18 pm

Hi John,

Welcome to the forum!

I'm sorry that your very well intentioned intro has been turned into a debate over war itself, but I think you are doing a wonderful thing with those kids.

I wish you all the best in your endeavor. There are much worse things they could be doing!

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Post by hellomartin » Wed Mar 05, 2008 6:36 pm

Well call me mentally challenged, but I thoroughly enjoyed making my Bismarck model when I was I kid. I am sorry, but I also happen to think the ship was bloody cool and awesome, as was Hood and all the others. I imagine the men who fought on them thought that way too.

Bravo to John for helping his kids. Keep up the good work!

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Post by dougieo » Wed Mar 05, 2008 7:29 pm

I wish I had a chance to do something like that at school instead of building the usual candle holders/tables and chests of drawers.

One thing you have to remember is that words mean different things to different age groups. I would assume the kids would be refering to the engineering/looks and sheer bulk of the ships.

cool and awsome are words that can be fairly used to describe the ships.

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Re: Th story of the Hood and the Bismarck is 'cool' and 'awe

Post by dunmunro » Wed Mar 05, 2008 9:11 pm

Compass Platform wrote:Yes battleships are awesome and cool to the young. Once the power and size of these steel monsters is explained to them, my pupils could not wait to build the Hood or in some cases KGV class ships.
_______________________________________
I'm not sure if you are aware of this site, but it has a series of on-line mpeg videos, that use working 3-D simulations to illustrate various aspects of dreadnought gunnery, for RN WW1 BBs. The Principles of the fire control devices described were very similar to those used in WW2, and Hood used a Mk5 Dreyer table, which was an evolved design from the the MkIII table illustrated.

http://dreadnoughtproject.org/tech/

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Post by Compass Platform » Wed Mar 05, 2008 10:26 pm

RF should try to separate the technology and equipment of war from the horror. Obviously Flodden Field is a place of sadness and reflection for many Scots. Although, I can predict with certainty that very few of my pupils will have heard of the Battle of Flodden and would not be the slightest bit interested anyway.
However, if I had swords, armour, uniforms, heraldry and cannon from that period, then they would become interested in the paraphernalia of the battle and that way would learn about the dreadfulness of the battle and the reasons for it.
I am afraid RF has lost me when he compares youngsters using the words cool and awesome, to the holocaust.
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Post by RF » Thu Mar 06, 2008 9:18 am

Compass Platform wrote:
I can predict with certainty that very few of my pupils will have heard of the Battle of Flodden and would not be the slightest bit interested anyway.

I am afraid RF has lost me when he compares youngsters using the words cool and awesome, to the holocaust.
Compass Platform
This is why we have the society we have today - ignorant and disrespectful of the past, just the sort of situation where wars start.

More's the pity. If you are a teacher you really should know better.

I hope that Vico's prediction that ''countries that forget their history are doomed to relive it'' doesn't come true.
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Post by RF » Thu Mar 06, 2008 9:21 am

Incidently cannon and artillery were not used at Flodden. At that time only the Chinese and the Turks had very primitive cannon.

The bow and arrow were lethal used against a mass of men stuck on a muddy field.....
''Give me a Ping and one Ping only'' - Sean Connery.

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Post by mike1880 » Thu Mar 06, 2008 2:42 pm

Talk about ignorance of history...

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