Museum Classroom: Knot Tying

Lesson: Knot Tying  
Topic: The importance of nautical knots
Grade: 1-8

Activity: Knot Tying Cards

Materials Required:

  • 2 pieces of rope in equal length (2 sets if possible)

Materials Provided:

  • Knot Cards

Pre-Lesson: Discussion of Knots
Individually brainstorm, or with a partner or family member, discuss the importance of using ropes and knots on the ships that pass through the Welland Canal. What would need to be tied down? What other uses would knots have? Would one knot be good for everything?

This activity will work best with a partner, family member or small group. Download and review the Knot Cards.

Individually or with your partner or family member, review the Knot Cards. Each person should have a chance to practice tying and untying the knots. Brainstorm possible uses for your knot on a ship, as well as investigate the structure of the knot. Does it look strong? If yes, why? Where would the weight or load be supported?

Individually, or with your partner or family member your goal will be to use your knot in a way to carry books. If you manage to hold your books with the knot, find other safe objects your knot could carry.

Wrap-up Discussion
Hold a contest between all the groups to see which knot can hold 5 books. If a knot is unable to hold the books, explore the reason why as a group. Discuss as a group the benefits of using different knots on a ship, and in life, for different activities. Why is it important for a knot to be strong on a ship? What might happen is a knot isn’t properly tied or the wrong knot is used?

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