Salem to China: Life on Land and Sea  1784 - 1820

Jenny and Pauline’s Third Grade

Map of Salem Harbor including the city and islands. Topographic survey by Assistant Henry L. Whiting, 1849-1850. Topographic survey T-303

About Our Project:

Our GUIDING question for our investigation was:

What was life like in Salem, Massachusetts, on land and sea, during the period from 1784-1820? 


First, our teacher gave us an introduction into the period.  We thought about where spices, silks, and china come from.  We wondered what our life would be like without such things.  We thought about what it would be like to spend long periods of time cramped on boats.  What kind of jobs would we be doing?  We learned about what had happened before this period by doing a quick timeline activity.  We thought about our previous study of the Wampanoag people in the 1600’s.  What is important to know about a period of time and the people who lived then?  Next, we spent weeks learning about this important period of time.  We explored, we asked questions, and then we divided up into partner groups to research our own questions.  This website will help you see a little bit about what we learned.


Here are some of the BIG questions we investigated:


1. What was life like in Salem, Massachusetts in the period from 1784 - 1820?  What did children do?  What did they eat?  What games did they play?  Where did they live?  What was happening in the world at this time?


2.  What was life like on board a ship in the period from 1784-1820?  How were ships built?  How were they sailed?  What were the roles and responsibilities on board? What did they eat, wear, and do for recreation?  Why did they sail east?  What about pirates?


3. What was trade like in the period from 1784-1820?  Why do people trade?  What did they trade?  How did the process work?  Where do they travel to trade?  How did it change the life of Salem residents?  What would life have been like without trade?  Who had the power?

About Us:  We are a third grade class in Cambridge, MA.  We love literature circles, animals, math games, and art.  We hope you enjoy learning about Salem, ships, and trade!

View of Canton Harbor