Provided by

Western Upper Peninsula Center for Science, Mathematics and Environmental Education

Great Lakes Maritime Transportation Education


Great Ships Concentration Card Game



The student will become familiar with Great Lakes ships and shipping while practicing memory skills and reading. This lesson is an introduction to the many ships that sail the Great Lakes: sizes, uses, cargo carried, country of origin (flag).



Ask students how many of them have a boat, or have ever been boating. Discuss briefly. Now ask them if they understand the difference between a boat and a ship. (A ship is a very large boat. A boat is small enough to be carried aboard a ship.)


Materials Needed:

2 decks Great Lakes Shipping playing cards (52 per deck) available from Duluth shipping News Tel:218-722-3119 or or


Procedure for Maritime Concentration


  1. Select the same group of cards from two different decks, or use the entire deck. Arrange cards in a square or rectangle.
  2. Explain that this activity will be a memory game to find matching Great Lake ships.
  3. Have students play in teams of two. Each team gets to turn over two cards on their turn. Teams may consult quietly about which card to turn, but they may not deliberate more than 10 seconds, and they may not vocalize. If the card is not a match, both are turned down, and team B goes next. If a team finds a match, they keep the match and take an extra turn. The team that identifies the most matches wins. Allow no more than four teams. Play moves clockwise from the first team.


Great Lakes Ships ~ Interesting Facts


Hearts Cards

Federal Hunter With its bright red hull, this ship carries grain for Fednav of Montreal. It was

built in Japan in 2001.

Alpena Built in 1942 to carry iron ore, she was reduced 120 feet and refitted to carry

cement and renamed after a Michigan town.

Saginaw A bulk cargo hauler, this ship is 639 feet long, and is Canadian flagged. She was

built in 1953, and has been renamed several times.

Indiana Harbor One of 13 thousand foot lakers, this ship usually loads coal or taconite. She

was built in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin.

Walter J. McCarthy Carrying low-sulfur coal, usually to Detroit, this 1000 foot laker makes about

40 round trips from Superior each season.


Clubs Cards

American Spirit The seventh of 13 one thousand foot lakers. The middle of this ship was built in

Toledo, and the rest in Lorain, Ohio.

Ira Built in 1979 in Japan, this ship travels all over the world, carrying all kinds of goods,

from steel coils to bulk clay.

Roger Blough Almost a thousand footer, this ship is the 14th largest on the Great Lakes. She has

a 54 foot boom that can travel out over either side of her deck.

Edgar B. Speer Built in two pieces, in two different places, this ship usually carries taconite from

Two Harbors, Minnesota to Gary, Indiana.

Sundew Named after an insectivorous plant, this decommissioned Coast Guard cutter is now a

museum in Duluth, Minnesota, where she served her last 24 years.

Presque Isle With the same name as a county in Michigan, this ship is two ships in one. Half

barge and half tug, this type of construction is very practical.


Diamonds Cards

Alder This Coast Guard cutter is a buoy tender, the last of the Juniper line built in

Marinette, Wisconsin. 225 feet long she is used for ice breaking and search and rescue as well as

caring for the lights of Lake Superior out of Duluth, Minnesota.

Paul R. Tregurtha The largest of the freighters working the Great Lakes. This ship has a 260 foot

self-unloading boom, and usually carries coal from Superior to Duluth.

Agawa Canyon 646 feet long, this Canadian ship is named after a geographic feature 100 miles

north of Sault Saint Marie.

Oglebay Norton A one-thousand foot laker, this ship was built in 1978. She carries mainly coal

and iron ore to ports only on the Great Lakes.


Spades Cards

Arthur M. Anderson Carrying the common loads of coal, taconite and limestone on the Great

Lakes waters, this ship was the last to see the Edmund Fitzgerald before it sunk nearWhitefish Bay

in 1975.

Edwin H. Gott One thousand four feet long, this laker was named for an engineer, who then

became president, then chairman of the board of the United States Steel company.

Mesabi Miner Named in honor of Minnesotas miners, this ship carries taconite and coal.

Manistee This ship has been sailing under various names since 1943. Each time it is

overhauled, it has been renamed. Its present name is a city in Michigan, and was given to the ship in


Mackinaw Shown during her launch on 4/2/05, this ship replaced her predecessor of the

same name, this Coast Guard cutter will serve in many capacities, including environmental


Kentucky A red and green cutie, this G-tug is one of 50 operating on the Great Lakes. Most

are named for states, and all are painted the same color.



Learning Assessment

Once all the cards are picked, ask the teams to look at each pair they have and read the description. Next, the teacher reads the list of interesting facts below, one by one in a varied order, without naming the ship. After each fact is read, ask the students who has that ship card?