Search form

Navy to End Ban on Women in Submarines


Arts & Humanities
--Language Arts
--Physical Science
Social Studies
--Current Events
----U.S. History


Grades 2-up

News Content

Women have served on Navy ships for 16 years, but theyve not been allowed on submarines -- until now.

Anticipation Guide

Write the word submarine on a board or chart. Ask students to share what they know about submarines. Write the facts they know on a board or chart. You might add to students knowledge by sharing these submarine facts.

News Words

Next, introduce these words that appear in the News Word Box on the students printable news story page: officers, according, privacy, schedule, service, and opportunities. Discuss the meanings of any of those words that might be unfamiliar. Then ask students to use one of those words to complete each of these sentences:

  • The weather this weekend should be beautiful, _____ to the latest forecast I heard. (according)
  • Modern women have many job _____ that women did not have 20 or 30 years ago. (opportunities)
  • The city council elected new _____ at last nights meeting. (officers)
  • President Obamas _____ calls for him to visit four different countries this week. (schedule)
  • My grandmother received a gold watch for completing 40 years of _____ at the phone company. (service)
  • I guess our neighbors like their _____, because theyve never invited us into their home. (privacy)
  • Read the News

    Click for a printable version of this weeks news story Navy to End Ban on Women in Submarines.

    Reading the News

    You might use a variety of approaches to reading the news:

    Read aloud the news story to students as they follow along.

    Students might first read the news story to themselves; then you might call on individual students to read sections of the news aloud for the class.

    Photocopy the news story onto a transparency and project it onto a screen. (Or use your classroom computer's projector to project the story.) Read the story aloud as a class, or ask students to take turns reading it.

    Arrange students into small groups. Each student in the group will read a paragraph of the story. As that student reads, others might underline important information or write notes in the margin of the story. After each student finishes reading, others in the group might say something -- a comment, a question, a clarification -- about the text.

    More Facts to Share

    You might share these additional facts with students after they have read this weeks news story.

  • Tuesday, February 23, 2010, was an historic day. Thats the day U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates sent a letter to Congress to let them know that the Navy will soon allow women to work and live on the submarines in their fleet. Congress has 30 days to provide its official comment on the Navy's decision, but almost everyone assumes they will give their stamp of approval to the plan.
  • "This is something that has a lot of support (within the military), and the Navy has a serious plan" to carefully integrate submarine personnel, Nancy Duff Campbell, an advocate for expanding the role of women in the U.S. armed forces, told Reuters News.
  • A submarine usually only has about 100 bunks for the 150 sailors on its crew. There is no need for a bed for every sailor because they usually take turns sleeping in 6-hour shifts. Sailors refer to this practice of sharing beds in shifts as hot bunking."
  • Passageways on board subs are so narrow that crew members can barely squeeze by each other without touching.
  • The first women officers are not likely to board a sub for 1-1/2 to 2 years because they must complete more than a year of "nuclear school" before they are assigned to a submarine.
  • The Navy will set aside money in upcoming budgets to retrofit sleeping areas and bathrooms for female crew members.
  • The U.S. Navy bans "fraternization" between unmarried men and women. Punishment can range from a letter in the offender's file to a court-martial.
  • In 2008, the first woman was promoted to the rank of four-star general in the U.S. Army. Navy officials say a woman could take over command of a sub in the next 16-17 years.
  • Use the News

    Print out this weeks Use the News printable activity page for students. Or use the questions on that page to check student comprehension.

    Use the News: Answer Key
    Language Practice: Sentence Sense. 1. ban, 2. cramped, 3. privacy, 4. conditions, 5. officers, 6. fleet, 7. plan, 8. serve, 9. separate, 10. underwater.
    Reading Comprehension: Reading for Detail. The true statements that should be circled are statements 2 and 3. All the others are false.
    Reading Comprehension: Main Idea. b. The Navy is opening new opportunities for women by ending a longtime ban.

    Think About the News. Discuss the Think About the News question on the students printable news story page. If you wish to extend that discussion, you might pose this question:

    General George Casey, current Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army, says it might be time to re-examine the policy that places restrictions on women in combat roles. "We don't have an active effort going on, but I think it's time," Casey said. What do you think? Do you think women should be allowed to actively take part in battlefield combat?


    Use the Comprehension Check (above) as an assessment. Or have students work on their own (in their journals) or in their small groups to respond to the Think About the News question above or the question on the students printable news story page.

    Lesson Plan Source

    Education World

    National Standards

    LANGUAGE ARTS: English
    GRADES K - 12
    NL-ENG.K-12.1 Reading for Perspective
    NL-ENG.K-12.2 Reading for Understanding
    NL-ENG.K-12.3 Evaluation Strategies
    NL-ENG.K-12.11 Participating in Society
    NL-ENG.K-12.12 Applying Language Skills

    GRADES K - 4
    NS.K-4.5 Science and Technology
    GRADES 5 - 8
    NS.5-8.4 Earth and Space Science
    GRADES 9 - 12
    NS.9-12.5 Science and Technology

    GRADES K - 4
    GRADES 5 - 12
    NSS-USH.5-12.10 Era 10: Contemporary United States (1968 to the Present)

    See recent news stories in Education Worlds News Story of the Week Archive.

    Posted 03/04/2010

    See recent news stories in Education Worlds News Story of the Week Archive.

    Article by Gary Hopkins
    Education World®
    Copyright © 2010 Education World