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Outreach Programs

Museum Educators will travel to your school and deliver a program for your students in your classroom. Our outreach programs bring subjects to life through dynamic presentations and project-based, hands-on activities.


Outreach Programs

The Mayflower


Age of Exploration

Grades: 9th – 10th

Transport your students back in time with this interactive educational program focusing on the golden age of exploration. In this program, students will practice historical thinking, geographic analysis, and economic decision making. Museum educators will guide discussions focused on the Old and New Worlds, different cultural groups, and the impact European culture had on the Americas. Students will interpret and analyze primary and secondary sources, handle reproduction artifacts, and engage in a Columbian Exchange simulation.

Duration: 1 hour

History (VDOE): WHII.1a, WHII.1b, WHII.1c, WHII.1f, WHII.4a, WHII.4b, WHII.4c, WHII.4d

The Mayflower

Are We There Yet?: Exploring Navigation and Migration

Grades: 4th – 10th

Did you know that migrating animals and humans share a surprising amount of navigational methods? Most migrating animals navigate over large expanses of oceans and landmasses, year after year, using their built-in compasses, mental maps, and crude GPS systems, largely influenced by Earth’s magnetic field. During this program, students will learn through hands-on STEM activities about common animal navigational methods and how they are strikingly similar to human navigation. The program will highlight endangered or threatened species of migrating animals from the Atlantic Ocean or Chesapeake Bay and the human impact on migration. Students will put their navigational skills to the test as they create a mental map, learn the basics of how to use a map compass, and play the part of a bird during migration through the Chesapeake Bay.

Duration: 75 minutes

Standards of Learning (SOLs) 

Science (VDOE 2018):

Elementary: 4.1, 4.2 (b,c), 4.3, 5.1, 5.3, 5.5, 5.6, 5.8 (a)

Middle: 6.1, 6.6 (b,e,f), 6.7 (a,b), 6.8, 6.9 (a,c,e), LS.1, LS.4, LS.5, LS.6 (b,c,d), LS.8, LS.9, PS.1, PS.6 (c), PS.8, PS.9 (b,d,e,f)

High: ES.1 (a,c,d,f), ES.8 (d), ES.10 (a,b,e); ES.11 (d)

History (VDOE 2015):

WG.1 (a,b,c,e,f), WG.2 (a,c), WG.3, WG.4, WG.5

Next Generation Science Standards:

Elementary: 4-PS3-2, 4-ESS2-2, 5-ESS2-1, 5-ESS3-1, 3-5-ETS1-1, 3-5-ETS1-2, 3-5-ETS1-3

Middle: MS-PS2-3, MS-LS2-1, MS-ESS2-4, MS-ESS2-6, MS-ESS3-3

Principles of Ocean Literacy:

1) The Earth has one big ocean with many features 2) The ocean and life in the ocean shape the features of the Earth 5) The ocean supports a great diversity of life and ecosystems 6) The oceans and humans are inextricably interconnected


Engineering a Lighthouse

Grades: 4th-9th

Lighthouses are found along coastlines throughout the world and have been for over 2000 years. They help protect ships from dangers in the water and on the coast, serve as navigational beacons to welcome sailors home and guide them along their journey, and provide an important link between maritime history and the ever-evolving technology of ocean navigation. During this project-based program, students become civil and electrical engineers as they take environmental conditions into consideration and work collaboratively to design, build, and test their own working lighthouse model.

Duration: 75 minutes

Science (VDOE 2018): 4.1a-f, 4.4a, 4.7b; 5.1a-f, 5.4b,d, 5.6b, 5.8d; 6.1a-f, 6.6d-e; 

LS.1a-f; PS.1a-f, PS.5c, PS.9a, c, e-f; ES.1a-f, ES.3b, ES.10a, e, ES.12c

Next Generation Science Standards: 4-PS3-2, 4-PS3-4, 4-ESS2-1, 4-ESS3-2, 

3-5-ETS1-1, 3-5-ETS1-3, MS-ESS3-3, MS-ESS3-4, MS-ETS1-1, MS-ETS1-2, 


Math (VDOE 2016): 4.8a, 4.8d, 4.11, 5.8a, 5.9a, 5.9b, 6.7c, 7.4a, 7.4b, 8.6a, 8.6b, 8.8

Exploration Across the Seas: Europe, The Americas, and Beyond

Grades: 2nd

Maps and spices and resources, oh my! These are just some of the many interactives your students will explore. Students will learn about life at sea, better comprehend the spice trade, and practice their map skills. Museum educators will guide discussions about Christopher Columbus, why resource scarcity promotes trade, and the importance of navigational tools for maritime exploration. During the program, students will be introduced to primary and secondary sources, as well as reproduction artifacts.

Duration: 1 hour

History (VDOE): 2.1a, 2.1b, 2.1c, 2.1g, 2.4a, 2.5f, 2.6a, 2.8

Exploration and Colonization in the New World

Grades: 6th – 8th

What made Europeans want to explore? What problems did they encounter? What kind of relationships existed between the Europeans and the American Indians? These are just some of the questions that students will better understand during this exciting program. Students will learn about European exploration and the colonization of North America. Museum educators will guide discussions about the motivation, obstacles, and consequences of exploration, the interaction between indigenous groups and explorers, and the various factors that helped shape colonial America. Students will interpret and analyze primary and secondary sources, as well as handle reproduction artifacts.

Duration: 1 hour

History (VDOE): USI.1a, USI.1c, USI.1f, USI.4a, USI.4b, USI.5a


Extreme Deep: Survival and Exploration

Grades: 4th – 8th

Earth is 71% water, and yet only a relatively small portion of the world’s waters have been explored. Scientists and explorers around the world are discovering more each day utilizing special technology to reach the deepest depths of the ocean. During the program, students will discover the layers of the ocean, learn how humans explore the deep, and examine how adaptations play a role in animal survival. Students will also create their own submersible design along with playing an animal guessing game with sounds. 

Duration: 75 minutes

Science (VDOE 2018):

Elementary: 4.1 (c,d), 4.2, 4.3, 4.7; 5.1 (c,d), 5.5; 5.6; 5.8 (a,b,d)

Middle: 6.1 (c,d), 6.6 (b,e), 6.9 (a,c,e), LS.1 (c,d), LS.4, LS.5, LS.6, LS.7, LS.9, LS.11 (a,c), PS.6, PS.7

Next Generation Science Standard:

Elementary: 4-PS3-2, 4-LS1-1, 4-ESS2-2, 5-ESS2-1, 5-ESS3-1

Middle: MS-ESS2-4, MS-LS2-1, MS-ESS2-6

Principles of Ocean Literacy:

1) Earth has one big ocean with many features 5) The ocean supports diversity 6) The ocean and humans are inextricably connected 7) The ocean is largely unexplored

The Eye of a Hurricane: Predicting disaster in the Atlantic

Grades: 4th – 6th

Hurricanes are one of Earth’s most formidable forces. During this program, students will learn about the basics of hurricanes, what fuels these massive storms, and how they impact coastal communities, including Virginia. Students will also analyze a 19th-century barometer, courtesy of The Mariners Museum and Park Collection, and explore how sailors and scientists of the past studied these unpredictable storms. At the conclusion of the program, students will work collaboratively to build a prototype of a hurricane-proof structure and test it under 75 mile-per-hour winds.

Duration: 75 minutes

Science (VDOE 2018):

Elementary: 4.1, 4.4a, 5.1, 5.2, 5.6d, 5.7c, 5.8d

Middle: 6.1, 6.3a, 6.4, 6.6 (b,c,d,e,f), 6.7

Next Generation Science Standards:

Elementary: 3-5-ETS1-3, 4-PS3-2, 4-PS3-4, 4-ESS2-2, 4-ESS3-2, 5-PS1-1, 5-ESS2-1

Middle: MS-PS3-3, MS-ESS2-4, MS-ESS2-5, MS-ESS2-6, MS-ESS3-2

Principles of Ocean Literacy:

1) The Earth has one big ocean with many features 2) The ocean and life in the ocean shape the features of the Earth 3) The ocean is a major influence on weather and climate 6) The ocean and humans are inextricably interconnected


Ring of Fire: Earthquakes, Volcanoes, and Tsunamis

Grades: 5th – 8th

The Ring of Fire is a tectonically active zone that causes frequent and devastating natural disasters. In such a geologically dynamic area, mariners must be innovative when designing boats and ships. Powerful earthquakes that lead to tsunamis frequently damage boats and ships near the shoreline. In this program, students will work through the engineering design cycle to attempt to design and build a tsunami-proof boat model from common house-hold materials. They will then test the boats in our portable “wave tank” to see if their design stood up to the challenge of the tsunami waves. To prepare for the challenge, the Museum educator will review the layers of the Earth, plate tectonics and boundaries, earthquakes, volcanoes, and tsunamis.

Duration: 75 minutes

Science (VDOE 2018):

Elementary: 5.1, 5.2, 5.3, 5.5, 5.8

Middle: 6.1, 6.3a, 6.4 (b,c), 6.6f, PS.1, PS.5b, PS.6, PS.8

Next Generation Science Standards:

Elementary: 3-5-ETS1-1, 3-5-ETS1- 2, 3-5-ETS1-3, 4-PS3-2, 5-ESS2-1

Middle: MS-PS3-2, MS-PS4-2, MS-ESS2-1, MS-ESS2-2, MS-ESS2-3, MS-ESS3-1, MS-ESS3-2

Principles of Ocean Literacy:

1) The Earth has one big ocean with many features 2) The ocean and life in the ocean shape the features of the Earth 5) The ocean and humans are inextricably interconnected


Tales Across the Atlantic

Grades: K-3rd

For centuries, the tradition of storytelling flourished in every culture in order to entertain, teach life lessons, and explain the workings of the world through origin folklore. Here in the United States, the stories we love today were influenced by the converging African, European, and Native American cultures. In this engaging and informative program, students will listen to stories from these three cultures and understand how these stories are similar, despite originating in different parts of the world. Students will become active participants in this storytelling tradition by using body percussion, musical shakers, and movement, and be introduced to instruments from around the world. At the end of the program, students will create their own visual story “film-strip” with a beginning, middle, and end.

Duration: 60 minutes

History (VDOE 2015): K.1c, e, i, j, K.2a, K.10a, d, e, g; 1.1f, g, i, j, 1.10b, d, e, 1.13c, 

2.1c, e-g, i, j, 2.11e, 3.1b-g,i, 3.11e, 3.13

English (VDOE 2017): K.1a, h, j, K.2a-d, K.4c, K.8a, e; 1.1a, k, 1.2a-d, 1.7b, 1.9f-h; 2.1a, 

2.1l, 2.2b-c, 2.6d, 2.7f-g; 3.1a, f, 3.4e, 3.5b,d, j, l

Music (VDOE 2020): K.1c, K.3b, K.6b, K.7, K.14c, K.15b, K.17b-c; 1.1b-c, 1.3b, 1.6a-b, 

1.14c, 1.17c, e; 2.1c, 2.6a, 2.7, 2.15c, 2.16, 2.17d; 3.6b, 3.7, 3.15c, 1.17c

Visual Arts (VDOE 2020): K.1, K.2, K.12; 1.1, 1.2, 1.12; 2.1, 2.2, 2.12, 3.1, 3.2, 3.12

Technology & Painting: How do they Relate?

Grades: 3rd-6th

What exactly is technology and where can we find it? By evaluating and “visually reading” a painting of the Sailmaker’s Shop at Newport News Shipbuilding, students will be able to answer these questions and explore how paintings can teach us about the past while also displaying technology’s continual state of change. In this visually engaging program, students will interpret data, timelines, and charts; compare and contrast artifacts and images; and understand the difference between low-tech and high-tech. Students will also engage in an artwork-based primary source analysis activity where they have to use visual cues to determine what kind of technology is depicted.

Duration: 75 minutes

History (VDOE 2015): 3.1a, c, d, g, i; VS.1a-d, g, i; VS.2c; VS.10b, c; USI.1a-e, 

g; USI.2a, c, d; USII.1a-e, g; USII.2b

Math (VDOE 2016): 3.15b; 4.4b, d; 4.14a-b; 5.4; 5.16a-b; 6.6a-b

Science (VDOE 2018): 3.1a, c; 3.2a; 4.1a, c; 4.8a; 5.1a, c, e; 5.8d-e; 5.9a, c; 

6.1a-d; 6.4d; 6.8c

Visual Arts (VDOE 2020): 3.3c, 3.6, 3.7; 4.3b-c, 4.6, 4.7; 5.3b-c, 5.6, 5.7; 6.3a-c, 

6.6, 6.7

The Tsunami and the Sword 

Grades: 4th – 6th

During the fateful autumn of 1867, a yellow-fever epidemic and four major natural disasters, including a tsunami, rocked the islands St. Croix and St. Thomas in the Caribbean Sea. A former Civil War warship, USS Monongahela, was stationed for a political mission just off the shores of St. Croix during this time. Aboard the ship was a Civil War naval cutlass that remarkably survived the disasters. Eventually, this special cutlass was donated to The Mariners’ Museum and Park Collection and we can tell its story today. In this program, students will discover the voice and story behind the sword through primary and secondary sources along with participating in an artifact investigation activity. At the end, students will connect the story of the sword to the science, history, art, covered in the program and create their own interpretation of the story including poetry, art, dance, or other unique ways to tell the story. 

Duration: 75 minutes

Science (VDOE 2018): 4.4 (a,b), 4.7, 5.2(a), 5.3, 5.8 (a,b,d)

English (VDOE 2017):

4.1, 4.9, 5.1, 5.9, 6.1, 6.9

Next Generation Science Standard:

4-ESS2-2, 5-ESS2-1, MS-ESS2-1, MS-ESS2-2, MS-ESS2-3, MS-ESS3-2


Outreach programs are $4.50 per student. Payment can be made prior to our visit to your classroom or we can invoice following your program.


Book a Program

Reservations are required for all programs and are booked on a first-come, first-served basis. Programs fill quickly in the fall and spring, so try to make your reservations a minimum of two weeks in advance.

Educational programs offered by  The Mariners’ Museum and Park align with Virginia Standards of Learning, National Standards of Learning, Common Core, and where applicable, Next Generation Science Standards and Principles of Ocean Literacy.

To Book a Program, or if you have questions please contact:

Education Department
(757) 591-7745


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