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Virtual Education Programs

The Mariners’ Museum offers education programs to students across the nation and the world. Through virtual education programs, we can present engaging content to your students no matter where you are located. No need to arrange for buses or collect permission slips. All programs are interactive which allows students to participate in activities with a Museum Educator in real time. You simply need a computer with a camera and an internet connection. You may also use video conferencing equipment or software if you wish.

Virtual Education Programs

Theatrum Orbis Terrarum 1592, by Abraham Ortellius.


Age of Exploration

Grades: 4th – 12th

Students will discover an era when cartographers were still mapping the world and explorers were finding new landmasses. Museum educators will lead discussions on the economic and cultural life of the Old World, the profitable spice trade, European efforts to chart a sea route to Asia, and other factors that accelerated European interest in exploration. Teachers will be sent spice packets prior to the program so students can handle the spices as the museum educator discusses their importance. Students will also examine early European exploration of North and South America and the navigational instruments used during the golden age of sail. Be sure to visit our Ages of Exploration Online Exhibition to learn more about early exploration.

Duration: 45 minutes

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

USI.1a, USI.1b, USI.1c, USI.2a, USI.4a, USI.4b, USI.4c

WHII.1a, WHII.1b, WHII.1c, WHII.2d, WHII.4a, WHII.4b, WHII.4c, WHII.4d


Are We There Yet?: Exploring Navigation and Migration

Grades: 6th – 10th

Did you know that migrating animals and humans share a surprising amount of navigational methods? During this program, students will learn through hands-on STEM activities about common animal navigational methods and how they are similar to human navigation. The program will highlight endangered or threatened species of migrating animals from the Atlantic Ocean or Chesapeake Bay. At the end of the program, students will be tasked with developing an initial game idea that can help teach people about animal migration and navigation.

Duration: 45 minutes

Science (VDOE 2018):

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:

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

Chinese “Junk” and Other Vessels  

Grades: 3rd

The Chinese were famous for their “junk,” but probably not the type of junk you’re thinking about. This introductory program focuses on the geography, architecture, and maritime vessels of Ancient China. Viewing many objects from our online collection, students will compare and contrast different artifacts. Finally, students will engage in a paper-folding activity of a boat.

Duration: 30 minutes

History (VDOE): 3.2, 3.5, 3.6, 3.7, 3.8

Extreme Deep 

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 different layers of the ocean, examine where animals and plants live, and how animals communicate. They will identify how deep ocean animals have survived and thrived in harsh conditions through adaptations. Students will also dive into how humans have explored the ocean and end with a guessing game of marine animal sounds.

Duration: 45 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

Grades: 4th – 6th

Hurricanes are one of Earth’s most formidable forces. During this program, students will explore the characteristics of hurricanes, current Atlantic hurricane season information, and the impacts on coastal communities. Students also will dive into how scientific instruments can be used to predict severe weather. Scientific investigation and inquiry skills will be practiced by examining two unique barometers from the Museum’s collection and developing their own scientific tool to predict a hurricane. Classes have the option to create their own simple air barometer after the program to explore their local weather phenomena.

Duration: 45 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

Greece is the Word

Grades: 3rd

Ancient Greece is one of the oldest civilizations in the world. Learn about some of the history and culture that still attracts visitors today. In this interactive program, students will examine unique artifacts of vessels from The Mariners’ Museum and Park Collection. Geography and architecture will also be discussed. Students will have a choice to create a model of the Parthenon or Ancient Greek pottery.

Duration: 30 minutes

History (VDOE): 3.3, 3.5, 3.6, 3.7, 3.8

Iron Meets Iron: The Battle of USS Monitor and CSS Virginia

Grades: 4th – 6th

What happens when iron meets iron? Find out by investigating the battle between USS Monitor and CSS Virginia. Using historical images, students will gain an understanding of the importance of this ironclad battle to Virginia, the American Civil War, and navies around the world, even today. During the program, students will become detectives who learn about six individuals involved in the history of this battle through a primary source analysis activity. After the program, students will be able to use a cipher disk and crack a coded message.

Duration: 45 minutes

History (VDOE): VS.1a-g, i, VS.7a-c; USI.1a-g, i, USI.9a-f; USII.1a-g, i

Mariners of Moana:  An Artifact Exploration

Grades: 3rd – 5th

Polynesia comes to life in this interactive virtual exploration of the indigenous peoples of Oceania. By comparing images from the Disney movie Moana to artifacts in the Mariners’ Museum’s collection, students will learn about the traditions of South Pacific Islanders and their unique maritime history. Students will interpret objects, paintings, maps, dance, and specialized charts in order to understand the distinctive and varied cultures present in islands from Hawaii to New Zealand. Archaeological investigation will also be explored as students develop their own hypotheses to answer the questions of the Pacific Islander Long Pause as it relates to human and animal migration. After the conclusion of the program, students are encouraged to build their own navigational chart with found items around their home or classroom, just like the mariners of the Marshall Islands.

Duration: 45 minutes

History (VDOE 2015): 3.1a-g, j; 3.7; VS.1d, g; USI.1a, d, g; USI.2a, c, d

Science (VDOE 2018): 3.1a, c, d; 3.2a-b; 3.4a, c; 4.1a-d;4.3a, c; 4.7b-c; 5.1a-d; 

5.2a-b; 5.3a-b, d; 5.9a-c

English (VDOE 2017): 4.2a, c; 4.3a-b; 5.2a, d; 5.3a-c

Dance Arts (VDOE 2020): 3.1; 3.6; 4.1; 4.6; 4.7; 5.1; 5.6; 5.7

Visual Arts (VDOE 2020): 3.1a; 3.2b; 3.3c; 3.6a, c; 3.7; 3.12; 4.1; 4.2b; 4.6a-d; 

4.7; 4.11; 4.12; 4.16b; 4.17; 5.1; 5.2a; 5.6a-d; 5.7; 5.12; 5.16b; 5.17

Pyramids, Boats and Emojis

Grades: 3rd

What do emojis and hieroglyphics have in common? To find out, journey back in time as we explore the history and geography of Ancient Egypt. Students will examine unique artifacts such as a miniature ship and a painting to learn more about Ancient Egyptian life. Using modern day hieroglyphics, students will get creative by developing their own story. Finally, they will complete a folding activity to create their own pyramid using a $1 bill.

Duration: 30 minutes

History (VDOE): 3.2, 3.5, 3.6, 3.7, 3.8

Ring of Fire: Earthquakes, Volcanoes, 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 attempt to design and build a tsunami-proof boat model from simple household items. To prepare for the challenge, the Museum educator will review the layers of the Earth, plate tectonics and boundaries, earthquakes, volcanoes, and tsunamis.

Duration: 45 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

Sailing into Thanksgiving

Grades: K – 2nd

Leaving England for the New World, the Pilgrims sailed across the ocean on their small ship Mayflower. Join us in learning about life on board Mayflower and how the ship moved. Students will also learn about the Pilgrims and their life in America, and what inspired them to celebrate the first Thanksgiving. Students will have an opportunity to make a story bracelet so they will be able to tell others about the Pilgrims.

Duration: 30 minutes

History (VDOE): K.1, K.7, K.10, K.11, 2.1, 2.5, 2.8, 2.9, 2.10

Common Core Standards:

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.: K.2, K.3, 1.2, 1.3, 1.4, 1.5, 1.6, 1.7, 1.9, 2.2, 2.3, 2.4, 2.5,2.6, 2.7, 2.9, 2.10, 3.2, 3.3, 3.4, 3.5, 3.6, 3.7, 3.9, 3.10

 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 and movement, and be introduced to instruments from around the world. After the conclusion of the program, students are encouraged to create their own visual story “film-strip” with a beginning, middle, and end.

Duration: 45 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 and a 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. After the program’s conclusion, students will be encouraged to find an example of technology in their house or classroom and build a visual timeline of that object’s change throughout history. 

Duration: 45 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): 3.1a, 3.2a-b, 3.3c, 3.6, 3.7, 3.12; 4.1, 4.2, 4.3b-c, 4.6, 

4.7, 4.12; 5.1, 5.2, 5.3b-c, 5.6, 5.7, 5.12; 6.1, 6.2, 6.3a-c, 6.6, 6.7, 6.12

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 all four 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 of the session, they will connect the story of the sword to science, history, art, and maybe even their own experiences. After the program, students are encouraged to find an artifact in their home, conduct a short investigation of the artifact, and create art that connects the artifact to the story they unearthed.

Duration: 45 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

When in Rome

Grades: 3rd

When in Rome, do as the Romans do. Learn about this fascinating ancient city in the heart of Italy. This 30-minute program will provide students with a general insight into Ancient Roman history, architecture, and government. Students will be exposed to a variety of artifacts and even learn how to create their own mosaic masterpiece.

Duration: 30 minutes

History (VDOE):3.3, 3.5, 3.6, 3.7, 3.8




Virtual Education Programs are $125 per program

Payment can be made prior to the connection 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’ 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



Most of our virtual education programs are scheduled through ZOOM Cloud-based video conferencing. ZOOM is free to use and requires minimal equipment. For more information, please visit


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