History and STEAM Programs

Field trips include self-guided exploration of the Museum, Cruiser Olympia and Submarine Becuna.

Groups do have the option to add-on one of the programs below at an additional cost per student. All lessons meet Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware curriculum standards for history and STEAM.

For more information and to book your trip, contact Alexis Furlong, Director of Sales and Marketing, at afurlong@phillyseaport.org or 215-413-8622. Reservations must be made in advance.

Grades K-3

Deep Sea Science


Explore the messier side of marine science as we learn about what lies beneath the deepest parts of the ocean. Students will gain hands-on knowledge as they learn about deep sea pressure, underwater volcanoes and hydrothermal vents, and benthic sea detritus. Your students will even have the opportunity to pilot an ROV underwater robot as part of their visit!

NGSS: K-PS2, K-PS3, K-2-ESS2, 2-LS2, K-2-ETS1 NJCCS: 21st Century Life & Careers 9.1.B, 9.4.O; 5.2.P.A.1, 5.2.2.A.2, 5.2.P.B.1
PACCS: Speaking & Listening 1.5, Environment & Ecology 4.1.K-2, 4.1.K-2.F, Chemistry 3.2.PK.B1, 3.2.K-2, 3.1.PK.B1, 3.2.K-2, 3.1.PK.A1, 2, 3, 9; 3.2.PK-2.B6, 3.2PK-2.P7

 Life of a Sailor

Language Arts/Social Studies

Ahoy, mates! Experience the life of a sailor for a day while enjoying an interactive lesson about sea trade, ship cargo, and the sometimes dangerous adventures of a sailor's shipboard life. One student will even get to dress like a sailor!

NJCCS: Social Studies 6.1, 6.3; Speaking & Listening SL1.3
PACCS: Speaking & Listening 1.6; Social Studies 6.1, 6.2, 6.3; History 8.1

Super Subs

Art/Social Studies

Dive into science and engineering while discovering the awesome technology behind submarines. This interactive program examines the importance of submarines, maritime language, roles and responsibilities. Your students will create their own submarine craft in this fun, hands-on program.

PACCS: English Language Arts 1.2; History 8.2, 8.3, Speaking & Listening 1.5
NJCCS: Social Studies 6.1, 6.3; Speaking & Listening SL1.3

Grades 3-6

A Pirate's Life for Me?

Language Arts/Social Studies

Looking for a buried treasure? For a pirate, this was often not a chest of gold but sugar, tobacco, or other ship cargo. Learn about early maritime economics from the point of view of 17th and 18th century pirates and privateers. Discover the role of pirates in Philadelphia. Plus, one lucky student will get to dress up like a pirate!

NJCCS: Speaking & LIstening SL.3.3; Social Studies 6.1, 6.2, 6.3;  Technology 8.1
PACCS: Speaking & Listening 1.6; Economics 6.1, 6.2, 6.4; Geography 7.1; History 8.1.3.B; 8.1.6.B; 8.2.3.D

Building Philadelphia

Social Studies/Language Arts

How did Philadelphia become the major city that it is today? Not just history but also culture, innovation & commerce shaped this city. Simulate the building of the city by working together to plan Philadelphia.

NJCCS: Speaking & Listening SL.3.3; Social Studies 6.1.4.B.2, 6.1.4.D.3, 6.1.8.A.2, 6.1.8.B.2
PACCS: History 8.2.4-5.A,, 8.2.4-5.C, 8.2.4-5.D, 8.3.4-5.C, 8.3.4-5.D 

Early Explorers

Language Arts/Social Studies/Geography

Life aboard an early explorer's ship was not easy. Find out how these hardy adventurers survived long voyages and a rough diet. Explore the concept of trade using explorers and their connection to Native Americans.

NJCCS: Speaking & Listening SL.3.3; Social Studies 6.1, 6.2 
PACCS: Speaking & Listening 1.6; Economics 6.1, 6.2, 6.4; Geography 7.1, 7.3

Sound Under the Sea 

Science/Language Arts/Ecology/Technology

If a whale falls underwater and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound? Discover how sound is used by both marine life and humans at sea, the technology of acoustic equipment, and how it has evolved. Participate in an experiment that will demonstrate how sound behaves differently underwater versus in the air. Discuss the current concerns surrounding sound at sea and how it can negatively affect marine life, and what is being done to reduce the impact. 

NJCCCS:  Science 5.1A, 5.1C, 5.2A, 5.2B, 5.2D; Technology 8.2B, 8.2D; Language Arts 3.4; 21st Century Life & Careers 9.1F
PACCS:  Science Technology & Engineering 3.1A, 3.1C, 3.2A, 3.2B, 3.3A, 3.4B, 3.4E; Environment & Ecology 4.1, 4.5; Geography 7.4B; Speaking & Listening, 1.6

What Floats Your Boat?

Science/Social Studies/Math/Technology

How does a giant ship stay afloat? How does a submarine stay submerged?Learn about the physical principals involved in keeping a boat afloat through a series of fun hands-on activities.

NJCCS: Language Arts 3.G.2, Math 4.1, 4.2; Science 5.1, 5.2; Social Studies 6.1, 6.3; Technology 8.2
PACCS: Speaking & Listening 1.6; Math 2.1, 2.3; Science Technology & Engineering 3.4; History 8.1

Grades 6-8

Ecological Stowaways

Science/Technology/Engineering/Social Studies/Language Arts

Cargo ships travel around the world, but so do secret passengers hidden inside.  Discover how organisms can be accidentally transported from one port to the next, how this can negatively impact the plants and animals already living there, and what is being done to stop it.  Students will participate in an activity to demonstrate how invasive species can really mess things up.

NJCCCS:  Science 5.1A, 5.1C, 5.3B, 5.3C, 5.3E; Technology 8.2A; Social Studies 6.2B; 21st Century Life & Careers 9.1F; Visual & Performing Arts 1.3C 
PACCS:  Science Technology & Engineering 3.1A, 3.1B, 3.1C, 3.3A, 3.4B, 3.4E; Environment & Ecology 4.1, 4.2, 4.3, 4.5; Geography 7.4B; Arts & Humanities 9.1B 

Simple Machines Challenge


How did early sailors move heavy objects like coal and supplies about the vessel? Simple machines helped the crew carry out such tasks daily. Students will learn the basics of  pulley systems, then gain first-hand experience of the importance of mechanical advantage by trying to move and lift a 100 lb crate.

NJCCS: Science 5.2; Technology 8.2; Math 6RP.1, 6.SP.5
PACCS: Math 2.1, 2.3; Science Technology & Engineering 3.4

Your Tides of Freedom: An Exhibit Storybook

Social Studies/Language Arts 

This lesson teaches the history of the African presence on the Delaware through discussing how a museum develops thought-provoking exhibits for the public. 

Reading in History and Social Studies: CC.8.5.6-8.A. ; CC.8.5.6-8.B. Writing in History and Social Studies CC.8.6.6-8.B.; History CC8.1.9 A., 8.1.U.A, 8.1.9.B, 8.1.U.B, 8.1.W.B, 8.1.9.C, 8.1.U.C, 8.1.W.C, 8.2.9.B. 8.2.U.B, 8.2.9.D, 8.2.U.D, 8.3.9.B., 8.3.U.B, 
What Floats Your Boat, Archimedes?
Science/Technology/Engineering/Math/Social Studies/Language Arts 
A spin-off of our “What Floats Your Boat? Literally.” program, we will examine the scientific principals of buoyancy and density with some hands-on activities, including a take-home activity for your students.  Students will also use basic equations to calculate the density of objects in order to predict their buoyancy in water; paper, pencils, and calculators are required.
NJCCCS:  Science 5.1, 5.2E; Math 4.1, 4.2, 4.3, 4.4, 4.5; Language Arts 3.4; Technology 8.1B, 8.1C, 8.1F, 8.2B; Social Studies 6.2
PACCS:  Science Technology & Engineering 3.2B, 3.4B, 3.4C, 3.4E; Math 2.1, 2.2, 2.3, 2.4, 2.5, 2.6, 2.9; Speaking & Listening 1.6; World History 8.4A

Grades 9-12

Ecology of the Delaware

Science/Technology/Engineering/Math/Language Arts

Conduct hands-on water quality experiments to gauge the health of our most precious natural resource, and learn why protecting it is so important.  Students will learn about environmental science and marine biology concepts first-hand by using real water testing equipment in the Delaware River, and will then be able to relate their findings to how aquatic life may be affected. 

NJCCCS:  Science 5.1, 5.3B, 5.3C, 5.3E, 5.4F; Technology 8.1E, 8.1F, 8.2A, 8.2C; 21st Century Life & Careers 9.1A, 9.1C, 9.1F, 9.3B, 9.4A; Math 4.1, 4.2, 4.3, 4.4, 4.5; Language Arts 3.4 
PACCS:  Science Technology & Engineering 3.1A, 3.3A, 3.4B; Math 2.1, 2.2, 2.3, 2.4, 2.5, 2.6; Environment & Ecology 4.1, 4.2, 4.5C; Speaking & Listening 1.6

Explosions! When Good Ships Go Bad

Science/Technology/Engineering/Social Studies

We explore the effects of pressure, containment, and ignition that have lead to some of the worst disasters at sea.  We will also be doing an experiment with an explosive ending! 

NJCCCS:  Science 5.1, 5.2; Social Studies 6.1; Technology 8.2C 
PACCS:  Science Technology & Engineering 3.2A, 3.2B, 3.3A, 3.4B, 3.4E; US History 8.3C

Tides of Freedom: The Lear Green Story

Social Studies/Language Arts 

Students will learn the story of Lear Green, a woman who escaped slavery in a trunk and develop a mini exhibit about her life while answering some of the questions museums must also answer when creating new exhibits.

Reading in History and Social Studies: CC.8.5.6-8.A. ; CC.8.5.6-8.B. Writing in History and Social Studies CC.8.6.6-8.B.; History CC8.1.9 A., 8.1.U.A, 8.1.9.B, 8.1.U.B, 8.1.W.B, 8.1.9.C, 8.1.U.C, 8.1.W.C, 8.2.9.B. 8.2.U.B, 8.2.9.D, 8.2.U.D, 8.3.9.B., 8.3.U.B,

WWI: Choosing Sides & America's View

Social Studies/Language Arts

How did alliances bring about a world war? What started WWI and why did each country choose to enter this war? Discover the meaning & purposes of alliances and simulate how these alliances led to WWI.

NJCCS: Speaking & Listening SL.9-10.1; Social Studies 6.2.12.D.4.A, 6.2.12.B.4.A 
PACCS: Speaking & Listening 1.6; Geography 7.1; History 8.1.6-8.A, 8.3.6-8.D, 8.4.6-8.C, 8.4.6-8.D

You May Fire When Ready, Gridley


Students will examine how the Cruiser Olympia used a quadratic equation to aim its 5-inch guns. Capable of firing a 55 pound projectile up to 5 miles toward its intended target--an amazing feat for a ship built long before GPS, digital computers, or radar! Students will learn how parabolas are useful for more than just firing, such as baseball or football.

NJCCCS:  Math A-APR.1, A-REI.4, A-REI.12, F-TF.1, F-TF.8; Science 5.3; Social Studies 6.2; Technology 8.2 
PACCS: Math 2.3, 2.8, 2.9 2.10; Science Technology & Engineering 3.2
 *Self-guided historic ships tour is available in place of the guided tour for students in Pre-K through Grade 2.