Student and STEAM Programs

Learn about the region's rich maritime heritage at Independence Seaport Museum, located on the Delaware River--just a short walk from the Liberty Bell. Wander through galleries highlighting immigration, underwater exploration, and sea commerce; examine nautical art, artifacts, and intricate ship models; watch craftsmen building wooden boats; and explore the mighty Cruiser Olympia, and the World War II and Cold War Submarine Becuna - both National Historic Landmarks.

All programs are led by a museum educator and include a classroom lesson, hands-on activity, Museum galleries exploration, and tours of the Cruiser Olympia and the Submarine Becuna (unless otherwise noted).

The lessons meet various Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware curriculum standards for Ecology; Geography; History; Math; Reading; Writing; Language Arts; Science and Technology.

Call or email Group Sales Department at 215-413-8622 or groupsales@phillyseaport.org today to reserve your program.

 History Programs

Recommended for Grades K-3

Little Skippers

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


Recommended for Grades 3-6

Real Pirates of Philadelphia

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

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

Immigration-Philadelphia's Port of Freedom

Language Arts/Social Studies

Did you know that prior to 1776 an estimated 190,000 Europeans immigrated to Philadelphia? In the 1820's alone 20,000 immigrants came to the City of Brotherly Love, almost 10% of the national total. Discover the process, trials, and tribulations facing different nationalities as they attempted to call Philadelphia home.

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

Recommended for Grades 6-8

African American Mariners at Sea

Social Studies/Language Arts

African Americans' naval service stretches back to the beginnings of the nation. Learn how African American mariners have shaped our naval history from the Revolutionary War to the present day.

NJCCS: Speaking & Listening SL.6.2; Social Studies 6.1
PACCS: Speaking & Listening 1.6; Economics 6.1, 6.2; History 8.1

Recommended for Grades 9-12

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


STEAM Programs

Recommended for 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

Recommended for Grades 3-6

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

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

An american shad story

Science/Ecology/Technology/Conservation/Engineering/Social Studies/Performing Arts/Physical Education/ELA

Today, the Delaware River is an important waterway for trade, but did you know it once supported one of the largest fishing industries in the nation? Discover the long and arduous journey of the American Shad, and the conservation efforts established to bring them back. Students will participate in lively activities to recreate the Shad’s anadromous trek both before and after the industrialization of the Delaware River and its tributaries.

NGSS: 3-5-LS2, 3-5-ESS3, 3-5-PS2, 4-5-PS3, 3-5-ETS1
NJCCS: 21st Century Life & Careers 9.1.A, 9.1.B, 9.1.C, 9.4.A; Health & PE 2.5.A; Social Studies 6.1.B, 6.1.C; Language Arts 3.3
PACCS: Speaking & Listening 1.6, Environment & Ecology 4.1.3-6A-F, S4.B.3.2, S4.B.3.3, 4.1.4.E, 4.3.3-6A; Pennsylvania History 8.2.3-6C; Science Technology & Engineering 3.4B

Recommended for Grades 6-8

Simple Machines at Sea


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 100lb 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

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

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

Recommended for Grades 9-12

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

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