Our high school programs use inquiry methods to provide experiential learning to students. In these programs, students are presented with real world experiences that challenge their thinking and ask them to examine their own thinking about our history and the state of our estuary.
The Rivers are the Roads From Our Past: Come Explore them on the Gundalow
Join the crew aboard the Gundalow and sail on the historic waters of the Piscataqua Region. The Reading Our Rivers program starts with the idea that the rivers are our roads from the past and challenges students to think about the history that unfolded in this area as we travel along these routes.
While onboard, students participate in a series of group discussions that build up through time from the last glacial period. Through these discussions, the crew will paint a picture of human and natural history leading up to the first explorers, the ensuing deforestation of the region, the arrival of factories, right up through modern changes in our uses of energy. We will use the landmarks we sail past and these discussions to place these ideas in a larger scale historical context.
In addition to group discussions, we will also break into smaller stations for hands-on activities that talk about the role of the Gundalow and shipbuilding in the area, the importance of natural resources and the subsequent depletion of those resources and the changes in sense of place. In these stations we’ll do a plankton tow, look at maps and primary documents and try out traditional ship building tools.
To help connect the sailing experience to the classroom, we work with each teacher to align our discussions with classroom learning and state frameworks. Having the opportunity to sail the waters and literally read the historic landscape through which we travel brings history alive and encourages students to think about history in a new way.
Our standard 2.5-hour program is typically based in Portsmouth and can accommodate up to 27 students (with four adults). Each season the Piscataqua visits one or two towns “up river” or in Great Bay, and we’ll be happy to arrange programs in other towns when possible.
See how our program aligns with state and national standards, frameworks and principles: reading-our-rivers-with-standards
We look forward to seeing you on board the Piscataqua!
Every sail on the Gundalow incorporates elements of STEAM into the program, but our Sailing with STEAM sails challenge students to go deeper with additional learning opportunities in engineering, math, technology, art or science. During each 2.5-hour sail, teachers select from a variety of STEAM learning stations that help connect the classroom curriculum to the experience out on the water.
The gundalow, Piscataqua, serves as a unique floating classroom and lab, sailing on the tidal waters of New Hampshire and southern Maine. Our Sailing with STEAM Sails use hands on and inquiry-based learning strategies to engage students. Our STEAM station options include: learning to navigate and use a compass, exploring marine life through a plankton tow and touch tank, using our 3D watershed model to talk about human impact on the watershed, testing water quality with a variety of oceanographic tools, looking at examples of engineering and simple machines onboard, calculating cargo capacity and speed, and using your senses for drawing.
Out Sailing with STEAM program can all be combined with our Waterfront programs for a full day program.
See how our activities are correlated with state frameworks and closely aligned with principles of both estuarine and ocean literacy: sprogram-overview-sailing-with-steam-standards Gundalow crew will work with you to customize the trip and guarantee your class a meaningful educational experience. Before each sail, teachers select 3 of the following learning stations:
Human Impact on the Watershed: Students use our 3D watershed model to explore how our actions on land impact the watershed and river on which we sail
Marine Food Chain: Using a plankton net, student engage in a 5 minute tow to collect plankton. After looking at the plankton under magnification, students, student work their way up the food chain by looking at various filter feeders and eventually a lobster.
Sense of Place: During the sense of place station, students work with a nautical chart, compasses, binoculars, and other tools to determine their location. Based on students interest, the crew will discuss the history or ecology of the region through which we are sailing.
Water Quality: Using oceanographic sampling tools, students explore the various qualities of the river water. Students will test for temperature, salinity, dissolved oxygen, pH, and potentially nitrates and turbidity.
Math on the Gundalow: During this station, students use real world math skills to determine the cargo capacity of the Gundalow. Additionally, students can calculate depth and speed through the water.
Engineering: The Gundalow is an excellent example of engineering principles at work. Students will identify different examples of engineering on the vessel and use a block and tackle to discover mechanical advantage (this can also be added as a 4th abbreviated station based on teachers interest)
Art on the Water: Look closely at the Gundalow, not as a whole, but as a sum of lots of parts. During this station, students are given time to make observations and sketch what they see with an emphasis on shading and seeing simple shapes and small details.
Otter Trawl: (optional group activity) For interested groups that are sailing in Great Bay or other small rivers, we are happy to substitute a group activity with our otter trawl. Discover what’s on the bottom of our rivers.
To book a trip or to speak with a member of our education staff, please contact us at 603.433.9505 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Program materials can be viewed at www.gundalow.org
We look forward to seeing you on board the Piscataqua!
Scientific Inquiry Aboard the Gundalow
Join us for a one of a kind scientific inquiry experience aboard our floating classroom, the only operating Gundalow in the world, the PISCATAQUA. This program engages students in the scientific process and walks each class through conducting their own scientific experiments using oceanographic tools and sampling equipment.
Each Scientists at Sea Program starts with a 1-hour classroom visit where students gain background knowledge needed to plan their experiment. By exploring the scientific process and using students own knowledge and curiosity, students work in small groups to design a scientific hypothesis. These hypotheses become the guide for planning their scientific exploration on the Gundalow.
During the 3-hour sail on the Gundalow, students work in 3 watch groups to gather data for their scientific research projects. Our staff use the time onboard to engage students in deploying the scientific equipment and analyzing the results. In addition to the deployments, we also offer opportunities for students to set the sail, steer the boat, do an otter trawl and learn about the role of the Gundalow in the Piscataqua Region.
Following the sail, a member of our crew comes back into the classroom to help students synthesize their data. Each group examines the data collected while on the Gundalow and makes conclusions on their research project. Classes are encouraged to present their research to their school or community through displays, posters or presentations
Our sailing season begins mid-May and runs through October, with sails offered mornings and afternoons Monday through Friday. Most of our sails leave from Prescott Park in Portsmouth, although each season the Piscataqua visits one or two towns “up river” or in Great Bay, and we’ll be happy to arrange programs in other towns when possible. For schools that are far away or who have time constraints, the classroom visits can also be done the day of the program on shore in Prescott Park.
Our activities are correlated with state frameworks and closely aligned with principles of both estuarine and ocean literacy. Your students will come away from this experience with a greater ability to problem solve, think critically, and work as a group.
Gundalow crew will work with you to customize the trip and guarantee your class a meaningful educational experience.
See how our Scientist at Sea Program aligns with state and national standards: scientists-at-sea-with-standards
We look forward to seeing you on board the Piscataqua!
Explore the Portsmouth Waterfront with one of our shore-based programs, or combine a sail on the Gundalow with our waterfront program and make a day of it!
During the waterfront program we offer several options for the shore based programming. These programs are engaging and hands-on. W. Below are the program options for the waterfront program.
Piscataqua People (grades 3 and up): Travel back in time and take part in settling the Piscataqua Region. Become a Native American, a Shipbuilder, or a merchant and make decisions about how you live, where you live, and how you adapt to the changing settlement. This role-playing game introduces students to the the region and asks them to settle and barter with other early settlers.
A Walk in the Park: A History of the Waterfront (all grades): Take a walk around Prescott Park and discover the history of the region through stories, photos and the historical landmarks of the area. Take a step back in time and imagine what Prescott Park looked like when Puddle Dock ran through the area, or find the oldest grave in the cemetery.
Tide-Pooling Scavenger Hunt (all grades): Explore our coastline by looking for different critters in the water’s of Piece Island. Spending time along the shore is a wonderful segway into looking at plankton on the Gundalow. Our crew and volunteers will spend time exploring the area with you and answering questions.
Shore-Side Scavenger Hunt (all grades): Our waterfront is a bustling place with activity and lots of things to see. Let students discover the waterfront in small groups using our scavenger hunt as they explore all that a working waterfront has to offer.
Simple Machines (grades 3 and up): Explore how simple machines have been used throughout history to make work easier. Through student exploration, we will try out levers, pulleys, inclined planes, screws and a wedge.
Water Quality (grades 4 and up): During this hands-on, hour long station, students will design several basic scientific hypotheses about what they will find in water of the Piscataqua River. We will then use a series of scientific equipment to test for temperature, salinity, Dissolved Oxygen, pH, and turbidity. Students then prove or disprove their hypothesis and discuss challenges of carrying out real world scientific research.
Sketching in the Park (all grades): After a brief conversation about making artistic observations, students are given supplies and time to doing their own sketching in the park.
For more information on Rates and Reservations, visit our booking page, or email email@example.com
“If you are looking for a field trip that will WOW your students, look no further! It is here on the Gundalow! I have brought children on a bright sunny day and on a rainy freezing rain day and the outcome is always the same from my fourth graders…..WE LOVED IT….best field trip ever! The hands on science, the wonderful teachers and the beautiful scenery make it a yearly field trip for my class!” -Jacquie DeFreze Grade 4 Rye Elementary