Sailing with STEAM

Bring your Students out on the Water for a Complete STEAM Experience

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 Shore programs for a full day program.

We look forward to seeing you on board the Piscataqua!


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 Program materials can be viewed at

Contact Us

Gundalow Company
60 Marcy Street, Portsmouth, NH 03801
(603) 433-9505
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