About The Science Ship™ Program

The Science Ship™

Many of the greatest discoveries that shaped us as a people and formed our current scientific thought occurred on the decks of sailing ships. In the age of burning fossil fuels, a sailing ship is about as “green” a technology as is possible. The carbon signature is low because you do not have to burn a 1,000 gallons of fuel to arrive at a destination. Sailboats have a natural rhythm with the sea and it makes the journey more than just about getting from one place to the next. It’s about adventure, discovery, self-fulfillment, and leadership. It’s about pitting yourself up against the elements with your shipmates. It’s about a team.

Morning Star Full Sail IIThe Science Ship™ is a life altering experience that provides students the opportunity to work with scientists and filmmakers uncovering science and solving important environmental issues on the decks of a Tall Ship named the RV Morning Star Explorer. Our classroom is not constrained by four walls or by the limitations of simply receiving instruction from a teacher or following lesson plans from books. Instead it is nature’s classroom, hands-on, engaging, fun and relevant to a student’s world views. Students leave the classroom and investigate the world as Blue Water Explorers.

They learn skills like seamanship, exploration, scientific methods, film, questioning, explaining and making predictions. They see the world from a multitude of academic perspectives due to the complexities of the physical data they encounter and learn how scientific methods and film are used to solve local and international environmental problems. They learn how the collective needs and wants of societies and people work together to drive innovation. Students will understand the connection and importance of the global environment in ways that makes science learning relevant. The on-board leaning experience prepares them for careers in a society driven by technology and innovation and creates a first-hand understating of what it means to live sustainably and harmoniously with our oceans and lands. Students and filmmakers share their experiences with audiences through satellite uplinks from the decks of the ship and through documentaries composed under the guidance of accomplished filmmakers.

The Science Ship™ program is not just for young adults. Our program starts at age 5 teaching basic science concepts through an animated film series entitled Stevie’s Morning Star Adventures©. The series follows the main characters Stevie© and her brother Iz©, as they join ship activities with their friends and go from their animated world onto the decks of the RV Morning Star Explorer to help students, scientists and filmmakers uncover science. We have a strong leadership team of renowned educators, scientists, seamen, adventurers and filmmakers. They understand the effects that learning by doing, STEAM and NGSS have in shaping and influencing a student’s education and career choices.

Program Basics

Confucius and Aristotle were early proponents of learning by doing. Socrates saw learning through questioning, inquiry, and critical thinking. According to Freeman and Sokoloff (1996),” thematic approaches are powerful tools for teaching and learning. Thematic learning works best when it is interdisciplinary, built around a central question, and rooted in an approach that links experience and reflection”.

For example: medical students learn to diagnose and treat actual patients by working in a hospital as part of their learning process. The participation affords them a hands-on learning experience, something they will not receive in a lecture hall.

The Science Ship™ works in the same manner. It also teaches students how to obtain and readily organize information, understand its value, retain it and then apply what they have learned. The process has more meaning, because students are actively engaged in steering the outcomes. It allows students to bridge the digital world and the natural world to create a learning experience not found in a classroom. Scientific thoughts and trends are more readily comprehended and retained. It creates a cohesive learning paradigm that is rich with engaging content and based on real-world applications. Unlike textbook driven instruction, STEAM and NGSS based instruction puts the students in charge of asking questions and discovering answers.

Leadership, program affiliates and citizen scientists work as facilitators and expedition leaders, coordinating and leading group interactions with research topics, science instruction and film. Celebrities act as inspirational role models demonstrating their commitment to education and the environment. Crew instruct students in seamanship.