Classroom Programs


When scheduling your field trip, add a Classroom Program to the day!

These programs are designed to complement GulfQuest exhibits and are aligned with state standards for science, mathematics, social studies, and language arts for all of the Gulf Coast states.

  • Classes are taught privately in a GulfQuest classroom by trained, credentialed GulfQuest educators.
  • Two state-of-the-art classrooms with smartboards: Classroom 1 capacity is 28 students; Classroom 2 capacity is 24 students. A minimum of 10 students is required to reserve a classroom.
  • Class length is 30 minutes.
  • Classroom programs must be reserved and are offered on a first-come, first-serve basis. Classroom programs are included for free when you book a field trip
  • Classroom programs run from the beginning of August through the end of May.

Under each class description, you will find your science, social studies and math standards for Alabama, Mississippi and Florida. Please note that while they are not listed, we do focus on Mississippi's Science Inquiry Standards and Florida's Practice of Science Standards.

2019-2020 Classroom Programs


  1. Ocean Creatures

This is the perfect class for our youngest mariners. They will play toss with an Earth Ball (think beach ball) and share what they see (land, water, clouds). They will find the Gulf of Mexico on both the Earth Ball and on a flat map. They'll also learn about some cool fish found in the Gulf.  At the end of the lesson, students will create a painted fish print that they can take home. (Related Exhibits: Ocean Planet and Comings and Goings)

AL Social Studies: K: 8

MS Science: K: 4b

FL Social Studies: K: G.1.2, G.1.4

Grades K-2:

  1. Day Sky, Night Sky

Don’t be left in the dark! Students will compare the day sky and night sky. They’ll discover that objects in the sky can help them find their way, just as they did for early explorers. They’ll create their own constellation and then make a sundial to take home. (Related Exhibits: The Sextant, Cross-Staff and Quadrant, Night Skies)

AL Science: 1st: 4

AL Social Studies: K: 8, 10

MS Science: K: 4f; 1st: 4e

FL Science: K: E.5.2, E.5.3; 1st: E.5.1

  1. Sink or Float

What makes things sink in water or float on top? Students will experiment with different objects to see if they will sink or float. They’ll also learn about floating in freshwater vs. saltwater. Finally, they'll use different materials to make model life jackets. (Related Exhibits: What’s Inside, Depth Soundings)

AL Science: K: 2

AL Social Studies: 1st: 8

MS Science: K: 2a

FL Science: K: P.8.1; 1st: P.8.1

Grades 2-4

  1. Can You Dig It?

Students will uncover, sort, and classify artifacts just like archaeologists do on Dog River and other excavation sites! The students will use directional terms to describe where they found the artifacts in their dig site. Then they’ll use the artifacts to tell a story about the people who used them. Students will be introduced to Native Americans and early settlers of Alabama. (Related Exhibits: Shores of the Gulf, Stream of Time)

AL Science: 3rd: 9, 11

AL Social Studies: 2nd: 3, 4; 3rd: 13

AL Math: 2nd: 25, 26; 3rd: 25

MS Science: 2nd:2b, 2c, 4g; 3rd: 2a, 5a

MS Math: 2nd: 2.G.2, 2.G.3; 3rd: 3.G.2

FL Science: 2nd: E.6.2, P.8.1

FL Social Studies: 2nd: A.2.1, A.2.2, A.2.4

FL Math: 2nd: G.1.2, G.1.2; 3rd: G.1.1, G.1.2

  1. Time for Trade 

Trading has been part of the human story since the dawn of time. People first bartered goods and services. Later, money became the medium of exchange for goods. Learn about imports and exports to the Port of Mobile, and how these items are shipped. Students will use their map skills to plan various trade routes. (Related Exhibits: Welcome Aboard, What’s Inside, Comings and Goings, Cargo Conductor, Crane Operator, Tools of the Trade, Portholes to the Sea)

AL Social Studies: 2nd: 6, 7, 8; 3rd: 5, 6, 7, 8

MS Social Studies: 2nd: 2a, 2b, 2c, 4a, 4b, 4c; 3rd: 2a, 2b, 4a, 4c

FL Social Studies: 2nd: G.1.2, G.1.3, G.1.4, E.1.2, E.1.3; 3rd: G.1.1, G.1.2, G.1.3, G.1.4, G.1.5, G.1.6, G.2.1​

Grades 4-6:

  1. Artifact or Fiction

Students will play the role of archaeologists as they excavate a dig site on Dog River. They will create a grid of the area and make inferences about the people who used the items that are uncovered. Artifacts are related to Native Americans and French, Spanish, and American settlers. (Related Exhibits: Shores of the Gulf, Stream of Time)

AL Social Studies: 4th: 2; 5th: 1

AL Math: 4th: 26; 5th: 23

MS Social Studies: 4th: 3a, 6a; 5th: 5c; 6th: 4a

MS Math: 4th: 4.G.1; 5th: 5.G.1

FL Social Studies: 4th: A.1.1, A.3.1; 5th: A.1.2, A.3.2, G.1.2, G.1.4; 6th: G.2.1, G.2.4, G.5.2, W.2.1, W.2.3

FL Math: 4th: G.1.1; 5th: G.1.1

  1. Hurricane Harbor 

A harbor can provide safety during wartime and during a storm. This class combines aspects of maritime geography and navigation. Students will become meteorologists as they learn about the potential hazards of hurricanes and discover how to spot an advancing storm. They'll conduct a science experiment that demonstrates the properties of cold air vs. warm air over the ocean. The experiment will help illustrate how tropical cyclones form and strengthen. Students will also get to learn how to get boaters to safety until the storm passes.  (Related Exhibits: The Crow’s Nest, Extreme Storms, Weather Signals, Ocean Planet)

AL Science: 4th: 16, 17; 6th: 1, 12

AL Social Studies: 4th: 1; 5th: 1; 6th: 11, 12

MS Science: 4th: 4c; 5th: 1a, 1c, 4c; 6th: 1a, 1c

MS Social Studies: 4th: 5f; 6th: 5c

FL Science: 5th: E.7.3, E.7.6, E.7.7; 6th: E.7.2, E.7.6, E.7.7, E.7.8

FL Social Studies: 4th: G.1.3; 5th: G.3.1; 6th: G.5.3

  1. It’s Not My Fault 

We experience weather in our area that is not our fault – lightning storms, tornadoes, and hurricanes. What we don’t experience that often are earthquakes. In this lesson, students will learn about plate tectonics, the causes of earthquakes, and how we use seismographs to measure the energy released by an earthquake. Students will examine four seismic zones that affect Alabama and plot recent U.S earthquakes. They will then construct a tower that can withstand the violent forces of an earthquake. (Related Exhibits: Ocean Planet)

AL Science: 4th: 2, 4, 6, 12, 14; 5th: 14; 6th: 4, 5, 6, 9

AL Social Studies: 4th: 1; 5th: 1

MS Science: 4th: 2c, 4b; 5th: 2a, 2c, 4a, 4b; 6th: 2c, 4a, 4b

FL Science: 4th: P.11.1; 6th: E.6.1, E.6.2​

  1. Port Power

This class requires some heavy lifting! Students will learn how simple machines follow the Law of Conservation of Energy. They’ll discover that the total amount of energy never changes but they can increase their mechanical advantage as they experiment with different types of pulley systems. They'll also learn about methods used to load and unload cargo at the Port of Mobile, the nation’s 9th largest port by tonnage. (Related Exhibits: Cargo Handler)

AL Science: 4th: 1, 2; 5th: 6, 7

AL Mathematics: 4th: 2, 3, 5, 13; 5th: 2, 3, 13; 6th: 1, 3

MS Science: 4th: 2c; 5th: 2a, 2c, 2d; 6th: 2c, 2f

MS Mathematics: 4th: 4.OA.2, 4.OA.3, 4.OA.5, 4.NF.2; 5th: 5.OA.2, 5.NF.3; 6th: 6.RP.1, 6.RP.3

FL Science: 5th: P.13.1, P.13.2; 6th: P.11.1, P.13.1

FL Mathematics: 4th: OA.1.2, OA.1.3, OA.3.5, NF.1.2; 5th: OA.1.2, OA.2.3, NF.2.3; 6th: RP.1.1, RP.1.3

Grades 7-12:

  1. Full Steam Ahead 

The steam engine revolutionized transportation in the 1800s. Steam powered boats were not only used to move cargo through America's river systems, they were also used for racing, which often proved to be dangerous! In "Full Steam Ahead" students will learn about the design of steam vessels and observe a demonstration of how steam pressure can move a propeller. They will then use the engineering design process to make model paddle boats. Finally, they will race their boats against their classmates to see whose boat can travel the farthest!(Related Exhibits: Sea Sense, Steam Engine)

AL Science: 8th: 7, 9, 10, 13; Physical Science: 2, 7, 8, 11, 12; Physics: 1, 2; Earth and Space Science: 13

AL Social Studies: 7th Geography: 10

MS Social Studies: 8th: 2b

MS Science: 7th: 2c, 2f; 8th: 2c, 2f; Physical Science: 2b, 2c; Physics: 3a

FL Science: 7th: P.11.2​

  1. Trade Routes

With the Port of Mobile as the backdrop to this class, students will learn which types of goods have been imported and exported throughout history. During an interactive game, the students will demonstrate the concept of global interdependence and learn just how connected our industries are with the rest of the world. (Related Exhibits: Welcome Aboard, What’s Inside, Comings and Goings, Cargo Conductor, Crane Operator, Ocean Planet, Tools of the Trade, Portholes to the Sea, Great Gulf Challenge)

AL Social Studies: 7th Geography: 1, 2, 6, 7; 7th Civics: 7; 12th Economics: 1, 3, 6

MS Social Studies: 7th: 7b; 8th: 2; Intro to World Geography: 5a, 5b, 5c, 5d; Economics: 2

FL Social Studies: 7th: E.1.3; 8th: E.1.1, E.3.1; 9-12th: G.4.4, E.1.4​

  1. Motion in the Ocean

Our oceans are complex, dynamic systems. In this lesson, students will learn about different types of ocean currents and how they are affected by factors such as density, temperature, buoyancy, and wind patterns. Students will then discover how ocean currents impact weather, climate, marine ecosystems, and even human activities such as trade. After the presentation, students will engage in two hands-on experiments that demonstrate how ocean currents form and why they are so vital to the health of our planet.

*Note: Due to prep time, this lesson can only be requested for field trip groups of 50 or fewer.    


AL Social Studies 7.3, 7.11
AL Science 7.11
AL Environmental Science Standards 11,12
AL Earth Science Standards 14,15


Movie "bad guys" give pursuers the slip when they escape capture. At sea, it was sometimes necessary to "slip" the anchor cable to escape from peril, either leaving it behind or dragging it alongside until it could be hoisted safely.