Teachers | Civil War and USS Monitor | Shipwrecks and STEM
Wrecks as Reefs | Outer Banks Trail | Miscellaneous | Newsletter Archives


Teachers building an ROV
Teachers building an ROV during a teacher workshop. (Photo: Monitor Collection)

The Monitor National Marine Sanctuary offers a variety of free resources for educators. Resources include social studies activities, as well as science, technology, engineering, art, and math (STEAM) activities, lesson plans, and guides. Upon request, the sanctuary staff offers free in-school programs on a variety of topics for the K-12 audience. Free educator workshops for school staff can also be scheduled year round.

Below are six sections: Civil War and USS Monitor; Shipwrecks and STEM; Wrecks as Reefs; Outer Banks Trail; Miscellaneous; and Newsletter Archives. Each section is filled with STEM activities, lesson plans, and great information.

For additional information about specific products and programs, or to request hard copies of products, please contact monitor@noaa.gov. When requesting hard copies of items, please remember to include your physical mailing address.

Civil War and USS Monitor

The USS Monitor and NOAA: A Look Through Time Video
Travel back to 1862 in this educational video to learn how the USS Monitor turned the tide of the Civil War. Learn about the discovery of the shipwreck in 1973, the site's designation as the first national marine sanctuary, and the recovery of major iconic artifacts and how they are being conserved today. Included are the recent events to identify two Monitor sailors' remains and their burial at Arlington National Cemetery. Funding for this video was provided in part by NOAA & The Preserve America Initiative. (Grades 4 to Adult)

Click here to view the Monitor video on YouTube

USS Monitor Legacy Website

Visit the legacy website for an in depth look at the USS Monitor, the ship's crew, and to find out what's happening today.

USS Monitor Curriculum - Grades 4-8

Monitor National Marine Sanctuary, in partnership with The Mariners' Museum, is excited to provide this guide on the USS Monitor and the lasting impact this innovative ship left on naval history. This comprehensive guide explores the tensions surrounding the Civil War, the transitions from wood to iron ships, and the Monitor today. Although designed to be taught as a unit, each lesson can be used independently or lessons can be combined in multiple ways to create a curriculum tailored just for your students. Click here to download your copy of USS Monitor: Discovering and Exploring America's Most Historic Ironclad

Activities for Grades 6-12

 Putting the Pieces Together
Maritime archaeologists use photographic images to help them study shipwrecks. Students learn how photomosaics are created and their importance in documenting a shipwreck when they use this 1974 photomosaic image of the USS Monitor.

 Sleuthing Through 1862
Students become detectives and use various clues to discover the identity of a sailor whose remains were discovered on a fictitious Civil War shipwreck.

 Lights, Cameras, Action
The Battle of Hampton Roads was one of the greatest battles in naval warfare. It was the first time iron met iron. In this activity, students discover how the USS Monitor and the CSS Virginia were developed, engineered and constructed, and learn the ultimate, long-reaching outcome of the Battle of Hampton Roads. Students will present their findings with supporting evidence in a music video created with Animoto or other media programs.

 Drum Beats of the Drummer Boys
During the Civil War, boys as young as 9 years of age wanted to go to war. Often these young boys enlisted as drummer boys. This activity focuses on the role of the drummer boy and the challenges he faced.

 A Look through Time
Explore how the introduction of ironclad ships affected the outcome of naval battles, a naval blockade, as well as changing naval history. Research the building and naval actions of the first ironclad ships and create a timeline of the USS Monitor and the CSS Virginia from conception to sinking. Use of LiveBinders and TimeToast is optional.

 Growing the Family Tree
In 2002, the remains of two sailors were found during the excavation of the Monitor’s turret. In this activity, discover how NOAA is trying to identify these remains and how forensics will play a role. Also, learn about genealogy and trace your own family tree.

 When Johnny Comes Marching Home
During the Civil War, music played a huge role. Sailors, soldiers, slaves, and men, women and children of all ages sang songs that told the story of their hardships, love of country, sweethearts, battles they fought and more. Delve into the music of the 1860s to learn how songs helped to bind people together.

 The Civil War in Review Crossword Puzzle
Students will use the knowledge they learned about the Civil War to complete the crossword puzzle.

 Test Your USS Monitor Knowledge
See how many correct answers your students can get on this crossword puzzle.

 Monitor Bingo
Test your students' knowledge of the USS Monitor as they try to answer all the questions in a row or diagonal to win at this Bingo game.

 Clash of Armor
A middle school social studies activity highlighting the Battle of Hampton Roads. (The Mariners’ Museum)

 Mapping the Monitor
An elementary and middle school activity where students map artifacts discovered on the Monitor onto a shipwreck site plan using a simple grid. (See below for additional shipwreck mapping activities.)

 Iron Cheesebox
A high school chemistry activity where students learn about conserving artifacts recovered from the Monitor. (NOAA’s National Ocean Service)

 Monitor Mosaic
A middle school activity where students can try their hand at piecing together photographic images of the Monitor.

 Monitor  Paper Model
Make your own Monitor  model at home. Or contact our office for a hard copy of this activity.

 Monitor Origami
Make your own origami Monitor with these easy to follow instructions.

Shipwrecks and STEM

 Maritime Archaeology: Discovering and Exploring Shipwrecks

This curriculum introduces students to the world of NOAA and its Maritime Heritage Program. Students learn 1) why shipwrecks are important, 2) the tools used to study shipwrecks, 3) about the complex and costly process of recovering and conserving artifacts, and 4) how NOAA works to protect our maritime heritage. Although the curriculum is designed to be taught as a unit, each lesson can stand on its own. The lessons are aligned with national standards.

 Mock Shipwreck: Mapping the Past
This high school activity engages students in teamwork as "divers" to create sectioned, scaled drawings of a mock shipwreck. They make connections to maritime history, mathematics, and technology.

  Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) In a Bucket
Check out this excellent manual to get you started building your own underwater robot. The manual includes a detailed list of ROV parts and pieces and where to find them. (Doug Levin, NOAA Chesapeake Bay Office).

 Remotely Operated Vehcicles Curriculum Guide

This curriculum introduces middle and high school students to ROVs and careers in marine science and underwater archaeology. Students use problem based learning and hands-on STEM activities to solve real world problems, while learning about the engineering design process. Curriculum can be used in its entirety or activities can be used independently.

Wrecks as Reefs

 Shipwrecks as Reefs: Biological Surveys

A middle school lesson that highlights shipwrecks as artificial reefs. Students conduct a mock biological survey of fish populations using practiced methods of visual census transects and stationary quadrats. Students apply and practice data sampling, collection, and analysis techniques.

Outer Banks Trail

Students experience the unique maritime culture of the Outer Banks, N.C., when they watch one, or all ten, video clips and listen to the oral histories of those who experienced WWII on the shores of the Outer Banks. Each video is accompanied by supporting activities and a set of focus questions, to be answered while the students view the video. To view the collection of videos and listen to the oral histories click here.

Miscellaneous Activities

A high school Oceanography activity where students compare information from the Monitor NMS Data Buoy to other data buoys located on the Outer Banks of North Carolina.

 Ocean Acidification: Plotting the Dangers
Middle school students discover how carbon dioxide makes the ocean more acidic while discussing its effect on marine ecosystems.

 Marine Debris: The Probability of Human Impact
Elementary students discover the detrimental effects of marine debris on ocean ecosystems and discuss how the presence of marine debris in food supplies can increase over time through a probability experiment.

Education List Serve
This digest format list serve provides regular updates on sanctuary activities, the latest in information on shipwrecks and important marine science issues, educational resources, useful web sites, career and job opportunities in marine science, and more. To subscribe, send an email to monitor@noaa.gov with “education email list subscription” in the subject line.

Single copies of various posters are available while supplies last. To find out which posters are currently available, please contact monitor@noaa.gov.

Newsletter Archives

Archived newsletters that tell the story of the Monitor's recovery and conservation from 1982 to 2003.

 Cheesebox Vol. 1 No. 1

 Cheesebox Vol. 8 No. 1

 Cheesebox Vol. 2 No. 2

 Cheesebox Vol. 9 No. 1

 Cheesebox Vol. 3 No. 1

 Cheesebox Vol. 9 No. 2

 Cheesebox Vol. 4 No. 1

 Cheesebox Vol. 10 No. 1

 Cheesebox Vol. 5 No. 1

 Cheesebox Vol. 11 No. 1

 Cheesebox Vol. 6 No. 1

 Cheesebox Vol. 12 No. 1

 Cheesebox Vol. 7 No. 1

 Cheesebox Vol. 13 No. 1


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