There are many ways for homeschooling families to learn at the HSMC Visitor Center. You can explore the Visitor Center's exhibits on your own, attend one of our public programs, arrange a private class for your homeschool group and/or attend our Homeschool Day events held in the fall and spring.

COVID-19 Update:

In our continuing efforts to stem the spread of COVID-19, especially among our more vulnerable staff, volunteers, and visitors – the Visitor Center is closed and all in-person education programming has been curtailed until further notice. We are offering fun virtual opportunities for homeschool families this Fall. Be sure to check out program details below.

Fall 2020 Virtual Family Homeschool Programming

Oregon Sea Grant’s Fall Family Homeschool Day is going virtual! We will be offering a variety of age-specific programs via the Zoom meeting platform for you and your family to enjoy. To maintain our traditional Fall Family Homeschool Day theme, we kindly ask that you determine the program (listed below) that works best for your family’s age-range and register for the program as a family unit. Please note that we anticipate younger children needing help with some of the hands-on virtual activities. Space is limited for each program - so be sure to register soon to ensure you get your 1st choice of programming.

 

Virtual Family Homeschool Day Logistics:

  • Structure/Format:

    • Two-hour virtual meeting via Zoom (with access to video and audio) where educators engage families in hands-on marine science activities. To keep with our traditional fall family-focused homeschool day theme, parents/guardians will take classes with their children.

    • Families will be mailed a “Homeschool Day in a Box” prior to the homeschool day event. The box will include all materials needed to participate in virtual activities and additional activities for families to do together on their own time. 

    • Important Note: Families will receive the Zoom meeting link separately one week prior to the event. All “Homeschool Day in a Box” boxes will be shipped via priority mail 1.5 weeks prior to the virtual event.

  • Cost: $25 per person (adults and children)

    • Cost includes staff time and shipment of all “homeschool day in a box” materials necessary to engage in all activities.

    • All participants (adults and children) will receive their own set of materials.

  • Registration:

    • During registration, please register an adult/guardian first (who will serve as the primary adult). You will have the opportunity to add all additional adults and children individually as you progress through the registration process. 

    • Please ensure the address provided is the address to which you would like your homeschool day in a box sent.

    • Registration will close approximately 1.5 weeks prior to the scheduled event to ensure homeschool day in boxes can be packed and shipped in a timely manner (dates are listed within each program offering below).

    • If your preferred program fills quickly, please add your family to the waitlist and if there is enough interest, we will consider adding additional program dates. You are welcome to register for your second choice in the meantime.

    • Feel free to reach out to the Marine Education Coordinator ([email protected]) with any questions or concerns regarding the waitlist and/or program preference.

Virtual Family Homeschool Day Programs

Thursday, November 12th, 1 - 3 pm (PT)
Registration Closed on Sunday, November 1st

During this virtual homeschool school program, participants will engage with Oregon Sea Grant Marine Education staff and explore different habitats ranging from off of the coast of Oregon to Antarctica! 

 

Virtual Programs Include:

Sticky Science - Discover the sticky parts of live sea anemones, sea urchins, mussels, barnacles, and other marine organisms during this live animal interaction class. Find out what causes the stickiness, and learn how being adhesive helps animals defend themselves, capture food, and/or maintain their position in tide pools. 

Antarctic Food Webs - Learn about Antarctic food webs and how they compare to Oregon coast food webs. Participants then will mimic Antarctic critters as they play “Scientist Says” and then create their own Antarctic food web on their own time.

Float a Boat - You can’t explore Antarctic habitats without a boat, right? Participants will engage in the process of science and investigate design and density as we conduct our very own “Float a Boat” experiment. Does a boat’s shape affect the amount of weight/cargo the boat can hold? This hands-on program will help us find out. 

 

Additional (Non-Virtual Time) Activities:

  • Antarctic Food Webs - participants will be provided Antarctic animal cut-outs and cardstock and be challenged to make their own Antarctic food web. 
  • Float a Boat - participants will be provided extra materials to continue to build and test additional boat shapes to see if they can find a boat shape that can hold the most weight/cargo.
  • “Sticky” Crafts - each participant will be provided the materials to engage in “sticky” crafts as they make their own jellyfish and squid puppets.

Tuesday, November 10th, 1 - 3 pm (PT)
Registration closed on Sunday, November 1st

During this virtual homeschool program, participants will engage with Oregon Sea Grant Marine Education staff and explore a variety of ocean engineering activities.

 

Virtual Programs Include:

Plankton Buoyancy Challenge - Learn about plankton, from how researchers study these drifting organisms on oceanographic cruises, to how the plankton themselves stay near the ocean’s surface without being able to move very far on their own. Participants will then test their new buoyancy knowledge as they attempt to engineer their own “plankton” that will hover in the water just below the surface.

Float a Boat - Participants will engage in the process of science and investigate design and density as we conduct our very own “Float a Boat” experiment. Does a boat’s shape affect the amount of weight/cargo the boat can hold? This hands-on program will help us find out. 

Build a Hydraulic Arm - Learn about the technology and state-of-the-art equipment that research vessels have to assist researchers on oceanographic cruises, including hydraulic arms and lifts that help launch scientific equipment. Can you engineer a hydraulic arm to launch and recover scientific packages around the house? Join us and find out.

 

Additional (Non-Virtual Time) Activities:

  • Plankton Buoyancy Challenge - families can continue their race against each other to see who can engineer a plankton model that is able to hover near the surface.
  • Float a Boat - participants will be provided extra materials to continue to build and test additional boat shapes to see if they can find a boat shape that can hold the most weight/cargo.
  • Build a Hydraulic Arm - participants can continue to make modifications to their hydraulic arm that will lift the heaviest “scientific package” (household item) they can find.
  • Crab and Whale Origami - for some added fun, you will also have the chance to engage your creative side as you make crab and whale origami. 

Thursday, November 19th, 1 - 3 pm (PT)
Registration closed on Sunday, November 8th

During this virtual homeschool program, participants will engage with Oregon Sea Grant Marine Education staff and explore a variety of ways researchers collect data to learn more about animal identification and behavior.

 

Virtual Programs Include: 

Ethograms - Learn how researchers use ethograms as a tool to collect data on animal behavior. Participants will work together to construct their own ethogram while observing animals on live aquarium footage.

Orca ID Methods - Experience first-hand how marine mammal researchers uniquely ID orcas via their fins and saddle patches through an engaging orca bingo activity.

Speedy Science - Engage in the process of science by virtually racing shore crabs to determine which variables impact shore crab speed. Participants will make observations from video footage, generate hypotheses, and more during this fun and interactive program.

 

Additional (Non-Virtual Time) Activities:

  • Ethograms - participants will use additional data sheets and newly gained knowledge to construct their own ethograms on a pet, backyard critter, or using zoo/aquaria webcams.
  • Hermit Crab/Pill Bug Habitat Preference Experiment - continuing with the crab fun, participants will determine the ideal habitat for hermit crabs by viewing pre-recorded hermit crab videos. Do hermit crabs prefer sand or rocky/shell habitats? Using their experimental expertise, families will be challenged to head outside and design their own pill bug habitat experiment.
  • Crab and Whale Origami - for some added fun, you will also have the chance to engage your creative side as you make crab and whale origami.

Friday, November 13th, 1 - 3 pm (PT)
Registration closed on Sunday, November 1st

During this virtual homeschool program, participants will engage with Oregon Sea Grant Marine Education staff and explore a variety of ways researchers use technology to explore various ocean habitats and sea life.

 

Virtual Programs Include:

Deep Sea Coral Exploration - Participants will watch ROV footage of deep sea coral reefs and learn how researchers collect data to quantify the abundance of different species found inhabiting these unique West Coast habitats.

Sounds of the Sea - Gain insight into how researchers use hydrophones and bioacoustics to identify unique sounds of the sea. Then, test your ability to identify underwater sounds during an interactive “sounds of the sea” game.

Build a Hydraulic Arm - Learn about the technology and state-of-the-art equipment that research vessels have to assist researchers on oceanographic cruises, including hydraulic arms and lifts that help launch scientific equipment. Can you engineer a hydraulic arm to launch and recover scientific packages around the house? Join us to find out.

 

Additional (Non-Virtual Time) Activities:

  • Deep Sea Coral Exploration - Families will be provided access to additional ROV footage so they can continue quantifying species found across different deep sea coral habitats. 
  • Build a Hydraulic Arm - Participants can continue to make modifications to their hydraulic arm so that they can launch and recover “science packages” (aka household items) of varying sizes and weights. For an extra challenge, participants can consider engineering an arm at minimal cost that also maximizes crew safety.
  • Plankton Classification - Learn how OSU plankton ecology researchers are using a unique imaging instrument to quantify and identify plankton in the water column. Contribute to a large-scale community science effort by helping the research team classify the plankton on the thousands of images collected via an online “Plankton Portal.”
  • Interested in hearing from STEM professionals what it’s like to work in science? Be sure to register for one of our upcoming Careers in Science webinars. Additional registration and information is located on our career day website.

Tuesday, November 17th, 1 - 3 pm (PT)
Registration closed on Sunday, November 8th

During this virtual homeschool program, participants will engage with Oregon Sea Grant Marine Education staff and explore a variety of ways researchers are trying to understand the impacts of humans on ocean and coastal habitats and the animals that live there.

 

Virtual Activities Include:

Ethograms - Marine mammal researchers are trying to understand the impacts of human disturbance on whales, sea lions, and other species. Learn how ethograms can be used as a tool to track changes in animal behaviors. Participants will work together to construct their own ethogram while observing animals on live aquarium footage.

Marine Debris, Microplastics, and More - Examine sandy beach habitats and try to determine what animals are found there based on biofacts in your own “beach in a box”. Get a closer look at marine debris and microplastics from sand samples collected along the Oregon coast and explore the many shapes, materials, and origins of the granules we call ‘sand’ through several hands-on activities.

Understanding Sea Level - Participants will learn how scientists are monitoring and measuring changing water levels across the globe and then be able to use a series of interactive maps, data, and high resolution images to hone their data crunching skills on their own time.

 

Additional (Non-Virtual Time) Activities:

  • Ethograms - Participants will use additional data sheets and newly gained knowledge to construct their own ethograms on a pet animal, backyard wildlife, or using online webcams.
  • Understanding Sea Level - Participants can gain a greater understanding of changing sea levels by working through a series of online lessons that use real sea level data, images, and maps collected by NOAA.
  • Beach in a Box Exploration - Participants will be provided materials and worksheets to take a closer look at the biofacts provided in their beach in their beach in a box. Consider drawing what you see or writing a biofact-inspired haiku to see if your family members can guess the item you were exploring based off of your 5-7-5 syllable clues. 
  • NOAA Marine Debris Tracker - Headed to the beach this Fall? Use the NOAA Marine Debris Tracker mobile app to log all trash you find along the beaches and coastal waterways. 
  • Neighborhood Clean-up - Consider picking up trash during your next walk around your local neighborhood. Cleaning up our local areas will reduce the trash that becomes unwanted marine debris in our ocean and on our beaches. What items did you find that could end up on beaches and how do you think they might impact wildlife?
  • Interested in hearing from STEM professionals what it’s like to work in science? Be sure to register for one of our upcoming Careers in Science webinars. Additional registration and information is located on our career day website.
Homeschool Day Parent Feedback:

"The teachers are stellar, the experiments are fresh and new, and the curriculum appeals to all our family in different ways . . . Thank you for a high quality experience. We will be back again for sure!"

"The teachers were knowledgeable, organized, focused and made the learning fun. It was an excellent day! I would definitely recommend this to other home school families!"