Connecting to STEM


As the educational debate continues and evolves, STEM education (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) is often at the core of any advanced or proposed curriculum.

“STEM education—is vital to our future—the future of our country, the future of our region and the future of our children. Besides, STEM is everywhere; it shapes our everyday experiences,” says the group Science Pioneers, one of the many organizations endorsing more STEM curriculum in education.

We’re thinking the same way. As we build our original Viking boat and develop our corporate leadership program, so many additional opportunities are coming together on board to provide a unique STEM learning experience for middle school students. Putting that into the context of a Viking boat we think provides an amazing adventure learning experience.

The backbone of our teaching and corporate leadership programs is a recognition that the Vikings were original explorers who had advanced the technology of boatbuilding and navigation that was not surpassed for centuries. And an actual and authentic reconstruction of a 1000-year-old Viking boat provides a rich vehicle for small groups to experience hands on, the many aspects of math, physical science and engineering.

At Norsvald, we incorporate this philosophy in an on-the-water practical component, as well as dockside and classroom sessions. Side-bar conversations offer ‘history’ and ‘art’ lessons with a Viking/Norse theme.

For example, starting with the vessel, hull and rig materials and construction offer a look at the engineering behind designing hull shapes, understanding displacement and simple hydrostatics. Further learning can also be weaved in as the boat’s wood species and their properties in the marine environment provide a more scientific view. What makes fibers so strong? What’s the difference between natural and manufactured ropes and sails?

One of the exciting parts about this program is that the opportunities for learning are endless. As our curriculum comes together, we hope to share more components that will help encourage further STEM education in the community.