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A unique educational experience
For those who lived through the Cold War, the conflict was an unforgettable period of scientific, technological and engineering achievements as well as social and political tension, punctuated by intense military crises. For most young Americans born after the demise of the Soviet Union, the Cold War era history seems remote and difficult to understand. However, the science and technology is more familiar to young American students' everyday lives.

Combining the Cold War history with student learning objectives in science and mathematics, creates a unique methodology for real-world learning opportunities in science, technology, engineering, mathematics and history, STEM-H, using the Cold War Gallery exhibits.

Educational Resources
In the summer of 2011, an educational program was initiated at the Cold War Gallery for talented teachers to develop Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) focused lesson plans, based on the exhibits and artifacts in the Cold War Gallery. The goal was to deliver these standards-based lesson plans through the web as a companion to the on-line Virtual Tour of the Cold War Gallery's exhibits. Eight teachers from around the United States, recipients of STEM Fellowship awards, traveled to Washington, DC, for a two week program focusing on the Covert Submarine Operations exhibit. The teachers were provided in-depth presentations on the submarine technology and engineering portrayed in the exhibit, from which they developed science and mathematics lesson plans connected to their teaching standards. The teachers toured nuclear submarines on a trip to the world's largest naval base in Norfolk, VA. The wide selection of lesson plans is available through the links below. The lesson plans incorporate the rich multimedia found in the Cold War Gallery Virtual Tour to make learning an engaging and fun experience for middle school and high school students, and to help teachers answer the question: "why do we need to know this?"

In the summer of 2012, our STEM program added history lesson planning to the fellowship program. Since the history of our Navy is also a history of technology, adding U.S. history teachers to our STEM fellowship teams provided an additional focus on Cold War history. Norman Augustine recently wrote: "Students who are exposed to more modern methods of history education - where critical thinking and research are emphasized - tend to perform better in math and science. In my position as CEO of a firm employing 80,000 engineers, I can testify that most were excellent engineers - but the factor that most distinguished those who advanced in the organization was the ability to think broadly and read and write clearly." The STEM-H lesson plans produced during the summer of 2012 included a historical focus on the 50th Anniversary of the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis: "Thirteen Days in October". One team of fellows continued lesson planning based on STEM-H inherent in the Covert Submarine Operations exhibit and toured a submarine in Norfolk, VA. The second team expanded the scope of the lesson plans to include air warfare, surface warfare, and research & development. They toured the Navy's flight testing and aviation R&D labs at Patuxent River Naval Air Station and the Aegis destroyer USS Barry (DDG-52). The lesson plans generated by both teams are included in the subject listings below.

For 2013 and beyond, the Naval Historical Foundation (NHF) intends to expand STEM-H fellowships to other Navy museums. In July 2013, the first of these "exported" fellowships will be conducted at the Submarine Force Library and Museum in Groton, Connecticut. Future NHF fellowships for middle school and high school teachers of science, technology, engineering, mathematics and U.S. History will be conducted at the historic Washington Navy Yard, Washington, DC and other participating Navy museums. Application details will be announced at NHF's website:

One of only 4.5 percent of this nation's museums accredited by the Association of American Museums, the National Museum of the United States Navy offers a unique educational experience through its outreach programs.
One of only 4.5 percent of this nation's museums accredited by the Association of American Museums, the National Museum of the United States Navy offers a unique educational experience through its outreach programs.

Lesson Plans
Our initial Lesson Plans are listed below. Please check back frequently to see the imaginative new ways that the Navy's Covert Submarine Operations during the Cold War can be used to teach 21st century students.

How Linear are Submarine Missiles?
Allows students to relate the dimensions and characteristics of submarine ballistic missiles to scatter plots, volume calculations, and linear regression analysis.

Dive! Dive! Buoyancy & Density
Allows students to explore the concepts of density and buoyancy and how the two are related.

Miniature Missiles!
Allows students to understand the role of nuclear ballistic missiles, create a 3-D drawing of a missile, and build a model to scale.

Scaling the Submarines!
Allows students to learn about the different submarines constructed during the Cold War, designing one in 3-D, and then build a model of the submarine.

Atoms and Nuclear Propulsion
Allows students to use the topic of nuclear powered submarines to learn about atomic structure.

Missiles on Target with Geometry
Allows students to recognize how cylinder volume is important in estimating solid propellant rocket motor capacity of the various stages of a submarine ballistic missile.

Nuclear Stockpiles during the Cold War
Asks students to re-express data sets based on nuclear stockpiles to make them more linear and allow for regression analysis.

Nuclear Energy: A HOT Topic in a COLD War
Familiarizes students with reactors, and asks them to calculate the capacity and cost/benefit of using nuclear fuels as compared to fossil fuels.

Missiles on a Mission!
Asks students to apply the concepts of teamwork, planning, design, building and testing of a ballistic missile.

Identifying Submarines and Missiles Using a Dichotomous Key
Allows students to learn how to read, use, and construct dichotomous keys.

How Does Sonar Work?  Mapping the Ocean Floor
Provides students a basic understanding of how SONAR (SOund NAvigation and Ranging) is used to map the ocean floor.

How Do Submarines "see" Underwater?
Provides students an understanding of how SONAR is used in submarines to develop a "picture" of what is in the water around them.

Making Waves: The US Military and Electromagnetic Waves
Provides students an understanding of the various ways electromagnetic waves are used in the US Navy, other branches of the military, and civilian life.

Projectile Motion and the Cuban Missile Crisis
Students will learn about projectile motion and the importance of precision and accuracy, and the details of the Cuban Missile Crisis.

The Hottest Days of the Cold War: The Cuban Missile Crisis
Provides students an understanding of the impact of technology on the Cuban Missile Crisis, as well as the nuclear threat presented during the standoff.

The Nuclear Umbrella: Still Here After the Cold War
Offers students an original way to study the Cold War period in American history and potentially raise student achievement through its uniqueness.

Sailing Blind: The Challenges of a Submarine's Navigator
Students will complete activities applying the concept of vector addition to a real world application - a submariner calculating the ship's position in the water while submerged.

Using Oral Histories to Learn About the Cold War
Students will become familiar with social science research methods and gain a deeper understanding of history through first-hand accounts.

Compare and Contrast Oral Histories About the Cold War
Students will compare and contrast events of the Cold War using a Venn diagram.

Cold War Slang Can Be Your "Thang"; Using Navy Terminology to Learn About the Cold War
Students will become familiar with Navy jargon and procedures and learn about the Cold War through the eyes of a Sailor.

Newton's Second Law Revisited: Sea vs. Air, Fast Attack Submarine vs. Airborne Laser
Students will review and practice calculations in this algebra based lesson plan.

Snap, Crackle, Pop: Submarine Buoyancy, Compression, and Rotational Equilibrium
Students will explain and perform calculations regarding the buoyant force on a submarine.

Ship, Submarine, and Sea Creature Sounds in the Sea
Students will explore sound waves and their applications, discovering the many aspects of sonar technology.

The Great Green Fleet: Freedom from Fossil Fuel, Operation Sea Orbit and the Nuclear Navy
Students will gain a basic understanding of programs developed by the Energy, Environment and Climate Change programs of the Navy.


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