Exploring Kalmar Nyckel’s STEM-to-Stern Program in Wilmington

Delaware STEM

Virginia Hanna joined the Kalmar Nyckel’s team as the new assistant director of education earlier this year. Since 1998, the tall ship Kalmar Nyckel has served as a floating classroom and an inspirational platform for educational outreach.  We offer people of all ages a variety of sea- and land-based learning and recreational experiences that promote STEM for the greater Delaware community.

Daniel Suchenski from the Delaware STEM Council visiting the Kalmar Nyckel to learn more about STEM-to-Stern – October 2015

Earlier this year, the foundation launched a new hands-on STEM field trip experience for Middle and High School students. The “STEM to Stern” program integrates Science, Technology, Math, and Engineering concepts aboard Kalmar Nyckel, our floating laboratory, and in the new Copeland Maritime Center. Students conduct experiments and work together to find solutions to real life STEM challenges that sailors have faced for centuries. Interactive Learning Stations include: Celestial Navigation, Sail Velocity and Wind Vectors, Buoyancy, Mechanical Advantage and so much more.

“To us STEM is not just an educational and workforce term for success, it’s what we are founded on; It’s what we do every day here at the Foundation.”   – Captain Lauren.

A few moments with our inspirational staff will spark that passion for inquiry based learning and the fun of all things STEM for our teachers, students, parents, and adults of all ages.

Celestial Navigation: Students will use longitude and latitude as well as navigation tools to plot a desired course. They will analyze the effectiveness of navigation at sea by “dead reckoning” and by using a sextant. Students will also learn significant celestial bodies used by sailors throughout history to circumnavigate the globe.

Sail Velocity and Wind Vectors: Students will determine true wind from relative wind and study ship velocity vectors! They will also analyze the wind directions and its impact on the ship as they sail down the Christiana River.

Buoyancy: Students will participate in a buoyancy ship-model building challenge. They will determine the center of gravity, buoyancy, hull resistance and wind force. Students will also learn and use the “Free Surface Effect.”

Mechanical Advantage: Students will determine the mechanical advantage of various machines used on the ship based on calculations from the Main Deck’s Physical features.

For more information please contact Ms. Hanna at:

Kalmar Nyckel Foundation
1124 East Seventh Street
Wilmington, DE 19801

Kalmar Nyckel: The Kalmar Nyckel Foundation is a non-profit educational organization dedicated to “preserving and promoting the cultural and maritime heritage of Delaware for the education and enrichment of all.”  The Foundation is a volunteer-based organization that built, owns, and operates the Tall Ship of Delaware, Kalmar Nyckel. The Kalmar Nyckel Foundation is a unique resource in the greater Delaware community. The Kalmar Nyckel is known for innovative educational and outreach programs. The Kalmar Nyckel also serves as a catalyst for social and economic development in and beyond the state of Delaware.

Delaware STEM Council: Delaware STEM was created to evaluate the state of STEM education in our schools and recommend ways to improve it.  Our goals are to:

  • Expand the number of Delaware students who ultimately pursue advanced degrees and careers in STEM fields and broaden the participation of women and minorities in these fields.
  • Expand the STEM capable workforce to create, grow and attract STEM related businesses to Delaware.
  • Increase STEM literacy for all Delaware students including those who pursue non-STEM related careers, but need STEM skills.