“There are no passengers on Spaceship Earth. We are all crew.” Marshall McLuhan.

Students will board the USS Cyber, a virtual oceanographic research vessel modeled after the flagship of NOAA’s fleet for a sail that begins in Woods Hole, Massachusetts, and ends in San Diego, California. As the crew of the ship, students will perform scientific experiments and collect data that will teach them about the geology, chemistry, and physics of the ocean. From the Bay of Fundy in Nova Scotia to the Caribbean and Antarctica, from the coral reefs to the hydrothermal vent communities deep in the ocean, students will make observations about the sea’s ecosystems and the sometimes-unexpected life within them. There are no traditional tests. Students are expected to participate fully as members of the expedition. If you have ever wondered what it might be like to go to sea, pack your bags, and join us.

This is a survey course covering the basics of physical oceanography and marine biology presented in a fun and engaging format. There are no traditional tests. Students will be graded on their weekly assignments, which will include both individual and group projects. In lieu of a midterm or final exam, students will be expected to complete a major individual project each term. There will be a strong multimedia component to the course, and students will have the opportunity to choose from reading assignments that meet their comfort level.


  • Students will be able to describe the relationships among the ocean, the atmosphere, and land masses and make predictions about how changes in one will affect the others.
  • Students will be able to describe different ocean ecosystems and demonstrate an understanding of the relationships between the different organisms that inhabit them and among the ecosystems themselves.
  • Students will demonstrate an understanding of how the biology, chemistry, physics, and geology of the ocean cannot be separated from each other. Students will be able to predict how changes in one, change the others.
  • Students will understand that politics and economics affect the sustainability of our oceans and be able to defend their own positions on how the use of ocean should or should not be regulated.
  • Students will learn collaboration skills necessary to work effectively as part of a scientific research team.


VHS courses follow an academic calendar and run for 15 weeks:

Fall 2018

Sept 5th - Dec 18th, 2018 (15 wks)

Spring 2019

January 23rd - May 7th 2019, (15 wks)


It is strongly recommended that students have a working knowledge of basic Algebra, Geometry and Trigonometry.


Students will be expected to provide “kitchen science equipment” such as a clear plastic container, food coloring, aluminum foil, paper towels, etc.

Click here to view the course syllabus


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