Stories from the sea: Exploration

Welcome to the exciting world of exploration, full of adventure, danger and strange discoveries - and plenty of fodder for great story-writing.

Get to grips with all the stages of an exploration expedition, from preparing to leave, through the journey, encounters with unfamiliar people and places, to the legacy of exploration. 

Stories from the Sea supports teachers to develop children’s skills in writing by inspiring them to explore our local and national maritime past through world-class museum collections of objects, paintings and manuscripts, intriguing stories and unforgettable characters. 

Exploration activities

In these activities apply to join an expedition, create your own new world, describe what you find and write songs to keep your spirits up.

PDF icon Describe an unfamiliar animal

PDF icon Songs of Exploration

PDF icon Application to join an expedition

PDF icon Writing about a mystery

PDF icon Create a new world

Exploration objects and images

Use these objects and images to talk about exploration and inspire writing.

PDF icon Beaver mask

PDF icon Buddha statue

PDF icon Captain Bligh's equipment for measuring food and water

PDF icon Captain James Cook

PDF icon Captain Press's diary

PDF icon Thomas Cavendish, Sir Francis Drake and Sir John Hawkins

PDF icon Captain Bligh's carved coconut

PDF icon Compass

PDF icon Sir John Franklin's men dying by their boat

PDF icon Model of Endeavour

PDF icon Gun from HM Bark Endeavour

PDF icon Guano bottles

PDF icon Hussey's banjo

PDF icon Photograph of Inuits on board Discovery

PDF icon George Stubbs's Kongouroo and Dingo

PDF icon Kukri

PDF icon Maori feeding funnel

PDF icon Meat sample

PDF icon Medicine bag

PDF icon Franklin expedition medicine chest

PDF icon Model Quamutiq

PDF icon Octopus bag

PDF icon Roman glassware

PDF icon Captain Scott's overshoes

PDF icon Search balloon

PDF icon Skis from the Discovery expedition

PDF icon Snow shoes

PDF icon Transformation mask

Explorers booklist 

The Ice Trap! Shackleton’s Incredible Expedition by Meredith Hooper

Tom Crean's Rabbit: A True Story from Scott's Last Voyage by Meredith Hooper

Morning Girl by Michael Dorris

Pedro's Journal: A Voyage with Christopher Columbus by Pam Conrad

Explorers Who Got Lost by Diane Sansevere Dreher

Magellan's World by Stuart Waldman

Beyond the Sea of Ice: The Voyages of Henry Hudson by Joan Elizabeth Goodman

Stowaway by Karen Hesse

A Long and Uncertain Journey: The 27,000 Mile Voyage of Vasco de Gama by Joan Goodman

Anacaona: Golden Flower, Haiti, 1490: The Royal Diaries by Edwidge Danticat

Quest by Kathleen Benner Duble

The Sea King: Sir Francis Drake and His Times by Albert Marrin

The World Made New: When the Age of Exploration Happened and How it Changed the World by Marc Aronson and John W. Glenn

Polar Adventures by Paul Dowswell

Shipwreck at the Bottom of the World: The Extraordinary True Story of Shackleton and the Endurance by Jennifer Armstrong

Ice Story: Shackleton’s Lost Expedition by Elizabeth Cody Kimmel

Trapped by the Ice!: Shackleton’s Amazing Antarctic Adventure by Michael McCurdy

Explorers links

Twinkl - Arctic explorers role play primary activities

Salariya web books - You wouldn't want to be a polar explorer

TeachIt primary - Explorers project pack

Teachers pet - displays - Famous explorer information posters

Explorers and leaders fact files (National Maritime Museum)

Polar Explorers (polar expedition guiding company)

See other resources packs in Stories from the Sea

Partners and supporters

Stories from the Sea is a partnership between the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich, and Time and Tide Museum in Great Yarmouth. The resource is funded by Arts Council England’s Museums and Schools programme.

Stories from the Sea partner logos