How to Create a Virtual Mediterranean Cruise

Young scholars determine the ports they visit and develop a plan to study each region’s history and culture.

By Donna Iadipaolo

cruise ship

Since it is probably unlikely that you and your class can travel to the Mediterranean, why not have them create a virtual Mediterranean cruise? Young scholars could create an itinerary of all the ports they would like to visit, as well as the history and cultures they would like to research in order to delve beyond the surface. This is a project that could integrate mathematics, language arts, science, and social science.

Broken down by country, here's how it might work:


There are significant and important historical Roman ruins in the south of France. Thus, students might investigate what important contributions the ancient Romans made to politics, architecture, medicine, the arts, engineering, literature, philosophy, etc. that linger on in the United States and throughout the world today. Furthermore, they could study the breadth and depth of the official language of Rome: Latin. They could focus on how it was preserved and influenced the modern Romance languages of Italian, French, Spanish, Portuguese, etc., as well as the languages of English and German. To integrate a mathematical aspect, pupils can study computations with Roman numerals, the equations and calculations needed to build Roman aqueducts and architecture, and other feats of Roman engineering.


With a stop in Genoa, learners could see where Christopher Columbus was born and then retrace his routes. During a trip to Rome, they might study the architecture of the Roman Colosseum. Pupils could study and marvel at the exquisite beauty and architecture of the Pantheon. In addition, they could study the British writers that lived around the Spanish steps, like Mary Shelly and Lord Byron. Perhaps an examination of why many English writers were fascinated with Italy could also be studied. Furthermore, this might be a fine time to connect the architecture to Roman literature like the writing of Cicero, Vergil, Ovid, Cato the Elder, Caesar, and Lucretius. 

Another entire unit could be done on the math, science, arts, and literature of the Italian Renaissance. This movement eventually influenced all of Europe. Here are some things you could narrow in on:

  • Economics and banking systems in association with the Medici family.
  • Dante Alighieri’s Divine Comedy, considered by some to be the greatest literary work of all time.
  • Francesco Petrarca, known as the father of humanism, is said to have greatly influenced Shakespeare.
  • The scientific and mathematical impact of Galileo Galilei.
  • Multidimensional thinkers such as Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo. 


Study the foundation of democracy before entering any port of Greece. Explore the teachings of philosophers like Plato and Aristotle. Furthermore, mathematicians like Pythagoras and Euclid are important to include. Just as they studied Roman mythology when in port there, students could further study Greek mythology. In addition, they can supplement their study of  ancient Roman writers by researching ancient Greek writers. Homer is best known for his two epic poems, "The Iliad" and "The Odyssey". The tragic playwright, Sophocles, is best known for his characters Antigone, Oedipus, and Electra. Other writers worthy of consideration are Herodotus, Euripides, Hippocrates, and Aristophanes.


Veni, Vidi, Vici

Pupils examine the contributions of the Roman Empire. They participate in a Roman festival in this unit of lessons.

Bearing the Torch: A Study of Ancient Greece

Learners research Ancient Greece. They survey the geographical, historical, and cultural aspects of Greece. They also discover stories of Greek mythology and explore the beginning of the Olympic games.

Mediterranean Trade in the Late Bronze Age

Pupils analyze the amount and conditions of trade in the late Bronze Age. In groups, they research where a variety of items and goods originated. They participate in Mediterranean trade days in which they try to acquire as much as possible. To finish, they complete a worksheet.

Teaching Spanish Heritage in the Context of the Ancient Mediterranean

Young scholars identify and interpret Spanish heritage, including the Mediterranean culture, language, history, trade, and migration. Next, they began an in-depth study of Egypt, the Middle East, Greece, and Rome. They can make connections with the Spanish heritage and distant civilizations. Finally, they make the study of current events timelier by comparing present-day labor practices in third world countries.

On the Road with Marco Polo: From Hormuz to Venice

Learners explore Marco Polo's expedition from Hormuz to Venice. Using the Internet and specified web resources, they explore the geography of the area. In addition, they discover the importance of Constantinople in medieval times. To finish, pupils write an essay about Constantinople.