Virtual Outreach: Class Chats

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The Kentucky Derby Museum is proud to offer FREE virtual class chats designed to supplement and align with curriculum in a variety of content areas. The KDM education team will tailor teaching and interactions to your student’s grade level. Every program is appropriate for multiple grade levels and is designing to be FUN, fast paced, and interactive!

What will my Class Chat include?

  1. A pre-chat lesson plan covering the benefits of studying the Kentucky Derby (sent to you upon booking)
  2. A 45-minute zoom call with a Kentucky Derby Museum Educator
  3. Your choice of an age appropriate program to be presented during the zoom call
  4. A custom password protected zoom link provided to you by the Kentucky Derby Museum

Booking Class Chats

  • All bookings will be booked in EST between 8:30am - 5pm, Monday-Friday

Schedule Your Virtual Outreach Now


Programming Options

Content Areas Include: Career Studies, Science, and Social Studies


Career Studies

Thoroughbred Care (K-3rd)

Program Summary: Keeping a Thoroughbred happy and healthy is much like taking care of a pet at home. Students learn teamwork is essential in preparing a horse for the Kentucky Derby, as they role-play performing the many jobs in the stable.

Program Goals:

  • I can identify that animals have needs and connect how caring for a pet at home and caring for a Thoroughbred are similar.
  • I can role play the different job roles on the thoroughbred care team.
  • I can identify how roles in the barn are suited to keep a thoroughbred safe when working together as a team.
Thoroughbred Care

Careers in the Thoroughbred Industry (8th-12th)

Program Summary: There are over 31,000 equine operations in Kentucky! From farms, to cultural attractions, to equine hospitals, to sales, opportunities for those interested in the industry are wide and varied! Students will explore the various opportunities that support thoroughbreds outside of the race track. The goal is to introduce students not only to opportunities but to specific local companies that could offer internships or entry points into the industry.

Program Goals:

  • I can identify a variety of opportunities within the thoroughbred industry.
  • I can understand how a variety of careers in the industry work together to form the industry.
  • I can define the educational expectations of various careers in the thoroughbred industry.
  • I can connect an interesting job role to a local company where internships could be pursued.
  • I can begin evaluating whether or not the equine industry is viable for my future through gathering information.
Careers in the Thoroughbred Industry

Careers at the Track (8th-12th)

Program Summary: Kentucky is home to five Thoroughbred race tracks that share racing throughout the year. Students will learn about different career options available at race tracks and what it takes to land that perfect job. The goal is to introduce students to the range of careers available and to highlight various entry points based on areas of interest.

Program Goals:

  • I can identify a variety of opportunities at the racetrack.
  • I can understand how a variety of careers in the industry work together to form the industry.
  • I can define the educational expectations of various careers at the race track.
  • I can begin evaluating whether or not the equine industry is viable for my future through gathering information.
Careers at the Track



Science on the Track (4th-8th)

Program Summary: What does it take to build a safe athletic surface for horses? It all goes back to the process of weathering a rock, and how it eventually turns to sediment. Students will explore the process of weathering in relation to the process of building and maintaining a racetrack using a combination of different sediments.

Program Goals:

  • I can recognize the need to understand science in building racetracks to protect the health of horses.
  • I can identify that there are a variety of ways to construct a racetrack.
  • I can connect the weathering process to the creation of different types of soil used in track composition.
  • I can identify how sediments affect the horse's hoof and the role of safety checks of track composition plays in maintaining health.
Science on the Track

HorsePower: The Making of the Tremendous Machine (7th-12th)

Program Summary: For over four hundred years, humans have bred Thoroughbreds to sustain astounding speeds, culminating at Churchill Downs Racetrack in the Kentucky Derby. This program explores the anatomy and physiology of Thoroughbreds through the lens of the sport’s greatest star, Secretariat. Students will understand why Thoroughbreds are not only incredibly athletic, but how they have become the ultimate “Racing Machine”.

Program Goals:

  • I can understand the origins of the Thoroughbred breed.
  • I can connect thoroughbred’s superior athleticism on the racetrack with physiological systems.
  • I can understand what accomplishments set Secretariat apart from others.
  • I can understand Secretariat’s lasting legacy on the sport.
  • I can understand and explain the contributions of the organ systems discussed to the overall performance of a thoroughbred

Genetics of the Thoroughbred (8th-12th)

Program Summary: Explore and understand the longstanding history of Thoroughbred genetics, from where the breed started in the 1700s, to modern-day influences and lineage. The role of human responsibility to these animals is emphasized in the realm of genetics and a closed bloodline.

Program Goals:

  • I can understand the beginnings of the thoroughbred breed and connect past events with their effects on the present day.
  • I can understand genetic vocabulary when applied to equine science.
  • I can connect how the goals of human control of thoroughbred genetics have changed throughout history.
  • I can identify why specific genes play an important role in the performance and potential of a racehorse.
  • I can create and understand a Punnet Square and how it relates to probability of the phenotype of any given offspring.
  • I can understand the origins and what a mutation is and how it correlates with a Thoroughbreds talent.
  • I can track how the Thoroughbred breed is managed and maintained today.
  • I can connect the role of human responsibility in the continuation of the breed.
Genetics of the Thoroughbred


Social Studies

Creating Traditions (1st-3rd)

Program Summary: Let’s celebrate! The concept and importance of cultural tradition is explored before we attend our very own Kentucky Derby. We’ll act out the day as students participate in the many Kentucky Derby traditions - maybe even one of your students will win the Derby!

Program Goals:

  • I can define a tradition.
  • I can identify traditions in my family, school, nation, and world.
  • I can connect the concept of a tradition to the Kentucky Derby.
Creating Traditions

Louisville and the Derby (3rd-12th)

Program Summary: The history of Louisville, as well as its signature event, the Kentucky Derby come alive! Told through the lens of stories, students explore how key people and events caused Louisville and the Derby to grow up together!

Program Goals:

  • I can identify the impact of the Clark family on the American Revolution, the Westward Settlement, and the development of the Kentucky/Southern Indiana region.
  • I can understand the role that the Ohio River played in the settlement of Kentucky and the rise of horseracing in the region.
  • I can connect how national events have affected the development of the Kentucky Derby.
  • I can connect how economics played a role in the development of the Kentucky Derby after the Civil War.
  • I can understand the vital role that African Americans played in the early years of the Kentucky Derby.
  • I can listen to how the development of an early Baseball World Series impacted the popularity of the Kentucky Derby.
Louisville and the Derby

Black Heritage in Racing (7th-12th)

Program Summary: Black jockeys and horsemen dominated the sport of Thoroughbred racing, from the first Kentucky Derby in 1875 through 1903, right before the Jim Crow era pushed them out. In fact, 15 of the first 28 Derby winners were ridden by Black jockeys. Students will explore the contributions of these incredible athletes through this discussion and object-based learning program. This highly interactive experience will allow students to connect a museum’s collection to the stories those objects reveal.

Program Goals:

  • I can connect the heritage of African horseman to the dominance of black horseman in early thoroughbred racing between 1875-1903.
  • I can understand the unique identity of early black horsemen contributed to thoroughbred racing.
  • I can identify how the Civil War and reconstruction affected the black horseman.
  • I can extract the devasting effect Plessy v Ferguson had upon diversity in horse racing.
  • I can brainstorm my role and identify some key people who are helping to shape a better future for the diversity of thoroughbred racing.
Black Heritage in Racing