School Programs at Fort Ticonderoga

With the arrival of May, we look forward to another school field trip season at Fort Ticonderoga. While school field trips have traditionally come at the close of the school year, Fort Ticonderoga is expanding its year-round offerings. Though the majority of student visitors take part in self-guided field trip programs, a growing number of teachers and students are taking advantage of special programs designed specifically for student audiences.

On May 18th, student groups have a rare opportunity to participate in one of our living history events. As part of the weekend “No Quarter!” event, on Friday, May 18th, students will have the opportunity to visit the Green Mountain Boys on the town green in Shoreham, Vermont, along with their leader Ethan Allen and Benedict Arnold. At Fort Ticonderoga that day, students will encounter the British garrison under the command of Captain William Delaplace and have the opportunity to meet and talk with him. Students will also encounter the Green Mountain Boys’ spy Noah Phelps as he scouts the Fort in anticipation of the coming surprise attack on the Fort. But don’t tell Captain Delaplace!

Students participate in "To Act as One United Body" during field testing last fall.

After some trial programs last fall, Fort Ticonderoga officially unveils its new program “To Act as One United Body” in May. In this program, students are immersed in the daily routine of the Continental soldiers garrisoning Fort Ticonderoga in the weeks after the capture of Fort Ticonderoga by Ethan Allen and Benedict Arnold in 1775. Students form a platoon of soldiers, learning teamwork and discipline as they undergo a typical day in the life of soldiers. They learn about the training used to prepare soldiers to meet a powerful enemy, what soldiers ate, where they slept, and experience the confusion of battle. During their participation in this program, students observe a musket demonstration and practice formation tactics. The soldiers’ experience comes to life as students learn about key aspects of the American Revolution. This program is part of Fort Ticonderoga’s partnership with the “Let’s Move! Museums and Gardens” program of the Institute of Museum and Library Services, a national initiative among member institutions to fight childhood obesity.

“The Artist’s Eye: Geography, Art, and History” uses “The Art of War” exhibition in the Deborah Clarke Mars Education Center to teach observation and critical analysis skills while learning about the regions history and geography. Students explore the surrounding landscape, analyze selected works of art in the exhibition, and become artists themselves during the program. This program is supported in part by grants from the Vermont Community Foundation’s South Lake Champlain Fund and the Lake Placid Education Foundation.

This fall, “Fort Ticonderoga’s Heroic Maze: A Corn Maze Adventure!” will again be available for visiting students on select days in September and October. Students explore Fort Ticonderoga’s six-acre corn maze designed in the shape of Fort Ticonderoga! Students and chaperones find their way through the maze with the help of grade-appropriate clues. Groups can use standard questions based on Fort Ticonderoga’s history or customized questions developed with the teacher to meet specific curriculum needs. Wending through the maze is a great problem-solving cooperative activity. Students work together to solve clues that help them navigate the maze. An ideal activity to kick off the new school year! This program is part of Fort Ticonderoga’s partnership with the “Let’s Move! Museums and Gardens” program of the Institute of Museum and Library Services, a national initiative among member institutions to fight childhood obesity.

Two months ago I wrote about the National History Day program that involves students in researching and analyzing a historical topic and creating a project to enter into competitions at the regional, state, and national level. You can read the complete blog entry here. History Day is another way Fort Ticonderoga works with teachers and students in the North Country Region to foster a new generation of citizens steeped with an interest in learning about and preserving our history.

New programs are in the works for the 2012-13 school year, including on-site programs available throughout the school year and a new outreach program, bringing the Fort Ticonderoga story into classrooms across the region. I’ll write more about these programs in a future blog entry.

In the meantime, you can keep up to date by signing up for our email updates. Go to any page of our website at www.fort-ticonderoga.org and type in your email address where it says “E-mail Signup” and hit “Go.” You can also check out all our school programs here.

Even as we grow evermore connected through the internet, Facebook, and Twitter, word-of-mouth is still an important way for us to connect with new audiences. Please encourage your child’s teacher or teachers you know to investigate the opportunities a visit to Fort Ticonderoga can provide for students.

Rich Strum
Director of Education

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