What’s New for the New School Year

As the calendar turns from August to September it’s back to school time across the region. My own kids started school this past Tuesday, eager for the promise of new beginnings, new friends, and new experiences. Every turn of the season unfolds with the same promise of new experiences at Fort Ticonderoga—for staff and visitors alike.

We are excited to announce our new outreach program for students. Schools throughout the Champlain Valley and beyond can bring part of the Fort Ticonderoga experience into the classroom with the “Bravery, Prudence, and Sagacity: The Life of a Soldier at Fort Ticonderoga” program. During the 45-minute classroom program, students interact with a Fort Interpreter depicting a soldier from Ticonderoga during the first few pivotal months of the American Revolution in 1775. They learn about the challenges of life as a soldier at a frontier post by examining the contents of the soldier’s knapsack. Each item tells a story that illustrates the daily routine of a soldier at Fort Ticonderoga. The elements of the mid-day meal open venues for learning about 18th-century foodways and help reinforce the Common Core Curriculum, which encourages the incorporation of ELA, math, and science skills into the teaching of history. The daily ration for a soldier lends itself to math word problems and discussion about local and regional economies.

We are also grateful for the support the Walter Cerf Community Fund has provided to help introduce this new program to students in Vermont’s Addison County. Thanks to the Fund, ten schools in the county will be able to have the “Bravery, Prudence, and Sagacity: The Life of a Soldier at Fort Ticonderoga” program in one of its classrooms during the 2012-13 at minimal cost. This offer is available on a first-come, first-served basis. Interested teachers should contact me at rstrum@fort-ticonderoga.org or at 518-585-6370 to learn more.

Fort Ticonderoga’s “Heroic Maze: a Corn Maze!” adventure is in its second year and is open to student groups on Thursdays and Fridays through October 14th by advance reservation. Students and chaperones find their way through the maze with the help of grade-appropriate clues. Wending through the maze is a great problem-solving cooperative activity. Students work together to solve clues that help them navigate the maze. It’s an ideal activity to kick off the new school year! New for 2012! Archaeology Quest in the Corn—Scavenger Hunt. Eight stations hidden in the maze each represent an artifact. Students are given a Quest Card to collect a stamp from each station. It takes perseverance and skill to find all eight.

On Wednesday, October 17th, Fort Ticonderoga hosts its first Homeschool Day, with programs throughout the day targeted for homeschool families. You can learn more about the day’s schedule by following this link.

A new school year also means a fresh chance to develop a project for National History Day. This year’s theme is “Turning Points in History: People, Ideas, Events.” Fort Ticonderoga coordinates New York’s North Country History Day each March for students in Clinton, Essex, Franklin, and Warren counties. While the contest is six months away, the History Day process begins in October and November as students in grades 6-12 begin the research process that culminates in a project for the regional contest. I’m already booked to visit a couple schools in the region to meet with students and teachers and help get them started. You can learn more here.

And there’s still more to come. Stuart Lilie, Director of Interpretation, and I are working on a new program that brings students into our historic trades shop this winter for an in-depth, hands-on opportunity to learn about, and take part in, 18th-century artisan skills. The details are still unfolding, so stay tuned!

Rich Strum
Director of Education

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