The Mystic Seaport Education Department hosts many different types of professional development programs for educators. Check back often as we add new events every month!
One of the most powerful concepts in astronomy is the concept of scale. Our planet Earth seems so large sometimes, and yet in the grand scheme of things we are one of the tiniest dots in a vast universe. To convey this concept to students, the Treworgy Planetarium has crafted a new in-school program called, “Scaling the Solar System."
This workshop will introduce teachers to our new program, which draws on multiple disciplines – science, math, and visual arts – to create a unique perspective of our most local address in the universe. Visual aids, which are constantly being updated from the latest NASA missions, provide awe-inspiring, full-color displays of each unique member of our Solar System. Teachers can also learn how to make a kinesthetic model of the Solar System, with students playing the roles of celestial bodies, in a variety of school spaces (classroom, hallway, gymnasium).
(Image by Rick Guidice [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.)
Mystic Seaport volunteer and researcher Howard Veisz will speak about Gerda III, a wooden work boat built in 1926 to re-supply offshore lighthouses along the Danish coast. During the Nazi occupation of Denmark during World War II, she took on another cargo: clandestine groups of Jewish refugees that she transported to freedom. Howard will discuss in-depth her profound impact upon the fate of so many Jewish people who escaped the terror of the Gestapo because of her heroic actions.
By an act of the Danish Parliament, the Gerda III was donated to the Museum of Jewish Heritage in New York City. The vessel was restored to her wartime appearance, complete with neutral flags, by the J. Ring Andersen yard in Denmark. Mystic Seaport is proud to help care for the boat and exhibit her in the United States.
The world around us is filled with primary source material and clues about the past. It’s also filled with legends and stories that may or may not be “true.” Join Dr. Elysa Engelman to learn how to help your students navigate the art of inquiry and decipher the world around us. She’ll share how researching a historic house with a rumored Underground-Railroad connection led to a different story – a fugitive slave whose experience in New London triggered national coverage in the 1850s. She’ll also look at how you can use artwork, stories, and primary sources to help students unpack the impact of memory and myth on our popular understanding of the past.
Join Herman Melville Scholar, Dr. Mary K. Bercaw Edwards, and Mystic Seaport staff to learn all about one of the great American classics, Moby-Dick. Bercaw Edwards, Associate Professor of English, University of Connecticut, is an accomplished Melville scholar. Her books include Cannibal Old Me (2009) and Herman Melville’s Whaling Years (2004). Bercaw Edwards has worked aboard the Charles W. Morgan for over thirty years and was one of the Morgan’s sailing crew for the 38th Voyage. This program will include a special Moby-Dick themed tour of the Charles W. Morgan, lecture, and pizza! RSVP now to join us.
*"Moby Dick p 510 illustration" by A. Burnham Shute - Moby-Dick edition - C. H. Simonds Co. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons.
Part lecture and part walking tour of Mystic Seaport, we will discuss the interdisciplinary teaching of American literary works set at sea or on the coast and how they have reflected, informed, and even spurred the environmental movements in the US. We'll discuss authors such as Rachel Carson, Ernest Hemingway, Langston Hughes, TS Eliot, Herman Melville, Walt Whitman, Linda Greenlaw, and Sarah Orne Jewett. As we look at the Mystic River and the museum's ships, we'll focus a particular eye toward fishing and ocean resources when examined through the lens of fiction, narrative, and poetry. Pizza dinner and time for discussion included!
Click here to learn more about our speaker, Dr. Rich King.
Join us as we dive into the Connecticut Social Studies Frameworks! During this workshop, participants will discuss how the social studies frameworks can be effectively utilized by schools and museums as they evaluate the ways they educate students. The inquiry arc will be analyzed in great detail, with attention given to approaches to getting students to ask compelling questions. Methods to promote effective collaboration, both between students and educators, will also be a focus of this session. Participants will also experience a Primary Source Workshop and leave with a Mystic Seaport inquiry-based lesson plan using objects from the Museum collection, featured on the MSE website.
This professional development workshop will introduce middle school teachers to a new science unit inspired by the 38th Voyage of the whaleship Charles W. Morgan. The six lessons in the unit merge history with science to encourage an enduring interdisciplinary connection between modern marine science and the experience of the nineteenth-century whaler. Each lesson includes a reading or activity that reflects one or more historic observations mariners conducted at sea. While these observations may not have been originally performed with scientific intent, students will learn the value of historical perspective on modern research.
Each lesson is aligned with the Next Generation Science Standards and can be used as stand-alone material or in sequence, adaptable to any middle school science course. All of the lessons are free and linked to articles on Mystic Seaport’s 38th Voyage website and additional resources.
Read more about Dr. Lisa Gilbert and the 38th Voyage here.
Connecticut was and still is a very inventive state full of ingenious people. There are many Connecticut citizens who have invented great things to make our lives safer, easier, and fairer. What was it about the small developing towns in this small state that produced such big thinkers?
With direct ties to the Connecticut Social Studies Frameworks, "Connecticut's Unsung Heroes" is a new program for grades 2-8, tailored to your town’s history, introducing new vocabulary and examining products of the town, region and state. Through hands-on activities, students will understand why their town developed over time in the way that it did and what their hometown’s claim to fame was by discussing famous people and inventions that came from their town. They will learn what industries have come and gone in their town as well as our state and why, and learn how their town’s inventions and people contributed to the growth and strength of the state and the country. In addition, students will learn how the geography of the state (soil, water, natural resources, etc.) and the locations of major towns directly correlate to the concentrations of revolutionary ideas.
During this Professional Development session, teachers will have a chance to make one of Connecticut’s popular products, as well as have a local geography lesson, 19th century style.
(Image by L. L. Poates Eng. Co. [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.)
Last year, the Mystic Seaport Museum hosted an exhibit called, “Ships, Clocks, and Stars: The Quest for Longitude”. On loan from the Royal Maritime Museum in Greenwich, England, the exhibit allowed us to tell the story of maritime navigation like never before.
While the exhibit has moved on, the opportunity to teach navigation remains, and the Museum’s Education Department has designed two new on-site programs for school groups – “Explorers and Navigators” for grades 2-4, and “Finding Our Way: Navigation at Sea” for grades 5-12.
This workshop will introduce teachers to each program, before allowing them to experience a hybrid combination of elements from both. Teachers will experience activities including chartwork, taking a compass bearing, determining speed using a chip log, and measuring angles using a sextant.
(Image: Captain Benjamin Cleveland with sextant. © Mystic Seaport, 1973.189.60.)
In celebration of the opening of our new, dramatically different Thompson Exhibition Building, the SeaChange exhibit presents a range of beautiful and surprising objects from Mystic Seaport’s rich collections. Each is a survivor of the past and gives glimpses into other people’s lives in different places and times - from scientific surveyors charting the Atlantic coast on the eve of the American Revolution to western merchants trading for silk and tea in 1850s China, from Arctic explorers to laborers harvesting bird guano off Peru for American farmers. Together they speak to larger transformations that continue to shape our times. The exhibit includes interactives that give you the chance to peek inside a 1740s shipmodel, test the principles behind dazzling WWI ship designs, and zoom-in to see the tiny cuts on modern miniature figureheads.
Join Director of Exhibits Elysa Engleman as she gives a special teacher tour of this stunning new exhibit.
In 1846, the men and ships of New London’s whaling fleet began 70 years of extensive whaling in the eastern Arctic. With one of the earth’s most inhospitable regions serving as a stage, they played key roles in a series of dramatic adventures, including the greatest whaling “catch” of all – the discovery and salvage of the abandoned British exploring ship Resolute. Drawing from Mystic Seaport’s rich collections of rare photographs, artifacts, books, and documents, Curator of Collections Fred Calabretta will share the stories and adventures of colorful whaling captains, Inuit visitors to New London, arctic explorers, and other fascinating characters.
Have you ever been curious about hosting a virtual program in your classroom? If so, then join Mystic Seaport staff Krystal Rose and John Boudreau to learn about the mechanics of a Mystic Seaport virtual program, the programs and content that can be covered and why it can be a beneficial learning experience in your classroom!
The program is free. Will be hosted live from 4:30-5:30 pm, and archived afterwards. RSVP to receive link to program.
Visit https://www.mysticseaport.org/learn/k-12-programs/virtual-programs/ to learn more about our virtual programs.
Come learn about our popular Hands-On History program! Teachers will hear from our master craftsmen about what they do with students during this program, and get a chance to try their hand at some carving, blacksmithing, coopering, and printing.
Join Mystic Seaport staff as we explore new topics in our monthly professional development series. Sessions for the 2016-2017 school year include:
September 28: "Putting the Connecticut Social Studies Frameworks into Action" with Social Studies Consultant Steve Armstrong
October 5: "Science on the Charles W. Morgan's 38th Voyage" with Dr. Lisa Gilbert
November 16: "Connecticut's Unsung Heroes" with Assistant Director for School & Family Programs, Barbara Jarnagin
December 14: "Finding Your Way: Navigation at Sea" with Treworgy Planetarium Supervisor, Brian Koehler and Assistant Director for School & Famiy Programs, Barbara Jarnagin
January 18: "Sea-Change" Exhibit - Teacher Tour with Director of Exhibits, Elysa Engelman
February15: "Adventure, Discovery and Disaster: The New London Whaling Fleet in the Eastern Arctic" with Curator Fred Calabretta
March 15: "Behind the Scenes of Mystic Seaport Virtual Programs" with Krystal Rose & John Boudreau
April 19: "Hands-On! A Look into the Maritime Trades at Mystic Seaport" with Mystic Seaport Staff
May 10: "Scaling the Solar System" with Treworgy Planetarium Supervisor, Brian KoehlerJune 7: "Gerda III: A Story from WWII" with Gerda III Historian, Howard Veisz
Join us for our annual Educators’ Weekend Saturday and Sunday, April 22-23, 2017. All teachers, afterschool professionals, and their families (up to four people total with teacher ID) will receive free Mystic Seaport admission!
Don’t miss this special opportunity to explore the Museum, learn more about our educational programs, and find connections that link your classroom with ours. Education Department staff will be on hand to discuss program offerings and answer questions.
“Education is a core value of the Museum,” said Susan Funk, executive vice president of Mystic Seaport. “We appreciate the work educators do every day. This is our way of saying thanks.”