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Alternative Expeditionary Learning Semester: Sample Curriculum

Led by a diverse and talented staff, including a Maine state certified teacher, the museum’s Director of Watercraft and boatbuilding instructor, and the museum educator and Manager of Interpretation, students will study core subjects while discovering Maine’s maritime heritage through the museum’s vast collection and archives, exhibits, and working shipyard. With an emphasis on outdoor education and experiential learning, the museum’s campus and resources provide a one-of-a-kind learning environment.



Students will apply lessons in geometric and algebraic reasoning as well as quantitative (fractions, ratios, proportions) and statistical (measurement, data, probability) analysis to woodworking projects in the Boatshop. Each student will design and build a series of projects (a three-legged stool, for example), all of which will incorporate grade level math and geometry. This project-based approach allows the application of the concepts learned to solve practical problems that translate to real-world situations.


Science & Engineering

The maritime world depends on a comprehensive knowledge of physics, astronomy, weather patterns, and engineering. The museum’s location on the banks of the Kennebec River and access to river cruises aboard the museum’s vessel, Merrymeeting, provide an immersive classroom to teach ecology and life science.  Museum educators will provide a foundation of science instruction using the scientific method as our instructional compass. Students will have opportunities to practice formulating and testing original hypotheses in the study of our surrounding natural and institutional resources.

Life Sciences: Measuring the health of the Kennebec River and Merrymeeting Bay ecosystems while aboard the Merrymeeting, analyzing local habitat and fishery management, etc.

Space Sciences: Key concepts in celestial navigation, etc.

Earth Sciences: The effect of tides and weather on maritime industries, local geology and formation of the Kennebec River, etc.

Physical Sciences:  The project-based curriculum in the Boatshop will cover such topics as energy transfer, torque, friction, Newton’s laws of motion, and chemistry-based concepts like oxidation, electrolysis and properties of metals.


English & Language Arts

Maine Maritime Museum’s Nathan R. Lipfert Library and archives provide a wealth of primary documents, sea journals, and maritime literature to provide students an opportunity to directly engage with their local heritage and build skills in reading comprehension, critical analysis and argument formation, vocabulary, speaking, and writing.


Social Studies (History & Civics)

Maritime history is at the core of local and global human interaction; from Wabanaki stewardship of the waterways and land to the founding and growth of the United States and its position within world history. Museum educators will bring history to life by integrating critical analysis of objects from the museum collection and hands-on projects demonstrating the interplay of social, political, and economic forces. A study of the cod fishery and regulations, then and now, presents a unique case study to learn the civic process and government at work. Students will have the opportunity to participate in the civic process by identifying a public need, drafting a proposal, and presenting their solutions for active change.


Extracurricular Opportunities

Staff will provide a selection of extracurricular opportunities to meet student interests, leading exciting and casual workshops in art/design, dance, strength training, woodworking, creative writing, historic vessel stewardship, and museum collections care. Students will have the option to work in groups or independently and will be encouraged to be creative and explore new opportunities.

Maine Maritime Museum