Learning from the Lake

Depending on the COVID-19 situation at the time, this course will be held in person, hybridized, or with a synchronized on-line format using two-dimensional artifacts and Zoom.

Course Details

Course NameLearning From the Lake: Using Primary Sources to Teach Key Proficiencies
InstructorDr. Harry Yeo Chaucer, Castleton University professor
Course CoordinatorElizabeth Lee, elizabethl@lcmm.org, 802-475-2022 x102
LocationLake Champlain Maritime Museum
DatesAugust 17-20 and September 19, 2020
Credit3 credits through Castleton University
Tuition$950 standard / $1400 with credit*
*Discounts are available to past Learning from the Lake participants
Size15 students maximum

Course Description

View a live-stream tour of a shipwreck through the camera lens of an underwater robot. Develop lessons for a 35-foot map of the Lake Champlain watershed. Explore every nook and cranny of a creaky, tarry replica of a Revolutionary War gunboat or a steamboat wreck as weather allows. Browse through boxes of fascinating museum artifacts yet to be displayed. Closely examine many life forms in the lake, from microscopic plants to flopping fish and microplastics that effect lake quality.

Learning from the Lake takes place at the interface between museum collections and the classroom.  Back for its third year, this professional development course immerses teachers in the maps, boats, artifacts, shipwrecks, and water quality of Lake Champlain. Participants meet and talk with experts and build powerful new lesson plans using the Museum’s resources. New for 2020, teachers will explore a giant map of the Lake Champlain watershed designed for spatial and geographic learning for all ages. Stipends of $500 are available for 10 teachers to develop lesson plans using the Giant MapLearn more >

About the course

The Museum has opened our collection for course participants to work with primary sources and explore techniques that make learning more empirical, inductive and personal for students in any subject at any grade level. The course is led by award-winning Castleton University professor Harry Chaucer assisted by the Museum’s Director of Education and Interpretation and National Geographic-Certified educator Elizabeth Lee. This week-long course will kick off with sensory-rich experiences and explore inductive thinking, brain-based learning, progressive education, project-based learning, and human motivation. After establishing a pedagogy, we will dive into the museum’s collection and the new giant map of the Lake Champlain Watershed Basin and create curricula.

Video by Peregrine Productions

About the Giant Lake Champlain Map & Course Projects

The Giant Lake Champlain Map Project is a project funded by the Lake Champlain Basin Program and Castleton University to create an accurate and detailed 35’ x 25’ vinyl map of our watershed. The giant map is designed to be a learning tool for students and teachers to help them understand how where they live is connected to the lake, and inspire them to take care of Lake Champlain. Participants in this year’s Learning from the Lake course will be asked to develop a lesson using the giant map. Lessons may focus on any aspect of the Lake Champlain Basin – history, water quality, geography, science, math, literature, or any others. 

In addition to the giant map project, course participants will also be challenged to complete two other projects: to investigate an artifact of their own interest from the Museum collection and to develop a plan for using artifacts in their own classroom.

“I’ve never had so much fun teaching and learning!  This course crackles with curiosity, wit, logic, and just plain fun.  The Maritime Museum experts are a joy to work with and learn from. I can’t wait to teach it a third time.”

Harry Chaucer, Course Instructor

To participate in the Giant Lake Champlain Map Stipend Program, course participants must agree to and complete the following three items in entirety:
1. Create a curriculum based on the giant map
2. Present this curriculum to students
3. Share or teach this curriculum to colleagues at an in-person meeting or virtual presentation session