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Lesson Plans

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Lesson Plan

Immigration: U.S. Immigrants and the Land of Opportunity

Grade Level: 9-12 Content Area: Social Studies
Learn about immigration in the United States using primary sources from Maine Memory Network and the Library of Congress.

Lesson Plan

Bicentennial Lesson Plan

Nation to Nation: Treaties and Legislation between the Wabanaki Nations and the State of Maine

Grade Level: 9-12 Content Area: Social Studies
This lesson plan asks high school students to think critically about and look closely at documentation regarding the Nation-to-Nation relationship between the Wabanaki Tribes/Nations and the State of Maine. This lesson asks students to participate in discussions about morality and legislative actions over time. Students will gain experience examining and responding to primary and secondary sources by taking a close look at documents relating to the Maine Indian Claims Settlement Act of 1980 (MICSA) and the issues that preceded and have followed the Act.

Lesson Plan

Bicentennial Lesson Plan

Wabanaki Studies: Stewarding Natural Resources

Grade Level: 3-5 Content Area: Science & Engineering, Social Studies
This lesson plan will introduce elementary-grade students to the concepts and importance of Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) and Indigenous Knowledge (IK), taught and understood through oral history to generations of Wabanaki people. Students will engage in discussions about how humans can be stewards of the local ecosystem, and how non-Native Maine citizens can listen to, learn from, and amplify the voices of Wabanaki neighbors to assist in the future of a sustainable environment. Students will learn about Wabanaki artists, teachers, and leaders from the past and present to help contextualize the concepts and ideas in this lesson, and learn about how Wabanaki youth are carrying tradition forward into the future.

Lesson Plan

Longfellow Studies: The Elms - Stephen Longfellow's Gorham Farm

Grade Level: 6-8, 9-12 Content Area: English Language Arts, Social Studies
On April 3, 1761 Stephen Longfellow II signed the deed for the first 100 acre purchase of land that he would own in Gorham, Maine. His son Stephen III (Judge Longfellow) would build a home on that property which still stands to this day. Judge Longfellow would become one of the most prominent citizens in Gorham’s history and one of the earliest influences on his grandson Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's work as a poet. This exhibit examines why the Longfellows arrived in Gorham, Judge Longfellow's role in the history of the town, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's vacations in the country which may have influenced his greatest work, and the remains of the Longfellow estate still standing in Gorham today.

Lesson Plan

Longfellow Studies: The American Wilderness? How 19th Century American Artists Viewed the Separation Of Civilization and Nature

Grade Level: 9-12 Content Area: Social Studies, Visual & Performing Arts
When European settlers began coming to the wilderness of North America, they did not have a vision that included changing their lifestyle. The plan was to set up self-contained communities where their version of European life could be lived. In the introduction to The Crucible, Arthur Miller even goes as far as saying that the Puritans believed the American forest to be the last stronghold of Satan on this Earth. When Roger Chillingworth shows up in The Scarlet Letter's second chapter, he is welcomed away from life with "the heathen folk" and into "a land where iniquity is searched out, and punished in the sight of rulers and people." In fact, as history's proven, they believed that the continent could be changed to accommodate their interests. Whether their plans were enacted in the name of God, the King, or commerce and economics, the changes always included – and still do to this day - the taming of the geographic, human, and animal environments that were here beforehand. It seems that this has always been an issue that polarizes people. Some believe that the landscape should be left intact as much as possible while others believe that the world will inevitably move on in the name of progress for the benefit of mankind. In F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby – a book which many feel is one of the best portrayals of our American reality - the narrator, Nick Carraway, looks upon this progress with cynicism when he ends his narrative by pondering the transformation of "the fresh green breast of a new world" that the initial settlers found on the shores of the continent into a modern society that unsettlingly reminds him of something out of a "night scene by El Greco." Philosophically, the notions of progress, civilization, and scientific advancement are not only entirely subjective, but also rest upon the belief that things are not acceptable as they are. Europeans came here hoping for a better life, and it doesn't seem like we've stopped looking. Again, to quote Fitzgerald, it's the elusive green light and the "orgiastic future" that we've always hoped to find. Our problem has always been our stoic belief system. We cannot seem to find peace in the world either as we've found it or as someone else may have envisioned it. As an example, in Miller's The Crucible, his Judge Danforth says that: "You're either for this court or against this court." He will not allow for alternative perspectives. George W. Bush, in 2002, said that: "You're either for us or against us. There is no middle ground in the war on terror." The frontier -- be it a wilderness of physical, religious, or political nature -- has always frightened Americans. As it's portrayed in the following bits of literature and artwork, the frontier is a doomed place waiting for white, cultured, Europeans to "fix" it. Anything outside of their society is not just different, but unacceptable. The lesson plan included will introduce a few examples of 19th century portrayal of the American forest as a wilderness that people feel needs to be hesitantly looked upon. Fortunately, though, the forest seems to turn no one away. Nature likes all of its creatures, whether or not the favor is returned. While I am not providing actual activities and daily plans, the following information can serve as a rather detailed explanation of things which can combine in any fashion you'd like as a group of lessons.

Lesson Plan

Portland History: Signalizing and Non-Verbal Communications at the Portland Observatory

Grade Level: 3-5 Content Area: English Language Arts, Social Studies, Visual & Performing Arts
This lesson is an overview of Captain Lemuel Moody's (builder of the Observatory) signaling system used at the Portland Observatory. Activities range from flag making to mapping and journal writing. The "Signals" slide show allows students to look at Captain Moody's general and private signals notebooks. Students are asked a series of questions about the notebooks and Moody's signaling system allowing for a better understanding of the principles behind the Observatory.

Lesson Plan

Portland History: The Portland Observatory and Thermometrics

Grade Level: 3-5, 6-8 Content Area: Science & Engineering, Social Studies
Thermometrics is a term coined by Moody to describe his weather recording activities. Included here are some cross-curricula lesson plans and activities for students to use their knowledge in science, math and social studies while acting as weather forecasters. Check out the web-sites listed in this section for information on building your own barometer and anemometer.

Lesson Plan

Bicentennial Lesson Plan

Why is Maine the Pine Tree State?

Grade Level: K-2 Content Area: Social Studies
This lesson plan will give students in early elementary grades a foundation for identifying the recognizable animals and natural resources of Maine. In this lesson, students will learn about and identify animals and plants significant to the state, and will identify what types of environments are best suited to different types of plant and animal life. Students will have the opportunity to put their own community wildlife into a large-scale perspective.

Lesson Plan

Bicentennial Lesson Plan

Primary Sources: The Maine Shipyard

Grade Level: 9-12 Content Area: Social Studies
This lesson plan will give students a close-up look at historical operations behind Maine's famed shipbuilding and shipping industries. Students will examine primary sources including letters, bills of lading, images, and objects, and draw informed hypotheses about the evolution of the seafaring industry and its impact on Maine’s communities over time.

Lesson Plan

Bicentennial Lesson Plan

Maine's Beneficial Bugs: Insect Sculpture Upcycle/ Recycle S.T.E.A.M Challenge

Grade Level: 3-5, 6-8 Content Area: Science & Engineering, Visual & Performing Arts
In honor of Earth Day (or any day), Students use recycled, reused, and upcycled materials to create a sculpture of a beneficial insect that lives in the state of Maine. Students use the Engineer Design Process to develop their ideas. Students use the elements and principles to analyze their prototypes and utilize interpersonal skills during peer feedback protocol to accept and give constructive feedback.

Lesson Plan

Portland History: Mapping Portland, 1690 - 1900

Grade Level: 6-8 Content Area: Social Studies
Historical maps, like all historical documents, can be interpreted in many ways. This lesson plan uses five maps to trace the development of Portland from its earliest settlements.

Lesson Plan

Portland History: Lemuel Moody and the Portland Observatory

Grade Level: 3-5 Content Area: Social Studies
Lemuel Moody and the Portland Observatory Included are interesting facts to share with your students and for students, an interactive slide show available on-line at Maine Memory Network. The "Images" slide show allows students to place historical images of the Observatory in a timeline. Utilizing their observation skills students will place these images in chronological order by looking for changes within the built environment for clues. Also available is the "Maps" slide show, a series of maps from key eras in Portland's history. Students will answer the questions in the slide show to better understand the topography of Portland, the need for an Observatory and the changes in the landscape and the population centers.