In 2013, Victoria Mansion launched a school program for elementary school learners entitled A Century of Change. This program, allowing teachers to choose from 8 topics to tailor a lesson and visit for their students, has proven to be a successful model. We look to expand this programming, yet find the needs of middle and high school students are very different from the 3rd and 4th graders we currently serve.
To reach the challenging middle school audience, Victoria Mansion and Casco Bay High School in Portland partnered on an “intensive,” where students from the high school devoted 5 class days from April 5th to 11th to a specific project of their choosing and earned credit towards graduation for their work.
Casco Bay High School students researched and designed lessons around a Victorian topic of their choice, including trade, women’s social movements, political symbolism, fashion, Victorian transportation, Civil War and segregation, and sanitation. During the intensive week they were introduced to the Mansion, took a walking tour of the Portland to see buildings connected with the themes under discussion, and researched at local institutions. They also learned public speaking and teaching techniques for a good tour or lesson. The lessons the students designed were in a variety of mediums– from lectures, to PowerPoint presentations, to videos– and were presented to students at Lyman Moore Middle School to field test the lessons at the end of the week.