October 13, 2010, was the first day of lighthouse visits for students from New London Public School's SEMI (School Enrichment Model Initiative) classes—launching an exciting, new, three-year program/partnership between the pubic schools and the New London Maritime Society. This year, eighty students in grade 4 and grade 5, who have met or exceeded grade level expectations, will be exposed to enrichment programs in the sciences dealing with inner space (oceans) and outer space. These ‘Lighthouse Kids’ will learn their science lessons by visiting with instructors from the Custom House every month.

In October, students visited New London Harbor Light, learning about sound and light waves, weather and geology through discussions about lighthouse design, the Thames River harbor and New London maritime history. 

In November, the students came to the Custom House Maritime Museum. They examined a deep-sea diving suit, tools for sailors and aids to navigation—and in the process came to understand the Core Curriculum lesson of how man makes tools to better one's life. 

In December, teachers from the Custom House will go into the classrooms. Future subjects will include Stonington's Captain Nathaniel Palmer, the Amistad incident; the ‘Awesome Oyster’—including the bivalve’s history, habitat & culture; nautical knots, and studies of other shoreline flora and fauna. Every lesson will use elements of maritime studies to illustrate a principle of science.

On March 3, 2011, we received a magnificent check from Dominion Nuclear to support our Lighthouse Kids!
Dominion Nuclear has a special interest in supporting school programs that promote an understanding of environmental issues related to Long Island Sound. Our Lighthouse Kids program is a perfect fit. 

Above right: Nancy Bulkeley, of Dominion Nuclear, presents the check to SEMI / Lighthouse Kids instructor Jodi Barthels. THANK YOU!

Guests at the October 13 conveyance ceremony included last year's SEMI prize-winners from Nathan Hale (now attending Bennie Dover Jackson Middle School last year's SEMI students are shown at right.) They made a gift to the light on October 24.

Click on the image, above, to see The Day's panorama from atop the lighthouse lantern.
Below right: Nathan Hale SEMI Grade 4 discovers refracted light
Nathan Hale 4th-grade SEMI students discover light refracted through the lighthouse's Fresnel lens (below).

Click for more LIGHTHOUSE KIDS 2011-2012.
In October (above),students visited New London Harbor Light and learned about lighthouse design, the Thames River harbor and New London maritime history. In November (below) they came to the Custom House Maritime Museum. The Core Curriculum lesson the students focused on was to understand how man makes tools to better one's life. They began with Harold Griffith's carving tools, then moved on to a deep-sea diving suit, tools for sailors and aids to navigation. At the front of the building they read our Amistad plaque.
Jennings 4th-grade SEMI students learn about the Grandma Sue from museum docent Archie Chester. At the age of eight, Archie's grandfather dreamed of building a boat of his own design and sailing it to Florida. After a lifetime spent  raising a family and working in the saw pit of the Thames Tugboat yard, at age 78 Archie;'s grandfather fufilled his dream, built his boat and sailed south through the inland waterways. At the Custom House last week, students saw the hand tools Mr. Chester used to build the boat and a Grandma Sue model constructed by museum trustee Robert Stewart. Above are Archie Chester, in his grandfather's captain's hat, and SEMI teacher Jody Barthel with the Jennings students. In all, about 80 SEMI students visited the museum in November.
Super SEMI organizer & instructor Jody Barthel, of the New London Public Schools, pauses with a class in front of the Custom House Maritime Museum to read the Amistad plaque.
In December, the New London Maritime Society went into the classroom, helping students to discover Stoniongton's Captain Nathaniel Brown Palmer and learn four nautical knots: the square knot, bowline, figure eight, and half-hitch. Below, author Candace Sanford 
in the classroom with Jenning's 5th-grade SEMI Lighthouse Kids. 
In December, the New London Maritime Society visited the classroom! 
This month, SEMI students learned about Stonington's 19th-c Captain Nathaniel Palmer: A Maritime Pioneer. Author of the Palmer biography, Candace Sanford, is shown above on one of her visits to the classroom.
This month students also learned four nautical knots: the square knot, bowline, half-hitch, and figure S. 
Carolyn Leuze, Archie Chester and Robert Pittaway helped with the knots.
In February, thanks to a grant from Dominion Nuclear, we brought Geoff Kaufman to the classrooms to teach about sea music. Below are some scenes from Winthrop School's 4th and 5th-grade SEMI students.  February is Black History Month, so we also taught about the Amistad story. Geoff and students sang The Drinking Gourd. Below are students from Jennings 5th grade.
And here are photos from Geoff's visit to Jennings and Nathan Hale Elementary Schools.
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