Maine Academy of Natural Sciences

At Good Will-Hinckley

Curriculum

You will find something more in the woods than in books.  Trees and stones will teach you that which can never learn from masters." - St. Bernard.

Outdoor Classroom

Using acres of organic farmland, natural forest, and wilderness as our primary classroom, the Maine Academy of Natural Sciences faculty and staff have designed an interdisciplinary curriculum that engages students in all required subjects (math, writing, art, social studies etc.)  All work is assigned with the Common Core Standards and Maine Learning Results.

Personal Learning Plan

Each student has a personalized learning plan that guides their progress through the curriculum. Areas of strength and challenge are identified. The Personal Learning Plan is a student-directed tool that customizes the student's learning opportunities, broadens his or her perspectives and supports attainment of goals through discovery, exploration and reflection in personal, academic, career and social areas. Career and college exploration are key areas of a student’s PLP.

Project-Based Learning - Group and Individual Projects

Students engage in hands-on, group projects such as: designing and creating learning trails, environmental monitoring of forest plots, growing crops in a greenhouse during the winter.

Classwork

Classwork includes laboratory work in earth sciences, wildlife and environmental science, plant and soil science, and aqua science. Students learn about and actively support local food systems, raising food for our cafeteria and residences, and, eventually, the broader community. Students work on learning gaps in areas they need to build skills in as dictated by their Personal Learning Plans. MeANS uses a national online program to help students with direct instruction in needed areas.

Internships and Work Placements

Internships and work placements also represent a significant part of the MeANS experience. We assist students in identifying specific areas of academic and career interest and seek placements with local organizations and businesses to provide students with tangible experiences that will help them hone their future plans—and make them more attractive to future employers.

Within 50 miles of our campus are key agricultural enterprises, including the Maine Grain Alliance, Johnny’s Seeds, Backyard Farms, Caverly’s Farm, Flood’s Farm, Grassland Farms, MOFGA, and FEDCO Seeds. MeANS faculty is committed to finding other suitable and willing employers to partner with our students.

Community College Connection

While attending MeANS every student will have the opportunity to take courses at Kennebec Valley Community College (KVCC) and/or other community colleges in Maine at no expense to begin the process of academic and social familiarization with college while still in high school.

Sample Projects:
  • In an autumn project, students build 3-4 raised beds, with at least one hoop house on each bed, on which they will plant, maintain and grow edible greens. MeANS will bring cooperative extension agriculture specialists to campus to lead discussions about soil and helpful vs. non-helpful species, developing composting programs etc.
  • Winter projects involve students working primarily in the greenhouse to raise greens to be used in the cafeteria; planning gardens for spring; starting seedlings indoors with grow lights; developing recycling and composting program; preparing for maple sugaring; and networking with local food hubs.
  • Examples of springtime projects include students tending to seedlings in greenhouse; developing a marketing plan for spring and summer produce; harvesting greens; researching small animals to include in next year’s work; preparing garden space for larger area crops such as pumpkins, corn, etc.; and investigating Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) possibilities.
Maine Academy of Natural Sciences | PO Box 159 |13 Easler Rd. | Hinckley, Maine 04944 | 207-238-4000 | means@gwh.org