Meet Our Maze Designers!

Saturday, October 18th, 2014 MaizeMania camp participants are guest hosts at Treinen Farm Corn Maze and Pumpkin Patch in Lodi, WI from 1-5pm. 

Walk or run through the children’s maze, created and mapped into the corn by these 11-14 year old designers.  Each camper’s original finger maze challenge and the story of their design process will also be on display for you to enjoy.  Last year’s children’s maze designer and this year’s student mentor for the camp will also be there to answer questions about the challenging and fun process of maze design. 

Treinen Farm continues to be nationally recognized and celebrated as one of the country’s most elegant and complex corn mazes.  Our collaboration with Angie and Alan Treinen, who generously shared their design expertise with camp participants and teachers, resulted in a rich, fun, and challenging experience for all.  You will be…well… “AMAIZED” to see what students and teachers accomplished in this fun and integrated math, art, and design experience.


October 6, 2013 – MaizeMania campers host the children’s maze at Treinen Farm Corn Maze and Pumpkin Patch in Lodi, WI.  These remarkable students designed 11 corn mazes to scale, learned how to cut a maze in the corn field, and worked together to map and cut one of their designs into the children’s maze.  Our 10-14 year old MaizeManiacs are there to answer your questions and talk with you about their experience.   Read the full press release:  MaizeMania Press Release October 2013



Here are links to our past Newsletters:

MELA Newsletter vol1 issue3

MELA Newsletter vol1 issue2

MELA newsletter vol1 issue1


News from 2012

MELA Article in Madison Commons

Madison Commons is an online publication through UW-Madison’s School of Journalism.  Student Haley Perrin attended our Family Info Meeting 1/7/13 and wrote an article about MELA and the Center for Engagement.  We thank Ms. Perrin for her interest and the time she invested in learning more about our project.  We fully support authentic student experiences such as those provided through Madison Commons for their journalism students.

In the article, Ms. Perrin quoted Michelle Sharpswain as saying, “One of the things that sets us apart from other expeditionary learning schools is really looking at what literacy is in the 21st century and making sure students understand the connections between [subjects].”

We would like to clarify that the attention to literacy across subjects is something that sets Expeditionary Learning (EL) apart from many other school models, and is one of the reasons MELA has chosen EL as the overarching school design.  In EL schools, teachers and students give attention to both the unique and the overlapping literacy skills needed in each subject area. For example, to read and understand a mathematical word problem, a poem, a technical science report and a historical account, a variety of literacy skills are necessary.  EL sees all teachers as literacy teachers and supports the development and application of those literacy skills across the curriculum.  This is not a unique aspect of MELA among EL schools, rather an aspect EL brings to our curriculum design that strengthens our program.

If you would like to read Ms. Perrin’s article, click HERE .


MELA Article in Wisconsin State Journal

January 7th, 2013 began with a front page article about MELA in the Wisconsin State Journal.  If you missed it, you can click HERE to read the online version of the article.


MELA Hosts Friend-Raising Event at Goodman Community Center

With the launch of the Center for Engagement in the Summer of 2012 and the projected opening of the High School in the Fall of 2013, there is a lot happening with this Madison-area non-profit.

Connect with an initiative that is committed to providing meaningful experiences for students and teachers in the Madison area.  See our main page for details.  We hope to see you there!


Launch of Center for Engagement In the News

Madison Expeditionary Learning Academy Co-Founder and President, Michelle Sharpswain, appeared on the Channel 15 Morning Show Tuesday, June 26, 2012 to talk about the launch of the Center for Engagement and the summer camp line-up.  You can watch the interview HERE.


MELA’s Center for Engagement Makes Appearance at Madison Farmer’s Market!

MELA hosted a table at the Madison Farmer’s Market on Saturday, June 30 to talk with the community about our Center for Engagement and summer line-up of interdisciplinary enrichment camps for.  Sarah Henkel, one of two instructors from Stealth Art: When Art and Kindness Meet was there with chalk in hand, encouraging anyone and everyone to draw a picture or add a positive thought.  Hundreds of people paused to enjoy the colorful art as flowers, vines and suns came alive on the pavement.  We look forward to seeing what Stealth Art shares with the community July 30-August 3rd. Spaces still available!!


MELA Partners With Howtoons for a Pilot Summer Program!

Madison Expeditionary Learning Academy is proud to announce we are teaming up with Howtoons to pilot an exciting new camp in Madison this summer!  Co-Founder and Illustrator for Howtoons, Nick Dragotta, will be a Resident Expert at the camp.  Nick has been deeply involved in the summer camp design.  This partnership will result in a national model for offering Howtoons camps across the country over the next few years.




Check here for ever-evolving links to organizations, projects, information, and schools that are inspiring and/or thought-provoking.

  • Interesting article from eSchool News about what schools can/should be doing to explicitly teach web literacy to students.  Where does this fit into literacy curriculum across the disciplines?

  • Interesting hands-on activities combine with graphic novel storytelling in this website full of free and interesting challenges for kids (especially 10-12 year olds).

  • The National Academy of Engineering presents Grand Challenges in Engineering for the 21st Century.

  • A resource for science and mathematics activities for K-12 educators.

  • Harborside Academy is a highly engaged college-preparatory EL high school.  The staff and students at Harborside have been a great resource and source of support throughout MELA’s design process.

A very rich physics resource for educators, parents, and students.

  • “The New Learning Institute delivers engaging, personalized, project-based digital media programs to young people and educators.”

  • This is the place to go for any questions about Expeditionary Learning.

  • This is the website for Make Magazine.  Technology, engineering, science, design and mathematics all weave their way into creative solutions for real world social science and STEM challenges.