The Bayfront Maritime Center and Big Ideas Learning Announce their new Partnership

Richard Eisenberg from the Bayfront Maritime Center (Erie, Pennsylvania) and Matthew Totzke from Big Ideas Learning are pleased to announce the creation of a partnership to help complete the 1812 Schooner Porcupine and create STEM related curriculum for use aboard the Schoolship for Presque Isle Bay.

Matt Rich Check and Banner standing on the bow

Matt Totzke, Big Ideas Learning CEO and Rich Eisenburg, BMC Director standing on Porcupine’s bow announcing their partnership. Photo: Bayfront Maritime Center

Big Ideas Learning, an Erie company which creates research-based, rigorous, and coherent mathematics curriculum for middle and high school students, has agreed to multi-year funding to help with the vessel’s construction and to create programming for the Schooner Porcupine. Big Ideas Learning has presented BMC with a $25,000 check and is committed to gifting an additional $25,000 in 2018.  Support will continue for an additional five years after next year, providing funding and maritime themed math curriculum for onboard programming.

Based on a War of 1812 Navy Gunboat built in Erie by Daniel Dobbins, Porcupine is currently being built from a donated fiberglass hull and will more than quadruple the capacity of any current BMC vessel. Day sail education programs will host 30 students and teachers, or passengers. Up to 12 students will sail aboard for overnight and multi-day programs. Onboard participants will study the bay’s ecology and water quality, navigation, meteorology, Shipwreck Science, and explore decades of Erie’s maritime history. After sailing with Perry’s fleet in the Battle of Lake Erie and several other War of 1812 campaigns, the Schooner Porcupine sailed for 60 years!

This new partnership between BMC and Big Ideas Learning will meld middle and high school mathematics with experiential hands-on learning aboard the Schooner Porcupine. This unique approach will broaden the student’s comprehension of the real-life practical applications of mathematics and science which will help engage students and empower them to aspire to be more: to achieve success in the classroom, get jobs that sustain themselves and their families, and pursue higher education and to become life-long learners.

“I am very pleased to announce this partnership,” said BMC Director, Richard Eisenberg. “Education today is rapidly changing and requires new and innovative thinking.”  “We share a similar vision with BMC,” said Matthew Totzke, CEO of Big Ideas Learning. “Together we can meet the challenge of providing opportunities for students to connect classroom learning to their daily lives and to explore the real world in engaging and meaningful ways.”

Rich Dennis Ken Matt Susan Doug and Check 4Aug17

L to R: Rich Eisenberg – BCM Director, Dennis Williams – BMC Board Secretary, Ken Phillips – Porcupine Volunteer Extraordinaire, Matt Totzke – Big Ideas Learning CEO, Susan Dombrowski – Big Ideas Learning​ ​VP Finance, Doug Boucher – BMC Board President.  Photo: Bayfront Maritime Center

About BMC: The Bayfront Maritime Center (BMC) began operations in May 1998.  It is a not-for-profit, community based 501(c)(3) organization providing hands-on, maritime themed, educational, vocational, and recreational opportunities to the community. It has served 19,000 citizens over the past 19 years. BMC’s innovative programming helped the PA Department of Education-Migrant Division win the prestigious 2011 Excellence in Summer Learning Award and received the Pennsylvania Governor’s Excellence in Environmental Educational award in 2002.


About Big Ideas Learning: Big Ideas Learning has been creating award-winning instructional materials and classroom tools that support world-class mathematics education since 2008.

For more information, contact:
Richard Eisenberg, BMC Executive Director
Email:  (814) 456-4077 (cell) 814-602-0550


Matthew Totzke, CEO, Big Ideas Learning and Larson Texts
Email:  (814) 824-6365  

Link to Erie Times News Story covering New Partnership:

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