From Sap to Syrup: Wisconsin Maple Syrup


Fallen Timbers Picture
Close up picture of steam from pan. Water evaporates at a rapid rate from the Leader stainless steel pan, concentrating the sugar within the sap.


Unique to Wisconsin, the Northeastern United States, and Canada, maple syrup-making involves the use of sugar and black maple tree sap to produce a delicious liquid product. During this program, students will observe and interact with the staff of an environmental science facility selecting and tapping trees, gathering sap and producing syrup in the Cartier Outdoor Classroom Maple Syrup Cabin. “Nips” of maple syrup will be shipped to all schools so students can taste and, if schools wish to tap their own trees, several hooks and spiles will be included. The price of these is included in the cost of the program.

Learning Objectives:

Students will

  • Learn to identify trees needed to produce maple syrup
  • Understand how trees function during the winter/early spring
  • Recognize maple syrup-making equipment, and how it’s used
  • Know how maple sap is converted into maple syrup
  • Understand why maple syrup-making is a business within the Northeastern United States

Program Format:

  1. Introduction to the topic and facilitator
  2. Preface to Wisconsin maple syrup season, and a brief history including Native American traditions
  3. Identify sugar and black maple trees, and discuss “winter” biology
  4. Demonstrate functions of maple syrup “tapping” equipment
  5. Videotaped journey to the Maple Syrup Cabin, where sap is boiled/evaporated to produce syrup. This portion of the program is narrated by a 4th-generation Vermont maple-syrup maker.
  6. Show the finished product and taste the syrup
  7. Describe the business and economic value of producing syrup (optional)
  8. Time for Questions and Answers

Students, grades 3-12

Primary Disciplines:

Sciences, Social Studies/History, Environmental Sciences, Agriculture Education, Economics

Cost per session/school:

$150 per session

For more information about this program:
Visit the Center for Interactive Learning & Collaboration (CILC) for more details, including standards met by this program.

Maple syrup
Examples of maple syrup
Comments about this program:

“Students increased their knowledge on how natural resources are changed into a commodity. Also, many had never tried “real” maple syrup. They loved it, and are reporting back to me when they try it on something new at home!” Anonymous

“My students learned more about how the sap is turned into syrup. It was very interesting to see the sugar house and how the syrup goes through the pipes.” St Martin East, Mississippi

About the presenter:

Libby Dorn has been involved in environmental education for the past 22 years. With a Masters in Education emphasizing environmental science, Libby loves to enthuse and engage learners in the outdoor environment.



For more information, contact:

Dean Leisgang
Distance Learning Coordinator & Scheduler
(920) 617-5633



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