Q & A with Nathaniel Newlin on Online Educational Opportunities

As schools begin to reopen, and as many students experience virtual learning or homeschooling for the first time, we wanted to sit down with our experts in the Education Department and see how Discovery Park of America is helping students, teachers and parents during the era of online education. Nathaniel Newlin, Assistant Education Director, gives us the inside scoop on the free online resources that are available for students and teachers.

Question: How is Discovery Park of America helping teachers and students during the era of online learning?

We are excited to announce that beginning in September 2020, Discovery Park’s education team will be offering virtual field trip options for classes, homeschool groups and even families. These programs will include a roughly 20-minute video call with an education specialist on our team, as well as activities for before and after the lesson. We are also collaborating with the University of Tennessee at Martin to offer weekly virtual learning opportunities with professors that are passionate about their academic specialties.

Question: Are the available resources following state standards?

Yes. All curricula offered through our virtual and on-site field trip programs are designed to address Tennessee state academic standards for their targeted ages and grades. Even the virtual opportunities available through the Discovery Park – UT Martin partnership will be grounded in Tennessee state standards.

Question: What programs are you offering for online learning?

Our virtual opportunities will include practically all subjects that are available through our on-site Field Trip Catalog. These options are as encyclopedic as Discovery Park of America itself, and cover broad sectors of science, technology, history, art and philosophy. The online discussions with professors will cover equally eclectic material, as we will be working with faculty across multiple departments at UT Martin.

Question: Where can teachers and parents find the online resources?

All virtual resources offered by Discovery Park of America will be accessible on our website, under the Education tab. Materials offered in partnership with UT Martin will also be shared on our Facebook page and YouTube channel. Questions or requests for additional materials may be submitted to education@discoveryparkofamerica.com.

Question: What about homeschool days? What will those look like this year?

At this time, Discovery Park’s monthly Homeschool Day program will continue as scheduled. We are, of course, requiring all educators and students to wear masks and social distance. Class size is being restricted, and all lessons will be held in the largest rooms available at the park to make social distancing as natural and comfortable as possible for our students.  Every effort is being made by our team to assure that these precautions do not diminish the quality of curriculum or the students’ experience.

Question: Is there an opportunity to give to Discovery Park and help with these programs? 

Yes! You can donate through our website, discoveryparkofamerica.com, or by calling 731-885-5455. Our patrons’ donations ensure that our programs will continue to inspire children and adults to see beyond, even during a pandemic. We are grateful for all of the generous donors who have made our resources available to hundreds of thousands of children over the last 7 years, and we look forward to ringing in a new era as we expand these opportunities to encompass anyone and everyone who can access our online content.