10/21/2013

New NPS online tool for teachers brings national parks into classrooms

National Park Service News Release

Contact: Barak Geertsen, barak_geertsen@nps.gov, (620) 223-0310



Back to School – in America’s National Parks
National Park Service Helps Teachers Make Learning Fun & Relevant 


Fort Scott, KS - Teachers across the country have a new tool to help them engage their students in classroom and place-based learning.

The National Park Service (NPS) has launched a new online service for teachers that brings America’s national parks, including Fort Scott National Historic Site, into neighborhood classrooms. The new “Teachers” section of the National Park Service website at www.nps.gov/teachers provides a one-stop shop for curriculum-based lesson plans, traveling trunks, maps, activities, distance learning, and other resources. All of the materials draw from the spectacular natural landscapes and authentic places preserved in America’s national parks.

“Fort Scott National Historic Site (FSNHS) has long welcomed 4-state area students to the park for field trips,” said Kelley Collins, acting superintendent of FSNHS. And now, through the new “Teachers” National Park Service website, all 401 national parks are throwing open the doors and inviting teachers and students to learn about literature using a lesson plan from Carl Sandburg Home National Historic Site, borrow a traveling trunk from Lava Beds National Monument, chat online with a ranger at the Grand Canyon National Park, or visit Mt. McKinley in Denali National Park.” 

“Our staff is still working to post the numerous resources and materials available on Westward Expansion, Bleeding Kansas, and the Civil War,” said Collins. “We offer lesson plans, a traveling trunk, distance learning programs, and on-site education programs, all of which will be listed on the portal”.

The site is searchable by location, keyword, and more than 125 subjects, from archeology, to biology, to Constitutional law. Teachers will, for the first time, be able to rate NPS-provided content. In addition to park-created content, the site also features educational materials created by NPS national programs like the National Register of Historic Places and its award-winning Teaching with Historic Places series of 147 lesson plans.

The website is just one part of the National Park Service’s ongoing commitment to education. Every year, national parks offer more than 57,000 educational programs in parks for nearly three million students, in addition to the 563,000 interpretive programs attended by 12.6 million visitors. At launch, the website offered more than 700 lesson plans, 140 field trips, 50 traveling trunks, 44 distance learning opportunities, 16 teachers’ institutes, 47 online galleries, and 100 teacher workshops, and will add new content as it is developed. The site offers teachers the opportunity to rate the materials provided. 

The National Park Service is also working with partners and educational institutions to expand programs and encourage the use of parks as places of learning. The agency has partnered with the Department of Education to integrate national park resources into core curriculums and, each summer, dozens of teachers participate in professional development opportunities in parks, creating education materials based on park resources through the Teacher Ranger Teacher program.

To learn more about the National Park Service’s education programs, visit www.nps.gov/teachers.

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About the National Park Service. More than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for America's 401 national parks and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities. Learn more at www.nps.gov Visit us on Facebook www.facebook.com/nationalparkservice, Twitter www.twitter.com/natlparkservice, and YouTube www.youtub.com/nationalparkservice.

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