Do you live hundreds or thousands of miles away from Grand Canyon? Why not let Park Rangers bring Grand Canyon to your classroom?
Recently, the park unveiled its new, high tech, Virtual Studio for Kids. The new studio replaces a temporary one that had been in use since 2006. Improvements include the addition of green-screen technology and an integrated system that allows for high definition, live, multi-camera video production. In addition, schools now have the option of connecting via Skype or through a dedicated IP address, allowing for flexibility for those who would like to take advantage of the programs offered.
Using the studio, environmental education rangers at Grand Canyon National Park offer five different, free, curriculum-based, interactive classroom presentations, each appropriate for a different age range. Topics include ecology, geology and human history. Teachers can choose the particular presentation they want for their students and can even sign up for several different presentations, but each presentation requires its own timeslot of about an hour. In addition to the virtual fieldtrips, lesson plans, pre- and post-assessments and other materials have been developed for each of the presentations to help build background knowledge on the topic of study before students even “meet” the rangers.