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Parks as Classrooms

Addressing the Program Standards in Science Education

  • Consistency of science program standards across grade levels
  • Standards across curriculums
  • Coordination of science program with mathematics education
  • Provision of resources
  • Equity and excellence
  • Development of learning communities

Parks as Classrooms program aims to promote greater understanding and appreciation of our natural and cultural heritage and to develop sustainable partnerships among parks, schools and communities that utilize the educational potential of National Park Service (NPS) resources. It offers accredited workshops and professional development courses in which teachers of Kindergarten through grade 12 learn about park resources and scientific and environmental topics. The workshops provide hands-on options for addressing curriculum requirements, methodologies to enhance critical thinking, and projects for portfolio assessment projects. They also encourage self-discovery, promote the use of technology, and address interdisciplinary topics. Computers are used to collect data and exchange information, monitor park resources (air, water, and land); and predict landform changes and population cycles.

Model programs are being developed in Acadia National Park (Maine), Atlanta Parks, Boston National Historical Park, Cuyahoga Valley National Recreation Area (Ohio), Everglades National Park (Florida), Harpers Ferry National Historical Park (West Virginia), Petroglyph National Monument (New Mexico), Rocky Mountain National Park (Colorado), and Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area.

Programs in major urban areas (e.g., Gateway National Recreation Area in New York City, Golden Gate National Recreation Area in San Francisco, and Jefferson Expansion Memorial in St. Louis) provide National Park activities to urban communities that traditionally have been unable to offer such experiences. Some programs have developed curriculum-based study guides, kits, videotapes, and teacher and student guides to help with preparation and follow-up, extend the learning experience, and reinforce classroom teaching. Information about specific programs, activities, and materials may be obtained from the NPS Center for Teaching and Learning at the University of Massachusetts-Lowell (508-970-5021), local national park sites, or the NPS World Wide Web site (http://www.nps.gov/parkclass.html). (Executive Director: Patti Reilly)


Patti Reilly
National Park Foundation
1101 17th Street NW, Suite 1102
Washington, DC 20036

Phone 202-785-4500
Fax 202-785-3539
Internet: patti_reilly_@nps.gov

Project information provided by Toby Levine Communications, Inc., as it appears in the Annenberg/CPB Math and Science Project's The Guide to Math & Science Reform, Fall 1996 edition. For a complete listing and discussion of the over 950 reform initiatives and 230 organizational profiles listed in The Guide to Math & Science Reform, click here. For information on how to order The Guide, click here.

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