Community Schools Connects Norwood Families, Teachers with UT’s McClung Museum to learn East Tennessee History
Nov. 2, 2019 — Nearly 150 Norwood Elementary Community School students and their families recently spent part of their weekend examining fossils found in East Tennessee to learn how the area has changed over time. The educational program was offered to Norwood’s families as part of an ongoing partnership the Community School has with the University of Tennessee’s McClung Museum.
“We started our partnership with Norwood about a year ago because we really wanted to open the door for Norwood’s students, families and teachers to connect with the museum and our scientists and other faculty members at UT,” said Leslie Chang Jantz, McClung’s Curator of Education. “By creating face-to-face interactions with these students early, we hope the students will see how accessible it is to attend UT when they get older and to perhaps become a scientist one day.”
As an added bonus, the McClung Museum team invited researchers from the Gray Fossil Site to the weekend event. They brought remains from an elephant-like mammal known as a mastodon that were discovered in the East Tennessee area in 2015, as well as other fossils that have been found in the area.
Students and their parents also had the chance to see what it’s like to be a real field scientist with the help of a virtual reality game, developed by the Smithsonian Museum in Washington, D.C. Through Norwood’s partnership with the McClung Museum, Norwood fourth-grade teacher Monica Brown had the opportunity to attend training at the Smithsonian over the summer. McClung’s staff continues to work with Brown and other teachers at the school to bring hands-on learning techniques to Norwood’s classrooms.