Virtual fieldtrip brings park into classrooms

Three Cherokee Middle School students starred in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park live field broadcast via the web to hundreds of schools across the nation last month.

The rest of Cherokee’s middle school students watched the virtual fieldtrip from the school auditorium. The students watching the video could call or e-mail questions to the park rangers to answer in real time.

The Electronic Field Trip gave middle school students an interactive opportunity to understand how plants and animals depend on one another as part of the same ecosystem. During the educational adventure, students learned how the variety of elevations, abundant rainfall and the presence of old growth forests give the park unusually high level of biodiversity, from black bears to microscopic waterbears, lichens, elk and lungless salamanders.

Southwestern Community College GEAR UP coordinated the three students’ involvement in the experience and the schoolwide viewing of the webcast.

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