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Discovery Park of America and UT Martin Partner to Provide Free Virtual Learning Resources for Children

Discovery Park’s Katie Jarvis (right) interviews Kyoko Hammond, lecturer of Japanese at UT Martin. Hammond gives a lesson on how to say words and phrases in Japanese.

UNION CITY (August 31) – Discovery Park of America partnered with the University of Tennessee at Martin to provide free digital resources to teachers and parents who are now navigating the world of virtual education. Many students are spending more time learning from home because of the threat of the novel coronavirus, COVID-19.

Hosted by Katie Jarvis of Discovery Park, professors from UT Martin share a fun and entertaining 20-30 minute Zoom lesson utilizing their areas of expertise. Topics covered include Japanese, computer science, astronomy, public speaking, history, music, geology and more. The lessons are recorded on Zoom and shared on Discovery Park’s education resource page.

“We met with our friends at UT Martin to explore ways we could combine our resources to support teachers and parents during this time, and collectively, we came up with this idea,” said Jarvis. “I am excited and honored to be the host of this series, especially with professors I had when I attended UT Martin.”

While the lessons target students in grades six through nine, they are available to anyone interested in the topics covered.

“This is a great opportunity for a university and a museum, both located in Northwest Tennessee, to collaborate together to bring rich, educational content not only to our local communities, but to students and lifelong learners around the world,” said Polly Brasher, Discovery Park’s education director. “Our mission is to inspire children and adults to see beyond, and we’re thrilled we can implement that mission beyond the walls of our museum in such a unique way,” she added.

Kyoko Hammond, lecturer of Japanese at UT Martin, shared her thoughts on why technology and this partnership is so important today more than ever.

“There can be no doubt that technology has brought our world closer together than ever before. As an educator, I believe that we all should be curious what is going on outside our immediate borders and, above all, be compassionate toward one another,” said Hammond. “I consider teaching the Japanese language and culture at UT Martin to be a great privilege because it enables me to contribute to the goal of intercultural peace and understanding. I am very excited about our partnership with the Discovery Park of America and look forward to more opportunities to collaborate with Discovery Park to the benefit of all of us, here and abroad.”

Discovery Park also recently announced free virtual field trips that provide a unique, standards-based educational program that may be experienced from home or a classroom.

Since opening, Discovery Park has provided support for teachers and administrators in taking STEAM and history teaching out of the classroom and applying it in a hands-on, state-of-the-art experience at the museum and heritage park located in Union City. The facility is still hosting student groups for field trips and are open to the public. They are strictly following all recommended health and safety guidelines for employees and guests including mask-wearing.

The first six recordings from the partnership include:

  • “Japanese 101” with Kyoko Hammond, lecturer of Japanese
  • “Storytelling with Alice” and “Programming in Python (3)” with Dr. Kate Ericson, associate professor of computer science
  • “Why is physical activity important?” with Dr. Tim Dasinger, assistant professor of health and human performance
  • “Introduction to German” with Dr. Charles Hammond, professor of German
  • “Benefits of Teaching Physical Education during COVID-19” with Dr. Stuart Currie, associate professor of health and human performance
  • “How to Organize and Deliver an Effective Speech” with Dr. Teresa Collard, communications professor.

These and more can be found at

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