Tennessee Aquarium Launches Curated Educational Series To Support Parents’ Newfound Role As Homeschool Teachers

Thursday, April 9, 2020

The Tennessee Aquarium has created Weekday Wonders, a series of free, science-at-home activities. 

Officials said, "Under normal circumstances, the home is a cherished refuge from the cares of the world. These days are anything but normal, however, and for many parents, overseeing school lessons for homebound children is an unexpected source of stress and uncertainty.  In the interest of helping parents by getting kids outside, away from screens and engaged in easy-to-understand, hands-on lessons, we created the Weekday Wonders series."
 
"Developed by the Aquarium’s award-winning education department, Weekday Wonders offers curated science content that has more structure than some other kinds of activities without the formality of an actual school lesson," says Dr. Brooke Gorman, the Aquarium’s director of science education. 

"This series is specially designed for pre-K through fifth-grade children whose parents are suddenly finding themselves homeschooling unexpectedly,” Dr. Gorman says. “A lot of people aren’t really comfortable with science, so we want to help support those parents to help their kids learn without feeling the pressure of feeling nervous about what they know or don’t know.”
 
"Weekday Wonders activities are crafted to reflect and augment the lessons students would be tackling in the classroom; to make things easier on impromptu homeschool educators, though they are written so that parents can easily set their kids on a path to meaningful scientific discussions and revelations," officials said.
 
The series is constructed around five-day “weeks,” each of which explores an overarching topic, such as “living things and the environment” or “ecosystem diversity.” New lessons are released daily, focusing on questions such as “What do animals need to live?” and “Where do animals live in rivers and streams?” 
 
"Easy-to-read daily activity guides walk parents and their kids through a variety of engaging activities, discussions and physical challenges, including daily nature journaling topics, hands-on art or crafting projects, backyard scientific investigations and even animal-themed yoga poses," officials said.
 
“The guides are general enough that all ages can do something with them,” Dr. Gorman says. “We really wanted to think of ways that kids can do things that don’t involve devices and get them outside near their homes.
 
"And just as importantly, Weekday Wonders should take some of the strain off parents who feel overwhelmed with the need to micromanage their children’s education. 
 
“Even though these daily guides include interactive activities, we have tried to make them things that parents can get kids started on and then let the kids continue on their own. That way, parents have time to tackle their own work or prepare other activities.”
 
"Weekday Wonders is the latest resource the Aquarium is offering to help de-stress parents and others who feel increasingly disconnected — from each other as well as the natural world — during the ongoing health crisis," officials said.
 
Each weekday at 1 p.m. Eastern, the Aquarium is producing live streams that include “moment of Zen” calming views of various exhibits and expert-led discussions of various animals or behaviors. These #AquariumAtHome Facebook Lives frequently offer behind-the-scenes views and are opportunities for digital visitors (and their children) to interact directly with Aquarium staff. The topic and timing of the daily stream is announced each morning on the Aquarium’s Facebook page. 
 
To help provide mental stimulation, distraction and stress relief to viewers of all ages, the Aquarium also has assembled a wealth of free content at tnaqua.org/aquarium-at-home. This site serves as a convening point for a variety of fun resources, including:
 
•  Access to always-on webcams in the Secret Reef, River Otter Falls and Penguins’ Rock;
•  Printable activity sheets;
•  Educational video series;
•  Naturalist Notebook blog written by Tennessee Aquarium Education Outreach Coordinator Bill Haley;
•  Streamable IMAX films and accompanying educational guides; and
•  A guide to backyard birdwatching.
 
In the interest of public safety and in accordance with Tennessee’s statewide shelter-in-place order, the Tennessee Aquarium and IMAX 3D Theater remain closed to the public until further notice.


Tennessee Aquarium Rolls Out 3 New Webcams Featuring Jellies, Lemurs, And Reef Fish

Wilderness At The Smokies To Reopen On May 28

Rock City Gardens Reopening In Phases; Open To The Public On Thursday


At times when stress levels rise in our daily lives, there is an undeniable allure to the notion of escaping — even if only digitally — to another place. A 2015 study by researchers at ... (click for more)

Wilderness at the Smokies officials announced on Thursday that their resort will be reopening on Thursday, May 28. “We recognize that the last eight weeks have been challenging for everyone, ... (click for more)

See Rock City Inc. announced a phased reopening for Rock City Gardens during its Founder’s Day week beginning Monday, for annual and Lookout Mountain resident passholders. Rock City is open 8:30 ... (click for more)



Travel

Tennessee Aquarium Rolls Out 3 New Webcams Featuring Jellies, Lemurs, And Reef Fish

At times when stress levels rise in our daily lives, there is an undeniable allure to the notion of escaping — even if only digitally — to another place. A 2015 study by researchers at Plymouth University in the U.K. found links between watching aquariums and mental health benefits, including improved mood and noticeably lower blood pressure and heart rate. For 28 years, ... (click for more)

Wilderness At The Smokies To Reopen On May 28

Wilderness at the Smokies officials announced on Thursday that their resort will be reopening on Thursday, May 28. “We recognize that the last eight weeks have been challenging for everyone, especially families with small children, and we want to provide a fun and safe place for them to escape to when they are ready,” said Joe Eck, COO of Wilderness Resorts and Waterparks. ... (click for more)

Breaking News

Friends Of The Festival Cancels Riverbend 2020

Friends of the Festival, the nonprofit organization behind Chattanooga’s premier music festival Riverbend, has made the decision to cancel this year’s event due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In response, Friends of the Festival is unveiling new plans to continue to deliver music to the city’s riverfront in light of the new realities brought on by the pandemic. In what would have ... (click for more)

Demetrus Coonrod, Other Council Members Call For End To Black On Black Crime; Advocate Peaceful Protest, Not Violence

City Councilwoman Demetrus Coonrod on Tuesday night made an impassioned plea for an end to black on black crime. She did so after a recent Chattanooga murder left her granddaughter without a father. Councilwoman Coonrod spoke strongly in favor of protests against police brutality, but said there was no place for violence or destruction as part of that movement. Other black ... (click for more)

Opinion

It's About Time Riverbend Was Cancelled

Since its inception, Friends of the Festival seemed bound and determined to make Riverbend a national event, ignoring the opinions of many Chattanoogans. Riverbend started as a local event drawing on the tastes and desires of local citizens yet has devolved into an outrageously expensive, super-crowded two-week-long free-for-all. Riverbend has drastically deviated from its original ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Two Inches From Hell

By ordinary standards it might be best described as one of life’s worst 1-2 punches, a pair of hard, personal blows that drop you to your knees. True, each devastating blow was uncommonly back to back. But, no, when I learned Wednesday morning that college football icon Johnny Majors had died just some 48 hours after another legend, Auburn’s Pat Dye, it was as though I’d been hit ... (click for more)