Main Street as classroom for teachers and students |

Main Street as classroom for teachers and students

Last Wednesday, a group of teachers gathered to meet the education directors of the Park City Museum, Kimball Art Center and Mega-Genius Supply Store and IQ HQ to discuss educational programs offered on Main Street.

Jenette Purdy serves as the educational curator and the Park City Museum. Purdy most often works with teachers to provide historical lessons and field trips at the museum. She explained that one of the most rewarding aspects of her job is taking students through the museum and making history relevant to their lives.

"Kids are so curious, it’s exciting to work with them," Purdy said.

The museum provides a place for students to get a sense of the past. The museum’s changing gallery offers rotating exhibits that coincide with Utah’s curriculum. All exhibits are free to Summit and Wasatch County schools, Purdy explained.

A typical field trip to the Park City Museum would include a guided tour of the facility and hands-on activities.

One of the museum galleries is currently hosting an exhibit about the Pony Express and includes quotes, facts and artwork from the eighth grade science class at the Treasure Mountain International School.

The museum also offers two traveling trunks, which are specifically designed for second and eighth-grade classes. Teachers can rent the trunks and bring a history lesson to their classroom, Purdy explained.

"The traveling trunks are a great opportunity to address things in history that we wouldn’t normally offer in our museum," Purdy said. And it gives teachers the flexibility of engaging students within the classroom, she explained.

The second-grade trunk is called "Life of a Miner" and offers historic facts about early Park City and the mining era, Purdy explained. The trunk includes photographs, games, objects for activities, rocks and things to do with mining.

"The second graders have been coming to the museum forever it’s a tradition," Purdy said.

The Kimball Art Center:

Jenny Diersen, education director of the Kimball Art Center explained that they distribute ARTS (Academic Resources for Teachers and Students) packets to schools throughout Summit and Wasatch County. The packets include lesson plans and art activities to go along with the core subjects taught in school: math, English, science and history, Diersen explained.

"Teachers can educate students in core subjects and incorporate art. We develop the lesson plans in accordance with the states curriculum," Diersen said.

The lesson plans can also be found on the Kimball Art Center website, and by searching through the archives, teachers can look back and download previous lessons, Diersen explained.

Kimball Art Center exhibits rotate every four to six weeks and are always free. A typical field trip to the art center includes a tour through the exhibit for 45 minutes followed by a hands-on art project that students can take home, explained Diersen.

"My favorite part of the program is the reaction to the art. The students have a lot of great comments. They see a lot of similarities in what they are learning in school. It’s great that they can make that connection," Diersen said.

The Kimball Art Center recently helped students learned about the evolution of shoes in our culture. After going through The Perfect Fit: Shoes Tell Stories exhibit, created by North Summit Elementary School, students crafted shoes out of paper.

"There were shoes that could take you to outer space or shoes that could talk to animals. Some students also included a creative writing piece to go along with their art project," Diersen said.

Joanna Hammel, first grade teacher at McPolin Elementary School explained that the open house provided an opportunity to learn about the recourses offered in our community.

"I’ve already scheduled one class field trip to the Kimball Art Center and look forward to sharing my knowledge of the other programs with my fellow teachers and parents," Hammel said.

The Mega-Genius Supply Store and IQ HQ

Teri Orr, executive director of the Mega-Genius Supply Store and IQ HQ explained that the store’s after-school program is there for students interested in getting extra help with a specific project, literacy, reading and writing skills.

The program will also tutor students in other subjects, "If you bring in math homework, I’ll find someone that will help you. But it won’t be me," Orr said with a laugh.

For some children, the program offers a safe place, "Because we’re not the student’s teacher or parent, we’re here to pay attention to them one-on-one," Orr said.

Other students might be getting assignments done OK, but still need help. "We love helping students see their inner genius and helping them with their critical thinking skills, Orr said.

Since the program opened in January 2010, it has helped more than 1,200 student visitors and accumulated more than 50 rotating volunteers. The program runs throughout the school year with a break in the summer due of funding.

Ari Fishman, reading teacher at the Treasure Mountain International School already encourages her students to go to the Genius Supply store. "The free one on one tutoring has been invaluable for several of my reluctant readers. Gifted students have also flourished there – one even published a book," Fishman said.

For more information about the educational options offered on Main Street, please contact Jenette Purdy at , Jenny Diersen at , or Teri Orr at .

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