At Blyth-Templeton Academy we know that learning doesn’t stop during the summer holiday. As our new students gear up for our opening day this fall, we have compiled a list of our team’s favorite summer destinations that bring together fun and learning for an impactful holiday trip. We also understand first-hand how hands-on and experiential learning can impact and engage young learners, helping them connect with history, the arts, math and science like never before.
Put down the remote and head out for some summer fun that will both engage your students’ brains and provide fun experiences for the whole family. Remember to ask questions and share experiences throughout the visit to engage your young explorers’ minds and create new, hands-on learning opportunities.
1. Hatch Show Print
Start in your own backyard with a walk through history at Nashville’s Country Music Hall of Fame, culminating in a hands-on tour of the nearly 140-year old Hatch Show Print, a historic printing shop still working today that is known for its creation of iconic concert posters for artists from Loretta Lynn to Led Zeppelin and Bessie Smith to Moby. Each collectors piece was hand-designed and printed and their work for well-known artists today is completed just as it was more than 100 years ago. A hands-on tour of the historic print shop is a memorable experience, especially for budding artists and entertainers. It showcases the history of printing, art design and font design in the U.S.; and offers an engaging walk down musical memory lane.
2. Memphis Zoo
If you’re heading out of town, don’t miss the Memphis Zoo, with more than 70 acres of hospitable habitats that house more than 3,000 animal species. Underwater views help your explorer get up close and personal with animals, and new exhibits open all the time. Take a detailed look at the informative exhibits throughout the park to learn more about the animals we share this planet with and what it takes to keep them healthy and happy, in Memphis and in interesting habitats around the globe.
3. Casey Jones Home and Railroad Museum
Step back in time in Jackson’s 8,000 square foot railroad museum and 1800’s themed town, with interactive exhibits and historic artifacts dedicated the impact of America’s railroad men and women throughout history. You can tour historic houses and visit an old ice cream parlor and sweets store, while learning more about railroad hero Casey Jones. A permanent exhibit entitled "The Railroads & The Civil War in Tennessee” offers insight into the impact of the railroad on our nation’s civil war.
4. Museum of Scott County
This Huntsville gem was designed and built by students for students! It truly brings history alive with detailed exhibits that cover Tennessee’s rich history. Visitors experience the joys and the hardships of early Appalachian life through historic structures, livestock, historical artifacts, an interactive learning lab, and the largest collection of memorabilia from the USS Tennessee battleship.
5. Bays Mountain Park and Planetarium
A visit to Kingsport must include a trip to its planetarium and hands-on experience with the more than 3,500-acre park. If you are a hiker or biker, you’ll enjoy hundreds of miles of pristine trails and engaging flora and fauna along the way. Keep an eye out for river otters, deer, snakes, bobcats, wolves and turtles during your visit. History buffs can view artifacts from some of the earliest settlers of the mountain in the 1800s and the planetarium is truly state of the art, featuring a 40-foot dome and detailed view of deep-sky objects. Engage your budding scientists with this exciting journey.
Here are a few questions to help start engaging in educational conversations about your trip.
- What’s the most interesting thing you learned today?
- What do you know about the history of Tennessee that you didn’t know before?
- Who’s the favorite person (or animal) you met or learned about today? How is their life (or habitat) similar/different to your own?
- What jobs and careers did you learn about today – who was working at the (location)? Did their job seem interesting?
- Should we find some books on (topic, location, place) to learn more together?
Want to learn more about Blyth-Temepleton Academy's Experiential Learning model? Check out our digital resource, Beyond the Desk: Why Experiential Learning is Crucial at the Middle and High School Level!