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The William N. Pennington Foundation recently granted the Terry Lee Wells Nevada Discovery Museum (The Discovery) $50,000 to increase access to the museum’s standards aligned field trip program. This grant creates a no-cost opportunity for WCSD schools with 50% or higher Free and Reduced Lunch program (FRL) enrollment to visit the museum on a field trip.
The Discovery’s field trip program focuses on increasing science literacy for pre-K through 8th grade students. In addition to exploring the entire museum, field trip participants take part in hands-on Discovery Lab activities tied to Next Generation Science and Common Core standards designed to foster inquiry and engagement with science, technology, engineering, art and math (STEAM) concepts.
Current Discovery Lab activities focus on topics such as “Defying Gravity,” “Fossil Finders,” “Circuit STEAM” and a lab focused on sustainability. The Discovery serves more than 17,000 pre-K through 8th grade students through the field trip program each year.
The Pennington Foundation’s generosity is aptly timed, as The Discovery recently announced the extension of its featured exhibition, A T. rex Named Sue, through Sunday, May 13, 2018. This colossal exhibition from the Field Museum of Chicago features a 42-foot-long cast of Sue, the largest, best-preserved and most complete Tyrannasaurus Rex fossil in the world. Digital and hands-on interactive exhibits in English and Spanish help visitors uncover Sue’s past and explore the field of paleontology.
This generous grant from the Pennington Foundation follows the recent designation of The Discovery’s field trip program as a “Recommended STEM Program” by Governor Brian Sandoval’s Nevada STEM Advisory Council. The designation was given to 16 evidence-based, high-quality STEM programs in the state of Nevada. Each program’s application was thoroughly evaluated by a group of trained, Nevada-based reviewers according to a Nevada-specific rubric. The Discovery’s field trip program and Desert Research Institute’s Science Alive program were the only two organizations recognized from Northern Nevada.
Washoe County School District schools with 50% or higher FRL enrollment can take advantage of this opportunity to visit The Discovery on a field trip by making an online reservation. Eligible schools will be asked to complete a brief application and pay a $25 application fee to access these funds. The remaining field trip admission will be supported by Pennington Foundation funding. Bus transportation to and from the museum is included. Grant funds will be expended on a first come, first served basis.
Washoe County School District schools that don’t qualify for this underwritten funding can still apply for financial assistance through The Discovery to offset field trip costs.