A Gem of a Story is a live, interactive, televised electronic field trip for grades 7-12 to the recently constructed Janet Annenberg Hooker Hall of Geology, Gems, and Minerals at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C. This is the first part of The Best Stories from Planet Earth series, which also includes "Messages from Outer Space," a program focusing on how space "artifacts" such as meteorites help us understand the origin and shaping of the Earth, Moon, and solar system, and "Stories Written in Stone", a program about volcanoes, earthquakes, and plate tectonics.
     Diamonds. Emeralds. Sapphires. Rubies. Throughout history, these precious stones have fascinated people around the world. Billions of dollars have changed hands as these "priceless" gems are bought and sold. But beyond their sheer beauty, beyond their monetary and cultural value, what stories do these gems hold? What do they tell us about our planet ... and ourselves?
     Answers to these and other questions can be found in A Gem of a Story, a live, interactive electronic field trip to the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C. You can join Smithsonian scientists and researchers as they unravel the mysteries and misconceptions about gems.
     Explore the Hall of Geology, Gems, and Minerals ... the single largest exhibit hall ever constructed at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History. Go behind the scenes and learn about state-of-the-art technology used for gem and mineral analysis. Students can talk one-on-one with expert scientists and researchers ... like Dr. Jeffrey Post, Dr. Sorena Sorensen, and Dr. Mike Wise ... on the air, during the live broadcast, using a dedicated toll-free telephone number. Students can also communicate with the hosts via fax, e-mail, and live Internet chat.
     Schools within Indiana can join the broadcast via the Vision Athena or IHETS distance learning networks or via a steerable (not fixed) satellite dish Ku-band reception system. Schools outside Indiana can join the broadcast via a steerable (not fixed) satellite dish Ku-band reception system or via the MCET distance learning network. The program also is available in VHS videotape (non-interactive) format, and this Web site is available in CD-ROM format for both Macintosh and Windows.
     What's the cost for this fascinating educational adventure? Just $75 per school, with no additional cost per student. (Lower rates are available with mass purchases for large school corporations and districts. Call for details.)
     For more information about this and other Insite distance learning programming, or to register, please contact the Teachers College Office of Outreach by phone toll-free at (866) 279-8716, by fax at (765) 285-5455, or by e-mail at insite@bsu.edu. Or visit the Insite distance learning Web hub!
A Gem of a Story Online should be used as an educational supplement to the electronic field trip broadcast. It also serves as a self-contained, Web-based resource guide to the topics and issues that are examined during A Gem of a Story. Through this site, you can explore the many educational Activities and Resources related to this electronic field trip. You will also have an opportunity to view many of the unique museum displays by taking a comprehensive "virtual tour" through the Smithsonian Exhibits. Or, to get a closer view of individual gems and minerals, browse through the online Archives.
Activities  |  Resources  |  Exhibits  |  Archives
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All contents copyright © 1999 The Indiana Academy / Ball State University
Presented by the Indiana Academy Office of Outreach Programs, the UPS Foundation, the National Museum of Natural History, the Natural Partners Program, Ball State University, and Ball State Teachers College.
Insite Distance Learning from Ball State University
phone 866.279.8716  |  fax 765.285.5455  |  e-mail insite@bsu.edu