Inside CNN studio tour launches new ‘keys to learning’ lesson plans

11/27/2011
Field Trip Destination

It’s exciting to visit CNN Center, and a little overwhelming, too. After all, it’s the global headquarters of CNN Worldwide – home to CNN, CNN International, CNN en Espanol, HLN and Turner Broadcasting System, parent company of all of those networks and more. From the giant CNN logo that greets visitors at the building’s entrance, to the 190-ft. escalator and 50-ft. globe that provide entry to the Inside CNN Studio Tour, everything reminds you that this is the birthplace of 24-hour news on a global scale. 

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A 14-story atrium ringed with the flags of all the countries that make up the United Nations, a giant tiled map of the world embedded in the floor, a 2-story mosaic of scenes from its 31 years of reporting historic events, a 20-ft. timeline highlighting some of the networks’ most significant coverage and a massive Humvee which was used by CNN journalists in the War with Iraq are some of the other breathtaking scenes that greet visitors who enter the building.

That initial impression of CNN Center, which is open to the public, discloses only part of the networks’ story. For those student groups who have come to take the Inside CNN Studio Tour, an opportunity awaits to go behind the scenes of CNN’s working studios and see up-close how the news is gathered and broadcast to millions of people across the globe. Ascending the world’s largest free-standing escalator, seeing and hearing the live video and audio feeds from the control room as the tour guide explains how shots are called to air, and visiting the effects studio with its demonstrations of modern weather-reporting technology and the touch-screen “magic wall,” as well as teleprompter and chroma-key (green screen) processes, students may become aware that they are not just entertained by the experience – they are learning something new and thrilling. A view into CNN’s new HD studio provides a glimpse at a wide array of new state-of-the-art technology and a chance to see a live broadcast in action. A stop at the overlook into the recently-updated CNN newsroom provides an opportunity to see and to learn how news is researched, written, edited and produced for broadcast. Views into the other news studios and a stirring finale showing how it all comes together to keep viewers informed as news unfolds, round out this unique exploration of the world of news broadcasting. For young people exploring life in the real world of journalism and news technology for the first time, it can be an inspiring experience.

While a visit to the world headquarters of CNN unmistakably has the ability to entertain and capture the imagination of students, the Inside CNN Studio Tour understands the need to offer explicit educational value for teachers who want to bring classes to visit the facility and take the tour. Understanding that a field trip must provide an appropriate educational opportunity suited to the students’ grade level, the tour procured the services of a former curriculum writer to assist in creating the Inside CNN Keys to Learning.

This newly-launched online resource includes lesson plans with pre and post-tour activities tied to Georgia Performance Standards by individual grade levels for first through eighth grades, and for specific subjects in high school (see the drop down menu for the Inside CNN Keys to Learning at http://cnn.com/tour/school.trip). And since the CNN Center itself provides additional opportunities to expand the experience educators can provide to their students, lesson plans for teacher-guided tours of the facility are offered for elementary, middle and high school, with photos of key sites within the atrium that provide a pre-visit “feel” of the facility. All of these lesson plans, in the areas of Social Studies, Language Arts, Journalism, Technology and much more, are provided to not only extend what is being taught in class, but also to improve knowledge needed for testing.

In addition to the new lesson plans, there are a number of other outstanding links for teachers on the Inside CNN website. A listing of the National Standards is a wonderful resource for those teachers who are aligning their instruction to both state and National Standards. There is also a scavenger hunt, a glossary of broadcasting terms, a CNN Center bio, and additional links to information. As part of the total package of resources for teachers, these links provide excellent supplemental activities and interesting information to build interest in a planned field trip. Teachers can also explore the website for more resources to plan a group visit to the Inside CNN Studio Tour at CNN Center. Located downtown at the corner of Marietta Street and Centennial Olympic Park Drive, the CNN Center is adjacent to Centennial Olympic Park and Philips Arena and is a short walk across the park from the World of Coca-Cola and the Georgia Aquarium. CNN Center includes a full food court with many fast food and seated dining options –see www.cnncenterretail.com for full details.

The Inside CNN Studio Tour and CNN Center are happy to be able to provide the Keys to Learning to assist educators in creating the exceptional learning experience that they expect for student visits. The facility is rich with the history of the company and the stories the network has covered for over 30 years. Come let the newsroom be your classroom and experience television news!

For more information on the Inside CNN Studio Tour, including parking, directions, accessibility, the check-in process and more, please visit the “Bring a Group” section on the tour website: www.cnn.com/tour.
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