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State Fair of Texas and Big Thought Partner to Promote Innovative Learning

With education at the core of its foundation, the State Fair of Texas aims to provide quality educational opportunities for students within the community, both locally and statewide. In line with this mission, the Fair currently donates 1.7 million free admission tickets each year to students and teachers at North Texas schools. In support of its student ticketing program, the Fair is expanding its educational initiatives to the classroom with a new innovative curriculum, created in partnership with Big Thought. The online curriculum combines the unique culture of the Fair with Texas history and agriculture, incorporating it into a TEKS-aligned program that focuses on STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering and math) for grades 4 through 8.

“As a long standing Texas institution, the State Fair has a special appreciation for the community whose support makes such a large event possible every year,” says Mitchell Glieber, State Fair president. “In an effort to promote education within this community we are so proud to be a part of, we hope to share the historical significance of the Fair with students while giving them the chance to have a unique learning experience not only in the classroom, but right here in Fair Park.”

With a history of developing academic programs for other large organizations, Big Thought serves as a leader in community-centered educational programming in the Dallas area. Big Thought is an education-focused nonprofit that collaborates with other organizations to provide learning opportunities for children through various types of curriculum. In hopes of integrating its passion for education into the classroom, the State Fair of Texas is thrilled to partner with Big Thought and launch their collaborative program this summer.

“The State Fair is demonstrating that learning can happen anytime, anywhere. Big Thought knows from research that students thrive academically through a connected learning environment – when students are engaged in experiences outside of the classroom, connected to their interests, peer groups and what they are learning in school,” said Gigi Antoni, president and CEO of Big Thought. “This curriculum will provide a very unique educational experience for our kids and I am excited to see our educators teach our youth in engaging new ways through the Fair.”

Connecting classroom learning with student experiences at the Fair, the new curriculum guide will include lessons in STEM subjects along with other core disciplines like social studies, English, language arts and visual design. In addition to producing guides for classroom lessons, Big Thought will implement learning materials and activities for out-of-school time as well. All school districts who currently participate in the State Fair’s student ticketing program, including private and home schools, will be able to download the curriculum for the fall 2015 semester. All lessons will inform students of the rich heritage of the Fair and its importance in the Dallas community, as well as the surrounding areas and the whole state of Texas.

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About the State Fair of Texas

Since its inception in 1886, the State Fair of Texas has celebrated all things Texan by promoting agriculture, education, and community involvement through quality entertainment in a family-friendly environment.  The State Fair of Texas is a non-profit organization with all proceeds helping to preserve and improve Fair Park and underwrite museum, community and scholarship programs for inner city youth and students pursuing agricultural careers.  The 2015 exposition runs September 25 through October 18 in Fair Park.  Visit BigTex.com for more information.

About Big Thought

Big Thought believes the key to unleashing the potential of every child is putting imagination at the heart of education. We are committed to offering accessible, educational programs that reinforce core academic curricula and develop 21st century skills through imaginative learning methods that fully engage the mind, body and spirit. Through our partnerships, Big Thought serves more than 100,000 Dallas children, families and teachers each year, both in and out of the classroom.  Annually, Big Thought also delivers more than one million hours of programming and individual creative instruction. A model to cities across America, Big Thought has achieved national recognition, including the Americans for the Arts “2009 Arts in Education Award” and the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities “Coming Up Taller Award” in 2004. In 2011, the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities selected Big Thought President/CEO Gigi Antoni as a “Champion of Change,” serving on a White House panel highlighting best practices in arts education.  Big Thought was also recently awarded the Texas Medal of the Arts in 2013. Learn more at bigthought.org.

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