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Art and history teachers aren’t the only ones who can use educational travel as a way to immerse their students in a particular subject area. Educational trips can be a fun and useful way to incorporate STEM into the lesson plan. Here are some great ways travel can help students fall in love with science, technology, engineering, and math.
Experienced teachers know that the key to getting students excited about learning is to do it in a way that is interactive, exciting and relatable. And what is more interactive, exciting and relatable than traveling? Every step of the trip, from the planning and budgeting to the actual travel processes and exploring the new place can offer opportunities for students to experience STEM learning first hand.
STEM and Planning
The more involved your students are in the planning of the trip, the more invested they will be in the entire process. Your class will probably rely heavily on technology to plan their journey, but how did travelers do it before the Internet and smartphones? An in-depth look at how technology has helped travelers prepare their adventures is just one way to incorporate STEM into the planning part of the trip. A lesson focused on predicted weather patterns for the duration of the trip is one way to make science part of the planning, and working on time management and creating a schedule can get their math brains working. There is so much STEM-focused learning that can be done before your class even leaves the classroom.
STEM and Budgeting
A huge part of educational travel is finding the money to make it happen. There are countless ways to get students involved in the math behind raising the money to travel. From understanding foreign currency and exchange rates to averaging costs of admission to museums, accommodations, and food, getting students involved in the financial part of the trip will not only improve their math skills but will give them a better appreciation of what it costs to make an unforgettable trip happen.
STEM and Traveling
So much real life learning happens when a class travels together. Regardless of how you’re getting from point A to point B, there will be plenty of ways to incorporate engineering, technology, and math into your travel plans. Air travel means understanding how the design of an airplane affects the speed, the high-tech features that keeps the plane in the air, learning to calculate distance and speed, and much more. Even digging deep into the math that goes into flight schedules and travel times will bring STEM to life for students. Traveling by car, train, bus, or boat means giving students unique opportunities to see how STEM learning impacts their travel plans.
Top STEM Destinations
Nothing says science and technology like a visit to the Space Needle, The Museum of Flight or the Pacific Science Center. Seattle is a busy city of incredible architecture, innovative technology, and futuristic design. Along with its incredible food and thriving music scene, the Emerald City immerses students in a modern city with opportunities to explore math and science around every corner.
When you think of a class trip to Chicago, you may think of the rich history and culture that makes the city such a memorable and educational place. And while students will be surrounded with educational opportunities as they browse Chicago’s many gardens, galleries, and public parks, they’ll also have many chances to use math and science in the Windy City. From the top of the city’s most famous landmark, the historic water tower, there are lessons in architecture, history, engineering and technology that will stay with students forever.
From the California Academy of Science and The Mission Science Workshop, SanFran will quickly prove itself as so much more than a tourist destination and home to the Golden Gate Bridge. Students can pack their days exploring educational landmarks that spark their curiosity in math, science, and technology. San Francisco is home to some of the world’s leading technology companies, and future engineers will have a field day analyzing one of America’s most famous bridges.
The Big Apple is not only a social experience that many people only dream about, but it’s a mecca of math, science, engineering, and technology that serves as a learning lab for eager students. From the towering skyscrapers, 80+ museums, and its reputation as the financial capital of the world, New York City allows students to expand their worldview while diving deeper into the fundamentals of STEM. Even everyday aspects of NYC living like using public transportation, navigating the city using technology, and reading a subway map will encourage students to sharpen their math, science, and technology skills.
While educational travel is an excellent way to experience language, culture, art, and history, it is also crucial in exposing students to science, math, engineering, and technology. Traveling has this unique way of combining education with real-world social experiences. Whether you are traveling abroad or just heading to the next state over, giving your students the gift of educational travel will help them become better learners and better people. Understanding how many of the STEM principles they’ve covered in class impacts their actual life is what creates those “ah-ha” moments that teachers live for.
You don’t have to intentionally plan to incorporate STEM into every aspect of your trip either. Math, science, engineering, and technology will naturally show up in your trip because they show up naturally in everyday life. Traveling is a real-world way to foster your students’ love for learning and incorporate STEM-focused ideas into a trip they’ll never forget.
By Diane Eastman