Educational tours and travel have a significant role to play in facilitating experiential learning opportunities, which are an important means of getting students really interested in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) subjects.
These tours and opportunities are so critical at a time when our nation needs students to enter STEM-related professions, more than ever before. Read more about that issue here.
When most people think STEM tours, they think of space and astronaut camps – and with good reason. These experiences are incredibly popular with schools and parents, and we’ve sent many groups to fantastic space camps over the years.
However, there is so much more to STEM experiential touring than these. In fact, you’ll get the best value for money when you’re able to combine as many of the various STEM subjects as possible on the same touring itinerary. In other words – why not have your cake (space camps) and eat it too?
Is it really possible to combine multiple STEM disciplines on a tour?
The short answer is yes – though of course, it’s not easy. This is why we always recommend engaging the help of an experienced, trusted educational touring partner with deep experience in designing and managing complex itineraries. Your teachers shouldn’t be expected to do this (they’re busy enough anyway), and a non-specialised travel provider can’t do it (they simply don’t have the experience and knowledge of relevant educational activities).
A great example of this is an itinerary we planned for a leading Australian independent school. They were keen to send students with an interest in Engineering, Mathematics, Technology and Physics to one of the famous U.S. space experiences. However, given the focus in the Australian curriculum of maintaining an integrated approach to STEM disciplines wherever possible, they also wanted to cater to students studying Biology, Chemistry, and Earth and Environmental Sciences.
It took a few iterations, however we designed a touring program that took in much of the West Coast of the U.S. – from Seattle to Anaheim – with various experiential learning opportunities appropriate to all these subjects. This included more than 15 experiences across the group’s 10 days on the ground in the U.S., such as:
- A simulated space mission, packed full of hands-on and inquiry-based activities to challenge young learners in the areas of teamwork, communication, problem-solving and critical thinking.
- A visit to a decommissioned warship, with activities to demonstrate how STEM applies to the operational functions.
- An expedition on a scientific research vessel, where students participated in hands-on activities such as collecting live samples and specimens from the water.
Many students made special mention of a workshop session held at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) – an amazing experience that allows them to engage in MIT’s hands-on, minds-on learning ethos rooted in problem solving and creative thinking to explore science and engineering challenges.
The overwhelming feedback was that the tour was incredibly fun, as well as full of genuine learning outcomes to meet the curriculum requirements.
Need a STEM educational tour closer to home?
The U.S. has some amazing experiences for STEM tours, however we know that not every school’s budget extends to overseas trips. The good news is there are plenty of world-class STEM educational learning opportunities available in Australia. We can even develop a full day student Science/STEM conference on the subject/s of your choice, including professional speakers in a formal conference environment.
How can we help
Latitude Group Travel is Australia’s leading provider of STEM tours for late primary and secondary school students. We’re committed to helping teachers and their students bring their classroom learning to life by creating memorable and unique experiences. Our itineraries allow your group to take in iconic sights combined with as many classes, workshops, themed guided tours or subject related activities as you wish.