More schools have actively adopted the idea of improving students’ skills in the disciplines of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). We take a look at how this can translate to a STEM learning experience in San Francisco and what students and teachers can gain from the educational trip abroad.
At Travelbound, we understand STEM requires an interdisciplinary approach to learning and teaching. Our educational tours are created with the curriculum in mind but tailored to meet the learning opportunities you’re seeking for your students.
Time, focus and energy into STEM
Implementing STEM initiatives in school can be seen through numerous channels, but have you considered how a school trip abroad can be used? One of the key areas of encouraging students to pursue the areas covered under STEM is to understand the influencing factors on students in secondary and further education. Are there ways to tap into engagement levels for STEM subjects through a school trip abroad? One of the findings from Subject Choice in STEM: Factors Influencing Young People (aged 14–19) in Education (2010) concluded that schools devoting ‘a greater proportion of teaching time to mathematics in Year 10 tended to have significantly higher take-up for mathematics at A-level.’ This was found in contrast to additional teaching time allocated for science.
The greatest influence on pursuing subjects is, arguably unsurprisingly, students’ own views. Students want to enjoy what they study and know certain STEM subjects will be useful in the future. Making the subjects engaging and relatable to practical situations is key and is achievable.
Science in San Francisco
One of the many destinations available for school trips with a STEM focus is San Francisco. Since the Obama years, the USA have had directives around the mantra ‘educate to innovate’. This has seen developments not only within the U.S. education system to improve the quality of teaching, but the quality of resources to reinforce learning.
San Francisco has a reputation for some of the world’s biggest and noteworthy technology being born from outlandish ideas that have found a market. Silicon Valley, located in the southern San Francisco Bay Area, boasts the familiar names of Apple, Facebook and Google. The area is surrounding by famous institutions, including Stanford University, the Computer History Museum, NASA’s Ames Research Center and the Tech Museum of Innovation.
Museums may hold a stigma around endless information being displayed in an old-school walk-around format, but the Bay Area has had its reputation of shaking things up reflected in a series of excursions that certainly seek to engage and motivate learners.
Interactive experiences lead the way in educating students about the innovation that surrounds us and what the future holds. The ‘glass ball’ exhibits not only allow students to be excited about what is to come, but question what is possible. The Intel Musuem in Santa Clara is the perfect example of supporting students study of technology and the many products to have been born from the evolution of computers. The museum attaches importance to the difference Intel has made in the way the world lives immediately placing its developing technologies in practical situations.
It may be a given that a school trip abroad can re-motivate young learners and see students develop a range of personal skills. However, the learning environment they are provided with not only acts to stimulate enquiry and interest but support teachers with useful tools to tap into learning and subject comprehension.
Standout excursions to support your STEM experience in San Francisco:
• The Tech Museum of Innovation
• Intel Museum
• California Academy of Sciences
• NASA Ames Visitor Center
• Computer History Museum
• Silicon Valley Guided Tour
Explore a range of options available to support your STEM initiative in school with an educational experience abroad by speaking with a member of the Travelbound team on 01273 244 572 or contact us online.