4 Global Destinations That Inspire STEM Learning

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Space Nation Navigator

Traveling can inspire all kinds of learning and is especially fun when you select destinations that create a sense of wonder. Natural curiosity makes us want to learn more about what we experience first hand. For kids, this means extending learning beyond the classroom. From the Hawaiian Islands to the coast of Turkey and beyond, these four awe-inspiring places will get kids asking questions and wanting to learn more about STEM subjects.

Hawai?i Volcanoes National Park on the Island of Hawai?i

Hawai?i is a tropical paradise of warm waters, gorgeous beaches, palm trees, and volcanoes and a trip to Hawai?i Volcanoes National Park provides with a peek at how Earth was formed by them long ago. On display are the results of at least 70 million years of volcanism that helped create the chain of Hawaiian Islands. Whether walking through the 500 year old Thurston Lava Tube, traversing the Kilauea Caldera, or encountering an active lava flow while driving on Crater Drive, Hawai?i Volcanoes National Park reminds us how volcanology contributed to the development of the Earth?s crust.

 

Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico

Well known as the exciting backdrop for the final fight scene in the 1995 James Bond movie, Golden Eye, Arecibo Observatory is the largest single radio dish telescope whose 305 meter reflector is used to study nearby planets that pass overhead. The Visitor?s Center features bilingual learning opportunities to learn about how the radio telescope works and how it has been used to make new discoveries about planets, asteroids, comets, and Earth?s atmosphere since 1963. The impressive structure also makes for a dramatic backdrop for family photos as you stand 367 feet above the 1000 foot reflector dish.

 

Future of Flight Aviation Center & Boeing Tour in Everett, Washington, USA

Located about an hour north of Seattle, Boeing?s Everett manufacturing facility provides an awe-inspiring look at how planes are assembled through the Future of Flight Aviation Center & Boeing Tour. The 90 minute tour takes you inside the massive facility where you can stand 11 floors up and gaze at an indoor space big enough to house 75 football fields where a line of assembled planes are parked nose to tail in front of you to better understand aviation science. While admiring these engineering marvels, don?t miss the complicated grid of systems in the ceiling transports plane noses, wings, and other fuselage parts across the enormous facility and lowers them in place as the plane is built. Gaze off into the distance at you might see landing gear or wing flaps move as part of the testing phases. Straight below you can see white boards with diagrams, crates containing rows of seats ready to install, and bins containing an array of parts.

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Chimaera Flames of Cirali in Olympos, Turkey

Located on the southern coast of Turkey, the Chimaera is the stuff of legends. According to Greek mythology, the Chimaera is a fire-breathing monster who was created by underworld creatures and now resides in a mountain near Olympos, Turkey where flames flicker out from the cracks in the Earth. While the myth is compelling and the stories about how sailors navigated their ships using the flames is fascinating, a night time hike up to see the methane gas leaking out of holes is simply spectacular. The eternal flames have no noticeable fuel to sustain them and the methane constantly leaks out of cracks in the mountain. Plan ahead and bring some marshmallows or sausages to roast for some molecular gastronomy using natural gas that will yield delicious results.

 

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