Are you one of the millions of people taking a trip to a National Park this summer? If so, use these tips to learn how to incorporate STEM activities at the National Park, as well as STEM career exploration!
“On August 25, 1916, President Woodrow Wilson signed the “Organic Act” creating the National Park Service, a federal bureau in the Department of the Interior responsible for maintaining national parks and monuments that were then managed by the department” (NPS). Today there are a total of 63 National Parks at breathtaking locations around the United States, set aside for the benefit of both wildlife and us!
National Parks are protected areas of wilderness designated by the government that range from vibrant forests to arcane underground caves. Originally these areas of land were established with the dual purpose of preserving the ecosystems and natural landscape and allowing people to enjoy recreational activities. While this is still true, there is a deeper purpose to exploring the National Parks that people everywhere, especially educators, are beginning to realize.
Within each National Park is a world of STEM education waiting for students to explore! The rich histories and ecosystems of each National Park allow for in-depth student exploration in all aspects of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). Whether it’s determining what tools are needed for underground exploration at Mammoth Cave or analyzing tree health in Congaree , there’s a wide range of STEM activities waiting at each National Park!
The National Parks are also a great place to explore STEM careers. Students can form career connections at each Park, as every Park has its own unique characteristics. For example, students could learn about what it takes to be a hydropower strategist while exploring the beautiful coastline of Acadia National Park or try their hand as an ecologist at the biologically diverse American Samoa National Park.
Whether your family is taking a summer trip to America’s National Parks or you are an educator looking for a virtual field trip, try these fun, interactive, online learning experiences to integrate place-based STEM education at the National Parks! SEE ALL NATIONAL PARKS STEM ACTIVITIES
Article written by Emma Peng