Learning science on the road can prove to be a bit of a challenge - unless you know how to approach it. Doing chemistry experiments in your RV may be out of the question, until you consider that Thomas Edison carried his lab in a boxcar. It's just a matter of priorities!
Science To Go
Museum and Zoo Membership - See the Explorations Page for discount memberships.
National Park Pass - Look for Junior Ranger Programs for hands-on history, culture, science and nature. Available online at NPS.gov.
Have your children start a nature notebook to log their discoveries and observations on hikes or canoe trips. Bring along colored pencils or a camera so they can record their findings with pictures.
- What is the name of every plant, animal, insect & rock in given location? Use field guides to find the answers.
"I started a notebook of places we want to see. I want to take the kids to historic sites, but also some neat geological formations around, like the Diamond Crater Park in Arkansas where you can dig for your own diamonds, or the place in Nevada you can dig for opals, etc."
~Denice "Panda Bear"
Free Science Books to Download
More Free Books at Wowio
Build a bird feeder if you are going to be stationary for a week or more.
- With eBird you can keep track of the birds you see anywhere in North America. You can also access the entire historical database to find out what other eBirders are reporting from across North America. In addition, the cumulative eBird database is used by bird watchers, scientists, and conservationists who want to know more about the distributions and movement patterns of birds across the continent.
Keep a record the weather as you travel. Be sure to log the location, altitude and temperature. And set out a rain catcher to measure the precipitation.
Free Smokey the Bear Stuff for kids. (Free printables.) Click on the bottom that says resources. Items it includes are:
- Smokey Bear Teacher's Guide
- Smokey Bear Activity Book
- Smokey Bear Kid's Poster
- Wildland Communicator's Guide
Sky and Telescope publishes a list of astronomical events. You can see what will be visible each night of the week. For example, you'll see if the full moon is coming up. Or, there are more unusual events, like eclipses and meteor showers. It’s great for astronomy lovers!
- Free Rocketry CD for Teachers
Geocaching - great for seeing things you'd never think to stop at, and hiding your own is a great way to remember a special spot in the world. You need a handheld GPS for this activity. Go to geocaching.com where you will find clues to secret stashes hidden around the globe then you will use your detective skills to find them in the wild.
Study physical science in action at Amusement Parks! Play Rollercoaster Tycoon and then hit a theme park to study velocity, capacity and ride design.
- You can get a season pass from your "home" Six Flags theme park and use it any of the other 18 parks. Open weekends in May, daily beginning in late May. Shop around for your "home" park as prices vary. You are also required to use your pass at your "home" park the first time.
Make a kite and take it flying.
Geography - What better way to make geography come alive than to SEE that Kentucky is above Tennessee, and that Pennsylvania is sandwiched between the 40th and 43th latitudes? That's a natural springboard for a latitude and longitude lesson.
"We would stop and do science and math projects, e.g. measure the height of a Saguaro cactus using a square piece of paper folded into a right triangle and a level to project the height onto the ground. Which can be followed by a discussion on the names of different triangles, and then use that folded paper to see that a triangle has 1/2 the area of a square, and that length is a one dimensional space and area is two dimensional and what would be a three dimensional space, and how does the level work, and the difference between level and flat and plumb, not to even mention the subjects of the cactus, the critters living near by and the water and weather systems of the desert, or how a cowboy would die if he fell off of his horse onto a cactus, due to infection, and the cool invention of antibiotics, and why does a cactus have spines, and why don't plants without spine grow in the desert, just to name a few ideas. A good, and I mean good, magnifying glass can go a long way for science."
Try Weird Science
Water flows uphill, houses are crooked - or are they? Did you just grow or did dad get shorter? Nature and Physics have gone berserk. Odd how most Mystery Spots are placed suspiciously near interstate interchanges and bloated tourist meccas, isn't it?
- Mystery Spot, Santa Cruz, CA
- Confusion Hill, Piercy, CA
- Spook Hill, Lake Wales, FL
- Gravity Hill, Mooresville, IN
- Big Mike's Mystery House, Cave City, KY
- Mystery Spot, St. Ignace, MI
- Tri-State Spooklight, Neosho, MO
- House of Mystery, Hungry Horse, MT
- Gravity Hill, Franklin Lakes, NJ
- Mystery Hill, Blowing Rock, NC
- Mystery House, Cherokee, NC
- Mystery Hill, Marblehead, OH
- Oregon Vortex, Gold Hill, OR
- Cosmos Mystery, Rapid City, SD
- Mystery Lights, Marfa, TX
- Wonder World, San Marcos, TX
- Gravity Hill, Salt Lake City, UT
- Mystery Hole, Anstead, WV
- Wonder Spot, Lake Delton, WI
- Teton Mystery Spot, Jackson, WY
Factory Tours - You'll find a list of Factory Tours on Wikipedia and at Family Travel Network or you can pick up a copy of Watch It Made in the U.S.A.: A Visitor's Guide to the Best Factory Tours and Company Museums
INTEL Computer Chips - 2200 Mission College Blvd, Santa Clara, California
M-F 9-6, Sat 10-5
Carousel Museum - 95 Riverside Bristol, Connecticut
M-Sat 10-5, Sun 12-5
Post Office Tour - 433 W Harrison, Chicago, Illinois
M-F 10:30 or 12:30
Walter Piano - 25416 County Rd 6, Elkhart, Indiana
Mon at 1:00 or by arrangement 574 266-0615
Braille - 1839 Frankfort Ave, Louisville, Kentucky
M-Thu 10:00 and 2:00 tour, museum 8:30 - 4:30
Braille Publications - 88 St. Stephen St, Boston, Massachusetts
M-Thu 10:30 and 2:00
Glass - 851 Sandwich Rd, Aagamore, Massachusetts
Boeing air and space - Mcdonnell Blvd and Airport Rd, bldg 100, St. Louis, Missouri
M-Sat June-Aug only 9-4
Boeing - hwy 526, Everett, Washington
M-F 9-11/1-3 on the hour $5/$3
Microsoft - 4420 148th Ave NE, Redmond, Washington
M-F 9-5 self guide
What are you waiting for? Get going!