The Research Triangle Park

Educator ExternTrips | Learning Outside Classroom

By Nov 13, 2017

Educator ExternTrips are an opportunity for teachers to learn about how STEM is utilized every day in the Triangle! These are immersion field trips for K-12 educators where they visit a STEM company and apply what they learned in their classroom lesson plans. Each externtrip varies from company to company but usually includes a tour of the facility, discussions with employees, and a group activity.

For our two externtrip days in October, we were able to coordinate with 44 Durham County educators and 66 Wake County educators to attend a total of 12 externtrips. Educators were given the opportunity to pick one company to attend for a half day excursion. Durham County educators were hosted by Bayer, EA Genomics, Syngenta, and the US EPA. The Wake County educators were hosted by Bayer, Cisco Systems, Credit Suisse, EA Genomics, John Deere, Red Hat, RTI International, and the US EPA.

I attended two of those trips myself, Red Hat and Cisco Systems. It was an eye-opening experience in many different ways. At Red Hat, I was able to learn about open source, meet passionate employees, participate in an interactive game,   and see the amazing view from the balcony of their downtown Raleigh office. At Cisco Systems, I heard from a captivating keynote speaker and learned about the company’s history at their office in RTP. Did you know that Cisco is short for San Francisco where the company was founded and that their logo is based off of the Golden Gate Bridge? It was a really rewarding experience to have the opportunity to attend the externtrips along with educators. Especially to hear educator questions and how they could implement what we discussed in their classrooms.

STEM in the Park is honored to be able to facilitate these engagement experiences. We have received feedback from both educators and companies saying it was an enjoyable and worthwhile experience. We will be doing Educator ExternTrips again in the spring so keep up with us on social media to see how you can get involved! Feel free to email me if you are a teacher or company that is interested in participating!

In December, we will be posting educator reflections and direct impact stories of how externtrips can be utilized in classroom teaching.

Christine Lee

lee@rtp.org