Stay-At-Home Summer: Domestic Destination Inspired Activities for Families

Each week, the WorldStrides Education Team develops a collection of activities centered around the locations we love (and the subjects we’re smitten with!). Each collection of projects is created with the whole family in mind, and will get you moving, thinking, creating, and most importantly of all – having fun!  This week’s collection focuses on activities inspired by some of our favorite domestic destinations, including New York City, San Francisco, Boston, and Chicago!

Our domestic destinations host some of the best learning opportunities you can find. From world-class museums to stunning architecture, we’re bringing some of the best parts of these locations close to home. History, Art, Science, and Math – we’re covering a little bit of all the subjects in this collection of activities! Keep scrolling to learn more about the NYC transit system, the science behind bridge construction, the role of Paul Revere in the Boston revolution, and how to best display a T-rex!

New York City: Create your Own Transportation Map

In big cities all around the world, and especially in New York City, residents and tourists alike depend on public transportation to get from Point A to Point B. On average in 2018, more than 5.4 million riders used the NYC subway each day – that’s a lot of riders going through those turnstiles! They all rely on an accurate map to help them navigate the city and arrive at their destination in the most efficient way possible.

Learn: The first official NYC subway system began operating in 1904 and has greatly expanded since. The NYC subway map as we know it today was redesigned in 1979. Check out this interactive story from the New York Times about the history of the map and its design.

Do: Create your own transportation map! This can be of your house, your neighborhood, or your larger community. Think about the “route” you usually take and any places you stop along the way. Highlight the places you frequent along with other locations, attractions, and favorite sites.

Think: What does your transportation map reveal about your (or your family’s) habits? Why did you include some stops while others were left off the map? How have your travel habits changed in the past six months?

Traveling looks different right now! Here’s a map of the essential stops for some of the Curriculum & Academics team.

Hand drawn transportation map

San Fransisco: Build your version of the Golden Gate Bridge

Learn: When students travel on our West Coast STEM program they visit the iconic Golden Gate Bridge. If you haven’t been yourself, you can learn about the San Francisco Bay region and gather interesting facts about the bridge and its construction from this Smithsonian video. Curious about bridge design in general? Check out this PBS site and explore different types of bridges from all over the world – don’t miss the interactive forces page or the virtual bridge-building game!

Do: You’ve learned about different kinds of bridges and how they carry loads, now it is your turn to build a bridge at home. You can use almost anything – straws, cardboard, paper clips, marshmallows, tape, spaghetti, Legos, popsicle sticks, twigs, etc. – the only limitation is your imagination. Check out the simple beam bridge built by the Education team using toilet paper tubes, chopsticks, toothpicks, and cardboard – it was strong enough to hold a sheep, hippo, and gnome crossing!

Bridge made of cardboard, toothpicks, and toilet paper rolls. Bridge with sheep and gnome figure on top.

Think: What kind of bridge did you build? Were your design choices aesthetic, or practical? Try placing increasingly heavier items on top and see how much your bridge can hold. How did your bridge handle the stresses and strains? What did you learn from the design challenge? How might you design it differently if you did it again?

Boston: Become a master memer

Learn: Boston is full of Revolutionary War History and one of the most famous events is Paul Revere’s ride to warn the colonial militia that the British were planning a surprise attack on Lexington & Concord. Many of us know about Paul Revere’s ride from the famous Henry Wadsworth Longfellow poem – Paul Revere’s Ride but did you know that there were 3 men who rode that night from Boston to sound the alarm and that Paul Revere was stopped by a British Patrol? Check out the real story of Paul Revere’s ride.

Do: Put yourself in Paul Revere’s shoes and create a meme or two on how you might share that the #TheBritishAreComing instead of hopping on your horse. Be creative!

Think: How would you feel if you were undertaking an important mission like Paul Revere? How did Longfellow’s poem become part of American historic lore? Why did Paul Revere become the hero of this story and not William Dawes?

 Meme. Paul Revere on his horse with text "yeah, im gonna take my horse to the old concord. I'm gonna ride til i cant no more"

Chicago: Interpret a T-Rex

Learn: You may have heard of Sue before. She is the fun, twitter loving Tyrannosaurus rex on display at the Field Museum in Chicago. Sue is one of the largest and best-preserved T. rex specimens ever found. Get to know Sue and her importance to the Field Museum. Studying dinosaurs, preserving their bones, and arranging them for display is a time-consuming and detailed process. Watch this video depicting how the Smithsonian built their T-rex exhibit.

Do: Think about the important features of a T. rex. How would a T. rex stand, run, eat, sleep? Create your own depictions of a T. rex out of different materials. See our examples below!

Painting of a t-rex, paper collage of a t-rex, and a lego t-rex

Think: How were scientists able to learn so much about Sue? What is the significance of finding such a large T. rex? What can fossils tell us? Is the T. rex depictions we see in movies accurate?

Did you create the most-efficient transportation map the world has seen? A super-strong bridge? The FUNNIEST meme, or the coolest interpretation of a T-rex? Make sure to share it with our team at discovery@worldstrides.com – we might share your hard work and creativity on our social media!  Looking for more world activities? Try our collection inspired by some of our international destinations!