Help me find a field trip location for tech-savvy middle school students
May 9, 2007 1:30 PM   Subscribe

I am looking for a good fieldtrip location for 50 middle school students in the New York City area. Requirements: these students are part of an after-school computer/technology program, and the location must be at least in some way educational, and technology-themed. We have already been to: -Sony Wonder Technology Lab -The Museum of the Moving Image -The Per Scholas Computer Recycling Facility
posted by teddyb109 to Education (16 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Have you tried area colleges or universities? They are usually set up to do tours and can give some hands on experience (or at least first hand accounts) of cool things they do there. A lot of our lab workers are undergrad and grad students, too, so the age difference wouldn't be that great and your students might like the social interaction with them as well. I did this through LSSU one summer and had a blast - we got to talk to current students about their goals and how they got to where they are and where they hope to work after graduation. You could also check with local radio stations - many are fully automated and may have some different applications for things they have already used.
posted by blackkar at 1:57 PM on May 9, 2007

This is probably out of left field, but if you want to get meta with them, you could take them somewhere like The Cloisters and have students work out how to solve technical problems using the available technology of the time, a la "Mythbusters."

To help students envision it, maybe supplement with David Macaulay's excellent "Castle" - a castle town was an incredibly complex system of individuals and groups, all with different biases, allegiances and seems like a great way to teach people about the methodical organization of systems and what the consequences of the failure or success of a seemingly small part of the puzzle (a moat, a well, etc) can affect the system as a whole.
posted by mdonley at 2:03 PM on May 9, 2007

If the Museum of Television and Radio has exhibits on older forms of broadcasting (does it?), that could certainly be fun.
posted by Bromius at 2:05 PM on May 9, 2007

Rose Center for Earth and Science.
posted by ericb at 2:18 PM on May 9, 2007

There are a lot of news organization headquarters in New York, aren't there? I wonder if somehow you could get permission to show the kids around the bowels of their operations. I guess nowadays most of the communications are just standard computers hooked up to the 'net, but there must still be some cool blinkenlights around.
posted by Deathalicious at 2:39 PM on May 9, 2007

Liberty Science Center (, across the river in NJ, will be re-opening in July.
posted by fings at 2:47 PM on May 9, 2007 [1 favorite]

There are a lot of news organization headquarters in New York, aren't there? I wonder if somehow you could get permission to show the kids around the bowels of their operations.

NBC offers public tours of their facilities and operations. BTW -- ABC and CBS no longer offer public tours.
posted by ericb at 2:52 PM on May 9, 2007

How about seing if you can arrange a visit to the TischITP (The Interactive Telecommunications Program) at NYU.

[BTW -- they had their Spring Show 2007 yesterday].
posted by ericb at 3:00 PM on May 9, 2007

posted by ericb at 3:00 PM on May 9, 2007

Eyebeam is an art and technology gallery that has media programs for school-aged kids. You could probably get a tour, or certainly springboard off whatever the current exhibit is.
posted by cocoagirl at 3:22 PM on May 9, 2007

I second Eyebeam. Hop around the corner and check out the Bitforms gallery too.
posted by nimsey lou at 4:35 PM on May 9, 2007

I wonder if you can take tours of power plants, aqueducts, sewage processing facilities... see the intimate infrastructure of the city. what few people see and almost everyone relies on - that could be very interesting.
posted by entropone at 5:35 PM on May 9, 2007

eyebeam sounds
posted by darkpony at 6:32 PM on May 9, 2007

Response by poster: Wow--you all rocked the house! These are some wonderful suggestions that we definitely hadn't thought of. One of the places we're considering is the Office of Emergency Management, here in the city---along the lines of what entropone suggested. I love the idea of taking the kids to NYU's ITP--that's on the list for next year--ericb, thanks for several thoughtful suggestions. Had never heard of Eyebeam, but they sound wonderful. Thanks cocoagirl We've always had our eyes on the Liberty Science Center Thanks again!
posted by teddyb109 at 2:45 AM on May 10, 2007

Keep in mind the ITP exhibits (being free, very cool, and well-publicized) are PACKED TO THE GILLS with people, and so will probably need a different teacher-to-student ratio than you usually plan for.
posted by allterrainbrain at 5:44 AM on May 10, 2007

We used to go to the Cold Spring Harbor Labs to play with DNA related stuff. Not sure if that is in your part of the NY area, or if Biotech fits with what you are looking for, but that was def my favorite field trip that fits your description.

I think I went in 9th grade.
posted by JPD at 4:50 AM on May 11, 2007

« Older How can I optimize my computer, or any computer...   |   How to automatically extract graphical content... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.