walkSTEM is an initiative developed by Drs. Dhingra and Whitney. Dr. Whitney is the founder of the National Museum of Mathematics, the only math museum in the US, and serves as walkSTEM program advisor. He and Dr. Dhingra adapted his “math walks” which he designed in New York, Washington D.C, and other cities. These walks were fun experiences that highlighted real-world, inquiry-based connections to real world objects and spaces. At talkSTEM, we stay true to the spirit of exploration and wonder that comes from seeing the world around you through the lens of STEM. All our walks in the walkSTEM initiative are designed with the goal of growing STEM mindsets. By providing many examples of walkSTEM tours in a wide variety of settings and by inviting students of all backgrounds to share their STEM narratives about the spaces and activities they care about, we help foster STEM identities in children who may not always see themselves as STEM people. We work through partnership and collaboration with a wide range of youth-serving groups (both school-based and out of school) and are also very open to all individuals, regardless of age, using our resources and sharing their unique STEM perspectives on real world environments and activities. If you are interested in virtually volunteering by creating your own walkSTEM tour of a public space – for others to enjoy – anywhere in the world, read more here and email firstname.lastname@example.org.
We are excited about math walks, a special category of walkSTEM tours. In 2021, we launched a five year research project in partnership with SMU. Together, we are building an app that will allow out of school programs to find math in different places. Learn more here.
Accessing walkSTEM Tours
walkSTEM tours are created by our team, as well as the growing global walkSTEM community that all are invited to participate in. walkSTEM tours are place-based explorations of any space ranging from schools and college campuses to public spaces, parks, museums, zoos, and more! A walkSTEM tour can be experienced in a variety of ways, whether in-person in the form of live guided tours, through signage and brochures, or virtually through videos on the talkSTEM YouTube channel and app-based, GPS-enabled tours created through our partnership with Otocast, an app-based audio and visual tour platform – our content is more accessible than ever! To access the latter of those, simply download Otocast from the App Store or Google Play and search for “walkSTEM” when browsing tours within the app. When using Otocast, tour-takers can also earn virtual badges, view photos, and get directions to the next tour stop. To view our guide to engaging with walkSTEM content on Otocast, click here.
We share our professional videos, as well as those produced by our growing walkSTEM community, on the talkSTEM YouTube channel – you can even take a virtual field trip by viewing playlists of short walking tour videos from different places! Our YouTube channel also contains freely-accessible educator resource videos, video blogs from STEM ecosystem participants, lectures, and more. Many of our walkSTEM tours are also available as larger virtual lesson plans, complete with quizzes and rubrics, on the talkSTEM channel at Belouga.org. Parents and educators can sign up for free to access video-based learning episodes on this platform, providing each student and teacher with a portal to make it even easier to utilize our educational videos. Our website itself also provides freely downloadable, standards-aligned educator guides and student worksheets to aid in student inquiry and active learning. Click here to view our chart of walkSTEM resources and opportunities. To learn how to create your own walkSTEM tour at your location, click here.
Who can design a walkSTEM tour?
Absolutely any individual, group, or organizations interested in having visitors or learners of all ages share their STEM lens can create a walkSTEM tour of their space. Our place-based and app-enabled walkSTEM tours allow schools, cities, neighborhoods, museums, zoos and other spaces to transform their real world environments into points of interest that present opportunities to engage in inquiry-based STEM learning. This allows for low cost, convenient access to STEM learning opportunities everywhere. We are excited that these tools can allow us to scale our work and address our vision – that every child is a STEM child and every space is a STEM space. To learn how to create your own walkSTEM tour at your location, click here.
In creating walkSTEM tours, we work closely with schools, colleges, teacher preparation programs, informal learning spaces, corporate campuses, and other organizations. We can provide standards alignment to our walking tours that reinforce science, technology, engineering, and math concepts taught in K-12 classrooms. We also provide professional development to all educators in school and out of school so they can use the walkSTEM platform and methods in their contexts with the goal of fostering STEM mindsets and identities in their students. Learn more here about the range of our current partnerships, and send an email to koshi@talkSTEM.org if you’d like to chat and learn more!
What type of content works for walkSTEM tours?
walkSTEM tours are always designed to be flexible and personalized. There is tremendous freedom in terms of the specific content within each tour – a walkSTEM tour can be theme-based (around art, nature, architecture, geometry, early childhood math, and other themes), concept-based around specific topics (such as computational thinking, data science, and other topics of interest to teachers or students), or activity-based (around cooking, sports, and other activities).
In short, you can go on all sorts of walks with the goal of looking at the world through the lens of STEM! Educators and organizations are always free to customize their content and change specifics based upon what topics, themes, or concepts they want to highlight at different points in time. There is opportunity to infuse interesting stories and anecdotes in the content, if desired, such that the walking tour can humanize and present the multidimensional nature of STEM. This contextualization is a primary goal of the work we do as we try to grow STEM mindsets amongst all children and their adults!
Every child is a STEM child, Every space is a STEM space
talkSTEM works hard to make unique and high quality STE(A)M educational content freely available to all children. We partner with such youth-serving organizations as Dallas ISD, Girls Inc, Imagine Science, and more. Every dollar you contribute goes directly to our educational programming and content creation that reaches under-resourced student populations. Please support us.Donate Now