Guardian Adventures approaches STEM learning in a unique manner: Through the context of story. Often, STEM education is presented in project manner without much context as to the problem that the project can solve and why it is important. This is a key difference from formal education which promotes learning for the sake of learning. Our method is to offer learning that provides a solution to a problem the student wants to solve because they are emotionally engaged in the larger context. An important aspect of this is whether the story is culturally relevant to the student. Our experience proves that this ingredient is vital.
STEM and culturally relevant stories are a perfect union. And over the decades, we have perfected that process.
Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (and Art, for STEAM) are all necessary throughout our lives as we navigate any number of challenges. These can be as simple as learning how to operate our newest automobiles, or understanding why salt lowers the freezing point (and consequently, the melting point) of ice, to engineering a way to extract our wedding ring from the sink drain, or calculating the projected growth of our retirement fund. The addition of Art in STEAM helps us think of solutions in a more varied and creative manner while also adding a human element to our endeavors.
Not everyone will use STEM or STEAM extensively in their careers. But every career will certainly touch on aspects of these vital subjects.
Are you interested in adding STEM education to your curriculum or events in a way that is culturally relevant? Download our Capabilities Statement, fill out the form below and let’s talk!
Our staff and students from South Korea work on a STEM project
Students from South Korea visit our facility in Burlington MA for adventure
Students wrapping up their Mission to Mars adventure in South Korea
When ST Unitas, one of the largest Tech Ed companies in Asia and parent company of The Princeton Review, wanted to design an live STEM summer camp that reflected the quality of their online transmedia presence, they approached Professor Joseph Blatt at Harvard Graduate School of Education (HGSE). Joe brought in Guardian Adventures and we partnered with Professor Uche Amaechi, also of HGSE, to create the Mission to Mars STEM Summer Camp for ST Unitas.
This first of its kind collaboration integrates traditional STEM-based learning principles with informal education — experiential and student-driven processes that foster learning through hands-on activity.
In 2018, Guardian Adventures and professors from HGSE created the full STEM curriculum as well as the story behind Mission to Mars. The camp was held in Seoul, South Korea and was a huge success. From there, ST Unitas contracted Guardian Adventures to create a Winter Camp for kids from Asia, to be held here in the USA.
The students spent one week studying at Harvard University, then applied their lessons during a highly interactive Mars adventure at Guardian Adventures in Burlington, MA. Guardian Adventures turned their entire facility into a space expedition complete with the interior of a space ship, terrestrial shelters, space suits, remote-controlled robots, and more.
During their time at Guardian Adventures, visitors worked as a team to develop the necessary skills to get to, and survive on, the red planet. This included exciting activities such as:
Each year since, we have designed new curriculum and a higher level experience for returning campers – both in South Korea and for their students who travel each winter to our facility in the USA. These camps are now part of the regular offering for ST Unitas and their clients.
Guardian Adventures continues to be contracted by large and small corporations alike who want to add immersive and engaging experiences to their environment or their business model.
Our services include:
We use immersive story-telling to engage our participants in a STEM or educational adventure. For example, if you are an educator who is looking for an engaging way to teach a science class or event, we could design a story; maybe there has been a murder and the participants are trying to work together to figure out who the murderer was. The learners would participate in chemistry and biology experiments in order to solve the mystery. There could be puzzles, activities, and clues to lead the learners to discover who the murderer is, all revolving around the curriculum and the story.
We can provide:
(Jeffs, T. and Smith, M. K. (1997, 2005, 2011). ‘What is informal education?’)
At Guardian Adventures, we take Informal Education quite seriously. The adventures that we run for our highest level of immersion allow for the participants to have both autonomy (free choice) as well as agency (ability to affect the outcome). Our staff are adept at creating a story arc that can adapt to the participants’ choices and allow them to explore the world in a way that we may not have predicted. In doing so, we are creating a truly immersive and innovative experience where the student is driven by their own curiosity to solve the mysteries they discover and to play the role of a hero in a journey of their own making.
We see informal education (the environment and offering) and informal learning (the process driven by the student) as being superb supplements to form education where students are directed by teachers and administration on what to learn and how to learn it. Because informal learning is student-directed, the student determines the best approach and desired outcome… which is what most of our learning experience in life outside of school.
Are you interested in introducting an informal education environment or program? Fill out the form below and let’s talk.
The Importance of Informal Education by Guardian Adventures CEO and Founder, Meghan Gardner
How to Encourage Informal Learning in your Organization by Guardian Adventures CEO and Founder, Meghan Gardner
“Informal learning experiences, in contrast, build on the diverse interests and curiosity of learners and support their self-motivated inquiries. The valued outcomes of informal learning are often particularly rich in contributions to social and emotional development, to identity and motivation, to developing skills of collaboration and mutual support, and to persistence in the face of obstacles and in inquiry on time scales of weeks, months, and even years. Informal learning activities also often result in products and accomplishments of which students are justly proud and for which product-appropriate measures of quality are needed.” – MIT MacArthur
Physics World: Benefits of Informal Education
Hamline University: The Impact Of Informal Education
Royal Caribbean reached out to us to help them in creating a higher level of experience to engage their kids, teens, and families aboard Oasis of the Seas, the 2nd largest cruise ship in the world. We worked on making live STEM adventures for each group and developed three distinct stories with mysteries to solve that required the group to use STEM for their investigation. The STEM adventures were designed to fully engage their clients in an immersive and exciting story. Since the initial set of adventures completed, Royal Caribbean immediately ordered adventures for more ships.
ST Unitas, one of the largest Tech Ed companies in Asia and parent company of the Princeton Review, wanted to design a live STEM summer camp that reflected the quality of their online transmedia presence, they approached Professor Joseph Blatt at Harvard Graduate School of Education (HGSE). Joe brought in Guardian Adventures and we partnered with Professor Uche Amaechi, also of HGSE, to create the Mission to Mars STEM Summer Camp for ST Unitas.
These collaborations integrates traditional STEM-based learning principles with informal education — experiential and student-driven processes that foster learning through hands-on activities. Emotional engagement is key to comprehension and retention of information as well as for establishing positive lifelong memories. Our goal is to help you bring all the pieces together.
Students from ST Unitas in South Korea working on a STEM project
It’s simple! Tell us what your goals are for your adventurer.
After we talk about your vision, we design and develop the story. If you want our full service option, we can create or source all the technology, props, costumes (if necessary), and supplies for your adventure. Our team can produce professional in-story videos (these videos can supplement your staff, explain the story, and help with participant immersion). We are also able to provide staff training videos, step-by-step documentation, and onsite training if necessary.