Informal Education Adventures

Designing immersive STEM and cultural adventures for museums, science centers, libraries, and more

Why STEM (or STEAM)?

STEM education is an interdisciplinary approach to learning where rigorous academic concepts are coupled with real-world lessons as students apply science, technology, engineering, and mathematics in contexts that make connections between school, community, work, and the global enterprise enabling the development of STEM literacy and with it the ability to compete in the new economy. (Tsupros, 2009)

Guardian Adventures approaches STEM learning in a unique manner: Through the context of story.  Often, STEM education is presented as a project with only a small amount of context as to the problem that the project can solve and why it is important to the student (other than getting a good grade). This is a key difference from informal education which promotes learning as voluntary and based in the student’s interests. Our method is to offer learning that provides a solution to a problem that 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 or properly represents a culture. 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 a wedding ring from the sink drain, or calculating the projected growth of a retirement fund.  The addition of Art in STEAM helps us think of solutions in a more varied and creative manner, which is vital in developing our ability to innovate.

By recruiting cultural educators and advisors from cultures that are represented in the program, or who are the end user, we ensure that the projects are not only sensitive and appropriate, they are also supported by members of that culture.

Not everyone will use STEM or STEAM or cultural programs extensively in their careers. But every career will certainly touch on aspects of these important subjects.

Are you interested in adding exciting programs to your curriculum or events in a way that is relevant and emotionally engaging?  Download our Capabilities Statement, fill out the form below and let’s talk!

Phantom Physics: Quest for the Hidden Particle is an interactive adventure for teaching ages 8-10 about Particle Physics.

Thrive Project: Interactive Storyboard and Explainer Video for educating pregnant black women about their 300% higher mortality rate than pregnant white women in the USA.

Quest for the Caribbean Cure: Partnering with Cultural Educator, Claudia Fox Tree, we created an interactive adventure for middle school and high school teachers to run in the classroom which teaches about the Arawak/Taino culture pre-colonialism. 

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:

  • Determining “escape velocity” — the necessary speed/energy to escape the earth’s gravitational pull
  • Extreme weather survival skills
  • Electrolysis and oxygen production
  • Constructing and understanding two-stage rockets
  • Building structures for harsh environments (geodesic domes)

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:

  • Consulting
  • Curriculum Design
  • Plot Writing
  • Staff Training
  • Script Writing
  • Custom Costuming & Props
  • Video Production
  • Equipment & Supply Sourcing
  • Marketing Materials… and much more

What Kind of Result Do You Want?

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.

If you are a large organization like a Science Center, Library, or a Museum, perhaps you would like to provide curriculum and digital assets for teachers to use in the classroom so they can run their own adventures. Or maybe you want to adventures designed for your staff to run for your own patrons.

If you are a University and want to create game or story based assets for a study, we can work side by side with your researchers to create these web-based programs.

Who have we partnered with?

We have a long list of organizations who we have created programming for or with.  Here is just a sample:

  • Royal Caribbean
  • The Princeton Review
  • Harvard University
  • University of Georgia
  • MIT
  • CERN
  • Wizards of the Coast
  • Boda Borg
  • Lexington Library
  • …And hopefully you!

STEM Adventures at Sea

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.

Literary Library Adventures

When the Lexington Library approached us about doing an after-hours literary based adventure for their teenagers, we designed one of the most exciting events their young patrons have ever experienced. In this late night adventure, the teens discovered that there was a mystery afoot.  Characters and authors were coming out of the books and they had only hours left until it would be too late to return them to their realm of literature!

We wrote the plot and designed the props and costumes and ran staff training.  The event was immersive and climactic as the teenagers ran through the library, searching for books that provided clues on how to solve the mystery and close the portal. They had to outwit monsters from fantastical lands and negotiate with famous authors from history while the clock counted down the minutes.

Thankfully, they succeeded and the world is safe… for now.


What’s The Process?

It’s simple! Tell us what your goals are for your adventurer.

  • What type of experience are you hoping to provide to your group?
  • Where is the adventure going to take place?
  • What’s the age range of your participants?
  • What outcome do you desire?

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.

Let’s start a discussion about your idea or your objectives and see how we can help. Just fill out the form below and we will be in touch!

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