three children run down the stairs to the butterfly house

STEM Days 2016

A pioneering day

Last October, the Museum of Life and Science created the first STEM Days. Children explored earth’s history at the Dinosaur Trail and Fossil Dig, tested water chemistry and analyzed environmental changes at the Wetlands, learned about animal adaptations in the Magic Wings Butterfly House, and much more. Over 1,500 students, teachers, and parents participated in the action-packed experience.

Each student received a handbook to collect real artifacts and stamps throughout the Museum as they went on a Science Quest. These included 12 "Brain Boost” stations with questions or challenges to do with a team, and four “STEM Stops” with experiments at the Butterfly House, Dinosaur Trail, Wetlands Deck and Explore the Wild, facilitated by the Museum’s educators and dozens of volunteer scientists.

“We are fortunate to have this resource in our community and hope that the visits not only inspire learning, but increase awareness of all the Museum has to offer families.”

Tim Gibson, DPS Director for Elementary Teaching, Learning, and Leadership

an educator explains natural science to Durham Public School Students
A Durham Public School student digs in the dinosaur dig pit
Two students explore leaves under a microscope
The Field Trip. Reinvented.

Out-of-the classroom experiences can add extraordinary value to school curriculum. What better way to learn about ecosystems than stepping foot into a tropical forest or journeying through a natural wetland? With thoughtful design and instructional support, a field day can lay the foundation for building scientific concepts back in the classroom—not to mention provide a fun break for students and teachers.

How it works

STEM Days took the field trip to a completely new level. Our education team collaborated with Durham Public Schools to develop a custom, dynamic, all-day experience using the Museum’s 84 acres of immersive environments to dig into STEM topics that teachers will be covering throughout the year.


All activities were specifically developed to align with North Carolina’s Essential Standards, covering subjects such as earth’s history, ecosystems, and other concepts that can be difficult to explore exclusively in a classroom environment. STEM Days gave students life-sized, whole-body experiences that they can reflect upon in their classroom learning.

To find out more

Interested in learning more about STEM Days? Click Here for more information.

Thanks to our Partners!

Duke School of the Environment, The Biogen Foundation, MERCK, NSF, and Durham Public Schools partnered with us for this event

Members receive UNLIMITED admission all year long!