Increasingly we are stressing the STEM fields in education: Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. How often as children did we think to ourselves in math or science class, groaning,” When will I ever need this stuff?” as our minds drifted off to more interesting pursuits.

Sure, STEM can lead to a 9 to 5 profession or a career in the skilled trades. Did you ever stop think all of this “math-y” and “science-y” stuff can also be used to have fun?

Believe it or not, at Adirondack Live Steamers you can do just that. Even better, you can apply the skills you have, share them with those willing to learn, and maybe learn some new skills yourself. Learning is done without being forced to endure tiresome, droning, never ending, lectures at 8:00 A.M. on a Monday morning. The curriculum is self-directed, self-paced, lessons are co-operative, any homework is voluntary, tests are open book, and class is mostly held outside in a naturally wooded environment.

You may think to yourself, “This is just a bunch of train buffs riding their little trains around in the woods.  What role does STEM play?”

Well, you are correct. At Adirondack Live Steamers, we indeed are train buffs or we wouldn’t be doing this to begin with. To be able to “ride our trains around in the woods”, those very science, engineering, technology, and math related skills come into play. Here’s some examples:

Track Building

  • A suitable route must be located. (Science, Engineering)
  • A suitable route must be surveyed. (Math, Engineering)
  • Estimate quantities of materials required to build the route and track. (Math, Engineering)
  • A suitable route must be constructed. (Engineering, Technology, Math)
  • Track must be constructed on that route. (Engineering, Technology, Math)

Train Building

  • Plans must be scaled to fit. (Technology, Engineering), or
  • Plans must be created. (Technology, Engineering)
  • Estimate and obtain materials to fit the plans. (Math, Science)
  • Machine and fabricate those materials to the plans. (Technology, Math)

Train Operating

  • It takes fuel and water to make a steam locomotive go. (Science, Technology)
    • Discover why (Science) and how (Engineering) steam can move a train.
    • Learn how an internal combustion motor can make a train go. (Science, Technology)
  • It takes electricity to move battery-operated trains. (Science, Technology)
  • Certain factors determine how much a locomotive can pull (Science, Engineering, Math)
    • Momentum must be managed. (Science)

Train Riding

  • You can observe native plants and animals from the train. (Science)
  • You can observe signals, trains, track work, structures, and equipment in concert with each other. (Science, Technology, Engineering)

There is so much to learn and do at Adirondack Live Steamers. We can show you! When education is combined with recreation, it makes learning so easy you won’t even realize you’re doing it.