Mountains, Moose and Museums: STEM in Colorado

From Denver to Boulder to Colorado Springs, the whole state of Colorado is filled with education between the grooves and peaks of the mountains.

Credit: Denver Museum of Nature and Science

We know Colorado has chilling scenic views around every corner. However, it also has outstanding STEM programs that keep students engaged and excited for education. Artificial intelligence will expand their minds, planetariums will widen their eyes and the wildlife will keep them on their toes.

Museums and Zoos

With school groups offered free admission every single day, the Denver Museum of Nature and Science is a must-see. There are numerous school programs for 6th- to 8th-graders the museum offers including “Unraveling Mummies: Modern Technology, Dissection and Ancient Egypt.” Here, students will use CT scans and dig into a sheep heart. At “Mystery at the Museum,” students will solve puzzles involving toxic plants and animals to solve the mystery of the poisoned scientist. You can also visit the planetarium to experience the creation of the Milky Way Galaxy, violent death of a star and birth of a black hole. Mathematical equations, science and Einstein’s theories fill the holes along the way.

Denver Museum of Nature and Science

Denver Museum of Nature and Science Credit: DMNS

Try out Edventures at the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo in Colorado Springs. Sixth- to-12th graders will go on an exploration tour and let nature be their muse as they explore the zoo’s nature trail and express themselves through creative writing. A WildNight is a one-day sleepover at the zoo that includes a giraffe feeding, an up-close encounter in the Loft, zoo admission for the following day and a fun-filled night of exploration in the moonlight.

Fort Collins Museum of Discovery

Fort Collins Museum of Discovery Credit: Fort Collins Museum of Discovery

There are over 10 different animal exhibits, including African Rift Valley, Asian Highlands and Monkey Pavilion. Conservation is a very important aspect of the Cheyenne Zoo. If you want your students to learn more about animal conservation and action you can take, you can book a keeper interview to meet with a member of the animal care staff.

Every day is a new day at Fort Collins Museum of Discovery. Each day has a different program related to science, history, theater or art. Learn what challenges engineers, astronauts and scientist achieved to get humans to land on the moon in “The Appollo Story” or watch a film to explore Earth’s atmosphere, oceans and biosphere. Then take your students to “Wildlife and Wildlands” to see plants and animals that called Fort Collins their home millions of years before there was a Fort Collins.

Fort Collins Museum of Discovery

Fort Collins Museum of Discovery Credit: Fort Collins Museum of Discovery

This exhibit has a biodiversity wall, home to the flora and fauna of our four ecozones today. In the “Sun, Earth and Universe” exhibit, students will learn how scientists study the Earth, Sun, solar system and universe. They will design, build and test their own model spacecraft. This museum will expand the minds of your students while they engage in their world.

Universities and Academia

The University of Colorado Boulder offers 54 mathematics and science degree programs. The morning starts off with your own adventure on one of the many trails through the Flatirons, then you will explore CU Boulder campus. You can make the tour as specific as you want.

University of Colorado Boulder

University of Colorado Boulder Credit: CU Boulder

Rocky Mountain National Park

Rocky Mountain National Park Credit: NPS

As a teacher, you can identify which program your students are most interested in and then go from there. For example, the Engineering Center gives daily tours and allows students to explore the facilities. The day will end with shopping in one-of-a-kind boutiques while savoring Colorado cuisine along Pearl Street Mall. It is also possible to take a tour of CU Boulder on the way to downtown or Rocky Mountain National Park.

The capital of Colorado is a fantastic place to tour and explore the mountains. The University of Colorado Denver offers several college visit options during the year, many of which will allow students to have a conversation with current students. Tours will make sure students are up to speed on the admission process and programs they may be interested in. Options of tours include Daily Tours, Friday@DU, Admitted Student Visits, Group Visits and Directions & Logistics. Students can request to speak with an academic representative from any department of their choosing.

Industry and Technology

 iD Tech is the perfect weeklong STEM camp for middle and high school students. For girls who like coding, robotics, video production and more, iD Tech has a program for all of it. For ages 13-17, assemble and take home a laptop, learn about cybersecurity and encryption or develop and code games.

iD Tech

iD Tech

There are even more advanced programs for students up to the age of 19. In the Advanced Laboratory for Emerging Technologies program, students will use the latest data science, coding, artificial intelligence and machine learning to make the world a better place. iD Tech is the perfect place for students to dive into their passion for STEM.

Nature & Outdoor Activities

With crests at over 12,000 feet along 300 miles of hiking trails, starry nights and wildlife, the 415-square-mile Rocky Mountain National Park will make your students feel like they are on top of the world.

Rocky Mountain National Park

Rocky Mountain National Park Credit: NPS

Wildlife will blow your mind with elk herds, beavers, black bears, coyote, mountain lions, three-toed woodpeckers, gray jays and many more. Students can observe and take pictures of the wildlife to learn how they act in their environment. The park hosts a program called “Astronomy in the Park,” where students will observe the night sky with the help of a park ranger and expert astronomers.

Red Rocks Park and Amphitheater

Red Rocks Park and Amphitheater Credit: Visit Denver

The Arkansas River in Central Colorado plunges 5,000 feet in its first 125 miles. This whitewater rafting trip for ages 16 plus will be challenging and thrilling. Along the way, you’ll see bighorn sheep, elk and more. A rafting and zip lining package is also available. The location is Granite Outpost, just north of Buena Vista. Venture through the trees and enjoy the views of the Colorado Rockies. These activities are great for team building and problem-solving skills.

Red Rocks Park and Amphitheater

Red Rocks Park and Amphitheater Credit: Visit Colorado

Surround yourself in the jagged, tall, peaceful Red Rocks Park and Amphitheater – it is a must-see in Colorado. Besides concerts taking place here, students can also hike, bike and learn the geology of the park and how the “walls” formed. After exploring the 868-acre land and processing the history, sit down and relax for a breathtaking sunset. Camping and lodging are both options. Camping will teach students respect for the wilderness, a sense of direction and more.