One hallmark of The New School’s educational experience are the Intensives, where our students focus on one topic for a three-week period. Generally, we have three different courses during this period: two travel intensives, one heading outside our region to nearby states and the other venturing quite far (and usually are away from campus for a longer time); and one local intensive based on our campus, featuring regional field trips. This year, our travel intensives were all about (1) the ecology of the Adirondack mountain region in upstate New York and (2) space exploration and international relations, stopping at various locations down the eastern seaboard en route to Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral.

Three students and a teacher stand in front of the Space Shuttle Discovery at Udvar-Hazy

Lilly, Myriah, Olie, Vivian, and Discovery at The Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center

For our Space Exploration & International Relations group, five students traveled down the eastern coast to Cape Canaveral, Florida, (and back, don’t worry!) stopping in Washington, D. C., to visit the National Mall, the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum and the Udvar-Hazy Space Center; then down to the South Carolina State Museum before spending time at Kennedy Space Center; and returning to North Carolina to visit the Wright Brothers National Memorial; and a final stop back to the DC area for the Goddard Space Flight Center before returning home.

On our first day of the trip we did a lot of traveling — 11 to 12 hours. Lunch was at this amazing dinner called the Lakeside Diner in Stamford, CT. After we drove quite a ways to get to a McDonald’s for dinner and groceries nearby around 8. We arrived at our DC AirBnB around 11 PM and talked briefly about when we were getting up and went to bed. The mental state of the group started to decline around 8 PM but we pulled it back and made it in one piece. One of the best parts was getting to see so much of DC as we were driving in.


Today we got up pretty early to go to the National Air and Space Museum. In general, we all enjoyed the cool attractions on the way to the museum. (We found a very cool and cute and friendly cat on the way.) We also figured out how much we hated trying to drive and park in the city, so we decided to take the subway which was pretty fun. At the Smithsonian, we met someone we called the Education Fairy[, a docent at the museum.] He kept popping in and out, seemingly following us around the museum, providing tidbits of information. Among the exhibits, we also got to see a generator that Myriah’s grandfather was the head engineer to make. The museum was quite overwhelming for a lot of us and we all need a break. Luckily, they had a quiet room tomorrow. We have one more museum and we’re heading south.


On Friday, we visited the Udvar-Hazy Space Center, which is the secondary location for the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum. We got to see the SR-71 Blackbird in their main hangar, and the Space Shuttle Discovery in the Space Hangar! There were a lot of amazing artifacts related to human spaceflight, and so many different types of airplane, from all throughout history. We were all super excited, but very tired when we finally got to our next AirBNB in Hartsville, SC.

—Myriah and Phoenix

Saturday, we started early(ish*), crossing the Wateree River, which gave us all a chuckle in our sleep-deprived state, and headed to the South Carolina State Museum. There, Phoenix, Cam, and Vivian watched a presentation on Black Holes in the Planetarium, while Lilly, Olie, and Myriah visited the Planetarium later to watch a preview of the South Carolina night sky. Some of the other exhibits included a collection of the history of telescoping manufacture from across American history, and a tribute to the Apollo 16 mission, during which South Carolina native Charlie Duke walked on the moon. Lilly and Olie checked out a mock-up of the Lunar Rover they found there. Then it was back in the van for another long drive.

—Myriah and Phoenix

Good evening from Florida!

We have had an eventful couple of days at the Kennedy Space Center! Starting off on Sunday we had our first day at Kennedy! We were all very tired Sunday morning because of the late nights we’ve had the past couple of days. So we slept in (which was very much needed) and headed to the center around 1. We took a bus tour and we were able to see the VAB (Vehicle Assembly Building) which stands at 525 feet tall and 518 feet wide. It is one of the biggest buildings by area. Then the bus dropped us off at the Saturn V center. We explored for a while and saw the Saturn V rocket and we also got to see the moonscape! Moonscape shows a scene from apollo 11 when two astronauts planted the American flag on the Moon. On the way back from the bus tour Olie and I counted about 7 alligators that we saw. We ended the day with compliments and dinner on grill!


Today we mostly drove, as we left Florida and headed to North Carolina. We had lunch at a southern staple, the Waffle House, in Richmond Hill, GA. We continued in and arrived in NC at 7:30(ish) pm, had a pizza dinner, then proceeded to watch Apollo 13 before heading to bed. They are predicting some severe thunderstorms tomorrow, so we’re waiting to see if that impacts our plans to head out to Kitty Hawk.


Today we started off in North Carolina, with news of severe thunderstorms, with a decent probability (Thanks, Phoenix for the math lesson!) of hail, and a chance of a tornado out near Kitty Hawk, where we were supposed to be seeing the Wright Brothers Memorial. We adapted, and instead we had a nice breakfast before heading north to visit the Udvar-Hazy Space Center again. Olie, Vivian, and Lilly made a beeline for the flight simulator, and took turns throwing each other around (virtually). We all got a nice lesson from Cameron about all the different places there before heading to pick up groceries and then checking in to our AirBnB. Tonight we are making tacos!


We stopped at Goddard Space Flight Center, one of the largest collectives of engineers and scientists anywhere, employing over 10,000 scientists in 6 lab locations.  They focus on 4 main areas of space science: Earth science (studying biomes, climate change, and changes to Earth’s environments), Heliophysics (studying the sun, solar flares & solar wind), Planetary Science (studying how planets form, what makes life possible or likely on other planets, and planetary movements), and Astronomy (studying stars, planets and systems throughout our galaxy and others close by). Goddard is also responsible for the construction and operation of many of the satellites in use by the federal government at this time. After checking our their exhibits, watching a video presentation, and taking a stroll through the rocket garden, the group decided to return to the Smithsonian museums for the afternoon.

We arrived back on the National Mall around 1:30pm, and went to the American History Museum.  Cameron and Vivian explored some exhibits about modern America with Phoenix, while Olie and Lilly explored some exhibits about the Presidents, First Ladies, and one exhibit called the Price of Freedom, which highlighted America’s involvement in conflict, from the American Revolution through modern wars.

After the American History Museum, we headed back to the AirBnB for an early dinner and early night, so that we could get underway headed for home early the next morning.