The Ritz Herald
The "Construction" exhibit at the Empire State Building Observatory Experience. © Empire State Realty Trust, Inc.

Empire State Building Launches Complimentary Steam and Social Studies Curriculum for Students

As the Building marks 90 years in 2021, an updated curriculum for student group visits to the brand-new Observatory Experience offers new academic rigor in engineering, history, tech, and sustainability

Published on December 17, 2021

The Empire State Building (ESB), in partnership with Bank Street College of Education, announced its updated, interactive lesson plans for student group visits to its brand new $165 million Observatory upgrade. The curriculum follows New York State Learning Standards for STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics) and social studies curricula and has grade-level appropriate lesson plans for elementary, middle, and high school students. The lesson plans offer learning before, during, and after a visit to the World’s Most Famous Building and its newly reimagined Observatory Experience.

“Bank Street College of Education created these updated curricula to make students’ visits to our Observatory Experience’s immersive digital and tactile exhibits more than just a tourist experience,” said Jean-Yves Ghazi, president of the Empire State Building Observatory. “We have always offered lesson plans for school groups and as we celebrate our 90th year, we have updated the classroom engagement with our modern marvel in engineering and energy efficiency.”

Teachers and students will utilize the new curriculum to learn about the building’s engineering, design process, workforce, major technological elements, and industry-leading deep energy retrofit. The Observatory Experience completed a $165 million development in December 2019 that complements all elements of the program and offers students the chance to experience the energy-efficient building from bottom to top. Lessons start with interactive digital exhibits in the second-floor museum and continue up to the open-air 86th Floor Observatory.

The $165 million renovations include premier indoor environmental quality measures – such as MERV 13 air filters and active bi-polar ionization – for visitor confidence, and led to the building’s achievement as first in the Americas to achieve the WELL Health-Safety Rating.

“The Empire State Building field trips align perfectly with Bank Street’s educational approach, which recognizes that all individuals learn best when they are actively engaged with materials, ideas, and people,” said Joy Lundeen Ellebbane, Bank Street’s director of continuing professional studies. “Experiences and lessons like these provide authentic opportunities for deep, hands-on learning, and we’re happy to contribute to the Empire State Building’s offerings, especially in its 90th anniversary year.”

For more information about the Empire State Building, please visit

Staff Writer