Many of the slide-tape presentations are travelogs. So first here is an article that helps to give some background on what these are about, for those who haven't seen these presentations before:


by Ellen Shubart

The Glencoe News, September 23, 1976

[about 1976 trip called Horizons 76: A Western Odyssey...this is currently the only one available in digital format]

Many teachers ask their students in the fall to write an essay on “How I Spent My Summer Vacation.”  Marvin Martin, South School 6th grade teacher doesn’t. He takes students with him on his vacation, and he uses the trip as a teaching tool.

“Traveling is a rich source of curriculum study,” Martin notes.  “On this trip we saw all kinds of geography, animal and plant life, and historical areas.”

The 1976 trip, a non-school sponsored event, but a not-for-profit enterprise for Martin, was a tour of the Western United States and two provinces of Canada.  The vacation was 53 days long and took Martin and seven of his former students across 12,000 miles.

Once home, Martin sorts through some 3,100 slides and edits them into specific topic travelogues: glaciers, desert, the Rocky Mountains, etc. Then, in his new class, he will use the material to study various aspects of geology, geography, biology, and history.

This trip, in the bicentennial year, included a lot of American history, beginning in Springfield and New Salem, witnessing Lincoln’s heritage. Included, however, were places not in conventional itineraries, as Martin took the youth to see his own birthplace and Martin, South Dakota, named for his grandfather who had been a senator from the state.

“Children travel differently.  Adults have fun watching while they tour,” Martin explains. “Children have fun while doing.  The boys doused each other in rivers, played under waterfalls, rode horses, took a raft trip, and threw snowballs on top of a glacier.”

“It is a whole new experience to see sights through the eyes of kids.  I photographed rivers; they rolled rocks down the banks.  I looked at redwoods; they wanted to climb them.”

The tour was intricately planned with Martin and his student-travelers researching the areas to be visited before departure.  On the trip Martin  kept  meticulous  records  of  where  the  boys went and what they saw, and when the travelogues are completed, they will be narrated by the  youthful participants.

“This type of travel enhances my own ability to teach and it excites youngsters to learn,” Martin says.  “There is enjoyment in traveling with children and, for those at home, the slides extend the classroom.”

Martin also notes that he learns a great deal about the students who go with him.  “I see strengths in kids which I don’t anticipate earlier because classroom experiences are incomplete.”

“The leadership potential often surprised me,” he adds. “And there is a new dimension in living with students for 53 days which I didn’t anticipate even though I knew the boys very well through the school year.”

Some of these experiences were unexpected.  On the Fourth of July, when the group was headed for a fire-works display but missed it because of misdirections, they ended up celebrating by themselves.  On another occasion, Martin was up until 4 a.m., doing laundry because the dryer broke down.  “The boys adjusted marvelously,” he says.

The trip was set up so the boys experienced one type of phenomenon at each stop.  For example, they saw a glacier, traveled through a desert, viewed a prairie dog village, rafted one river, drove out in a buffalo herd, and so forth. “We tried not to have much duplication of experiences,” Martin points out.

Although the trip was very much into seeing sights of nature, Mesa Verde Indian ruins, the Painted Desert, Sunset Crater, the Grand Canyon, Hoover Dam and Lake Meed, there were other trips to urban areas, Denver, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco, and Seattle.

In Los Angeles the group visited Universal Studios, Disneyland, Hollywood Bowl for a symphony concert, Knotts Berry Farm and Mann’s Chinese Theater.  San Francisco sights included the famous cable cars, Fisherman’s Wharf, and Chinatown.

Las Vegas was their favorite city. “They were awed by the color, lights, and dazzle of the Strip,” Martin notes.  “It’s like an adult Disneyland and they were bedazzled by it.”

Some of the more unusual experiences, off the usual beaten tourist path took place in Colorado and South Dakota.  In Denver, Martin’s boyhood home was visited.  In Hot Springs, South Dakota, the boys met Martin’s father, a man who actually had know Calamity Jane.  “It brings history closer to us to see the ties with the past,” Martin says.

In Martin, South Dakota, the boys were treated as special visitors, the teacher notes, since the town was named for a family member and the troupe had its picture taken and printed on the front page of the local newspaper.  “Martin used to have four houses; now it has a population of 1000,” Martin adds.

In South Dakota the group also went to Rapid City and saw the dinosaur park, Custer State Park to view buffalo and Wind Cave Park to see a prairie dog village.

“We also visited the Wall Drug Store, the ultimate tourist trap,” Martin laughs.  “The drug store began by offering a free glass of ice water to anyone leaving the Badlands, and it has become famous worldwide.”

The boys who accompanied Martin are Paul Gerding, Danny Aronson, Bill Borden, Craig Tschilds, Scott McDonald, Steve Pearl and Rob Rowe.  Martin regards the trip as fun and educational at the same time. “But it was not carefree,” he notes. “There was no chance for me to be lazy.  A trip with seven boys is not a complete vacation, certainly not like traveling by myself.”

Will Martin do it again?  You bet!  In fact, he is already planning for future trips with new students to new areas. He says, “I love it.  It enhances my ability to teach; it excites kids to learn.  There couldn’t be a better reason.”


Mr. Martin felt that much of education happened beyond the four walls of a classroom. He took at least 205 students on trips, visited all but 5 of the United States, Canada, and Ireland. 15 of the trips were theater tours to New York City. On the map below are pins representing the places they had visited and pictures from the trips are along the edge of the map.


These are the slide-tape presentations he showed his students over the years. They usually have 2-3 carousels of slides accompanied by a taped narration with a typed script to follow. The tapes are mostly reel-to-reel. Some are also on cassette. A very few were transferred to VHS. 

Please note: we have a separate, more detailed list, that specifies the number of tapes for each of the subjects below. A few of them have up to 8 parts.

  • American Journey
  • Archaeologists at Work
  • Athens
  • Automobile Explorers Group
  • Autumn Pleasures 
  • Aviation Science Explorers Group
  • Badlands and the Black Hills
  • Big Events 1979-82
  • The Birds and the Bees
  • Cathedral
  • Chicago
  • City
  • Crete
  • Culture Explorers Group
  • Drama Explorers Group
  • Dublin
  • Eastern Epic
  • Egypt
  • England
  • Expedition 81 
  • Farm Explorers Group 
  • Florence
  • Florida 
  • A Game of Catch
  • Germany
  • The Giant Shrinker
  • Greece
  • Historical Massachusetts
  • Historical Virginia
  • Holiday Grab Bag 
  • Horizons 76
  • Ireland
  • Israel
  • Italy
  • A Jury of Your Peers 
  • Library Research
  • Lincoln’s Springfield
  • Loire Valley and Chantilly
  • London
  • The Making of  “The Giant Shrinker”
  • Mammals Science Explorers Group
  • Mark Twain’s Hannibal 
  • Martin Luther King, Jr. 
  • Mount Rushmore
  • Netherlands (and Belgium)
  • New York City
  • New York! New York!
  • News Explorers Group
  • NYC 82
  • Ostia Antica and Tivoli
  • Paris
  • Prehistoric Man
  • Primitive Art
  • Rome
  • Salzburg, Austria
  • Science Slide Talks
  • Scotland
  • 6 + 3 = Holiday Fun
  • Summer of 1980
  • Technology Science Explorers Group
  • Television Explorers Group
  • This Land Is Your Land
  • Two Hundred and One
  • Venice, Italy
  • Vesuvius and Pompeii
  • Wagon West
  • Washington, DC
  • Western Odyssey 
  • Wisconsin Vacation
  • Yellowstone National Park
  • Zurich, Naples and Capri
***Please note: this website is for educational purposes only. ©2017 Jonathon Podolsky