GLOBE Partner California Academy of Sciences Supports Educators in Out-of-School Programs
The California Academy of Sciences has designed a nationwide out-of-school-time program that inspires middle school youth to explore and connect with nature while achieving essential science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) learning goals. The name of this program? It’s called the Science Action Club (SAC). This hands-on citizen science program ignites curiosity, fosters workforce development skills, and builds STEM identity.
SAC features teaching kits for three curriculum units: Bird Scouts, Bug Safari, and Cloud Quest. Each is anchored by a long-term citizen science project that empowers youth to contribute anytime, anywhere. The Cloud Quest unit was first developed around the S’COOL citizen science project, and later redesigned to align with GLOBE Observer’s cloud protocol. In Cloud Quest, youth learn to survey the sky, document their observations, and design strategies to protect the planet.
While SAC guidebook instructions are clear and easy to follow, leading activities with youth takes practice and preparation. Drawing from research-based practices for STEM education, SAC helps educators in after-school programs, summer camps, libraries, and community centers deepen the environmental and science learning experience and challenge youth to make thoughtful connections between SAC activities and their own everyday lives.
Science Action Club’s online training expands on existing GLOBE training materials to provide additional background information, suggested teaching tips, step-by-step guidance for all 12 SAC activities, and curated recommendations for activity extensions. Designed to be relevant, interactive, and fun, SAC online training can be completed at the educator’s own pace and on their own schedule. Optional in-person training—available directly from SAC staff or from certified SAC trainers—offer additional hands-on experience and reflection on practice within a professional learning community.
From Anchorage Alaska to Albany New York, Science Action Club is implemented in 400-800 programs annually. More than 62,000 youth and educators in 26 states have participated since 2011. For more information about SAC, visit: SAC webpage; SAC major initiative page; SAC newsroom.
News origin: United States of America