The fall module focuses on Earth Sciences. The different grades will cover the following materials:
The winter module focuses on the Physical Sciences. The different grades will cover the following materials:
The winter module focuses on the Life Sciences. The different grades will cover the following materials:
We want your child to have an amazing learning experience here at Science Education Academy. We want them to get a hands-on feel for science and most importantly to have fun! For more information about our program, see the FAQs below.
SEA offers weekly Saturday lessons which coincide with the city’s public school system calendar. The year is split into three academic units: Fall (Earth Sciences), Winter (Physical Sciences), and Spring (Biological Sciences), with each grade studying age- and grade-appropriate topics within the unit.
In addition to our weekly operations, we provide mentorship for students in grades 4 and above who wish to participate in the city-wide George Washington Carver Science Fair. Project planning begins in the Fall with the Science Fair taking place in late February/early March.
We also provide supplementary programs throughout the year. In the past these have included the Science Carnival, Women in Science, Philly to Lesotho Exchange, summer fieldtrips to Johnson Pond, the NBC weather station, and we end each of the three science units with an outside demonstration from the city’s diverse science community. The latter events have included presentations by the Academy of Natural Sciences, NBC, local musicians as well as access to a heart dissection from a local city physician.
While our aim is to supplement the curriculum with age-appropriate experiments and activities, our lessons do not directly align with what students are learning in their regular school classrooms. Our lessons move beyond the Philadelphia school curriculum and introduce concepts that students will learn in future grades
The annual program runs in three units, each six weeks long. Lessons are each Saturday from 9:30-11:30 a.m. Special programs vary.
The pressure to increase standardized test scores has led the majority of classroom instruction in local public schools to focus on Math and Reading. The impact of this shift on science education, compounded by high teacher turnover rates and limited access to high quality science instructors, means students’ exposure to basic science is minimal. The large student-teacher ratio further complicates the ability to engage in an application based science curriculum focused on experimentation.
SEA was founded to help supplement the Philadelphia public school science curriculum as a way to address these gaps. The program is a partnership between the White Rock Baptist Church and the Ernest E. Just Biomedical Society of the University of Pennsylvania. Its purpose is to expose students in the 2nd through 5th grades to the scientific method while reinforcing concepts with fun hands-on experiments, worksheets, vocabulary words, and field trips. In particular, we aim to (i) increase elementary aged students’ access to scientific professionals who are also from underrepresented minorities; (ii) provide hands-on activities to apply scientific concepts and (iii) act as a conduit for public science education.
Check out our Sign-Up Page. The program is open to all students within the city of Philadelphia though we have tried to focus on the local community – an area of the city where schooling experiences tend to be impaired by the impact of limited educational resources and standardized testing.
All instruction is free.
Parent participation is encouraged but not required! Parents are not required to stay while their child is in the lessons, although some do. There is a separate area where parents and younger siblings can wait. If the parent wishes to sit in on a lesson once, they can do so with permission from the instructor. Some days, worksheets regarding additional experiments to do at home are given to the students or students finish a project they can keep in class – generally the instructor notifies parents if this is the case during pick-up. Ultimately, we encourage parents to review and discuss the content learned when possible and to engage with their child in the scientific learning process.
All educational and scientific materials are provided.
Both breakfast and a snack are provided. Breakfast is offered beginning at 9 a.m. Lessons start at 9:30 a.m. After the program concludes at 11:30, each student receives a snack bag including fruit and a drink.
Volunteers are primarily current and former graduate students from the University of Pennsylvania, although some are students from Drexel University. Volunteers are required to submit to screening and background checks.
Volunteers are offered at least one training session prior to their entering the classroom. This training includes presentations from certified professional teachers and from SEA administrators. Volunteers are also provided with lessons in advance giving them time to prepare prior to teaching in the classroom