Saturday Program

Our weekly saturday program coincides 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. While programming is planned to resume in Fall 2021, decisions about in-person programming will be made according to current public health guidelines.
Fall - Earth Sciences - Science Education Academy - Saturday Camp - Philadelphia PA


(Earth Sciences)

The fall module  focuses on Earth Sciences. The different grades will cover the following materials:

2nd Grade – Air and Weather 

  • Cloud types and formations
  • The water cycle
  • Measuring temperature

3rd Grade – Rocks and Minerals

  • What is a rock? What is a mineral?
  • Identifying rocks and minerals
  • Properties of rocks and minerals
  • Properties of matter

4th Grade – Landforms

  • What are landforms?
  • Water tables, water flow through environment
  • Identifying landforms

5th Grade – Energy

  • What is energy
  • How do batteries work?
  • Building a simple circuit, building a battery
Winter - Physical Sciences - Science Education Academy - Saturday Camp - Philadelphia PA


(Physical Sciences)

The winter module  focuses on the Physical Sciences. The different grades will cover the following materials:

2nd Grade – Balance and Weights

  • How do we measure weight?
  • What is balance?
  • How do we measure weight using balances?

3rd Grade – Sound & Waves

  • What is a wave?
  • How is sound a wave?
  • How do different musical instruments use waves to make sounds?

4th Grade – Magnetism

  • What are magnets?
  • Why do magnets stick together?
  • How do magnets make electricity?
  • How do we build a simple circuit?

5th Grade – Levers & Pulleys

  • What is a lever
  • What is a pulley?
  • How do we build simple machines using levers and pulleys
Spring - Biological Sciences - Science Education Academy - Saturday Camp - Philadelphia PA


(Biological Sciences)

The spring module  focuses on the Life Sciences. The different grades will cover the following materials:

2nd Grade – Insects

  • The different stages of the insect lifecycle
  • The lifecycle as applied to wax worms and meal worms
  • Following the life cycle of a butterfly

3rd Grade – Plants

  • The basic anatomy of a plant
  • Recognizing different types of plants
  • How do plants grow?

4th Grade – Lifeforms

  • Basic anatomy
  • Crayfish dissection
  • Frog dissection
  • Grasshopper dissection

5th Grade – Genetics

  • Genes and inheritance
  • Using fruit flies to model basic inheritance
  • An introduction to Mendelian genetics


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.

What types of programs/lessons does it offer?

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.

What programming is available during the COVID-19 pandemic?

In-person programs on Saturdays are on hiatus for the 2020-2021 school year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Instead, there will be virtual sessions where students and parents can “Meet a Scientist” and participate in do-it-yourself science activities from home!

How does this program align with the Philadelphia school curriculum?

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

When are they offered?

The annual program runs in three units, each six weeks long. Lessons are each Saturday from 9:30-11:30 a.m. The Fall program will take place October 26th to November 23rd 2019. Special programs vary.

Why SEA?

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.

How can I sign my child up for SEA?

Check out our registration 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.

Does it cost anything?

All instruction is free.

What level of parental involvement is expected?

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.

Do you provide materials?

All educational and scientific materials are provided.

Are there food and snacks available for the children?

After the program concludes at 11:30am, each student receives a snack bag including fruit and a drink.

Who are the volunteers? Where are they from?

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.

Do the volunteers have training?

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