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The National Center for Quality Afterschool

Science After School (SAS) Consumers Guide  

List Resources by Grade Range (Middle School)

Click a grade range to view a list of resources that support that general grade area, or click here to view a grade matrix displaying the grades supported by each resource.

Click on a title to view a description of the resource and two reviews by an afterschool and a science expert.

Early Elementary
(K-2)

(30 items)
Upper Elementary
(3-5)

(49 items)
Middle School
(6-8)

(42 items)
High School
(9-12)

(14 items)

Middle School

1.
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21st Century Afterschool Project (CASP)
These lesson plans support afterschool activities that provide youth with opportunities to experience science (especially focusing on reinforcing key scientific concepts around ecological impacts of water issues) within a familiar social atmosphere.
Subjects: math, multiple science topics Grades: 4 to 5, 6 to 8
2.
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4-H Wildlife Stewards
This program provides a useful framework programs with access to outdoors and instructors new to, but interested in, offering outdoor experiences that develop scientific perspectives about nature through real interaction with it.
Subjects: environmental science Grades: K to 5, 6 to 8
3.
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After-School Science PLUS —Activity Guide and Planning Guide
These units permit busy instructors of limited scientific backgrounds to engage female, minority, or bilingual students in science through oral/literacy-based activities that feature biographic vignettes of demographically diverse scientists.
Subjects: multiple science topics Grades: K to 5, 6 to 8 Target Audience: Bilingual, Girls, Ethnically Diverse Audiences
4.
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Afterschool Explorations in Science (AXIS)
Multiple topic units are available, and each includes brightly colored participant activity books featuring related characters and leaders guides in English and Spanish.  Materials can be assembled by instructors or purchased in kits.
Subjects: multiple science topics Grades: 4 to 5, 6 to 8 Target Audience: Bilingual, Ethnically Diverse Audiences
5.
Community Reviews: 1
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Afterschool Universe
Developed with NASA and requiring instructors to attend training, this afterschool astronomy program provides ms students with a chance to explore concepts and enjoy hands-on activities, like a journey through the Universe beyond the solar system.
Subjects: astronomy Grades: 6 to 8
6.
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APEX Science
Eight separate units/topics that include four sessions each and provide kids with sufficient depth within a structure appropriate for typical after school program needs.  Each unit includes clear instructor binders and consistent unit features.
Subjects: astronomy, biodiversity, biology, earth science, engineering, environmental science, life science, mechanics, physical science Grades: K to 3, 2 to 6
7.
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Astrobiology: Afterschool Life in the Universe
Rigorous, rich materials (4 units, 27 activities) with authentic approaches to varied disciplines and based on publisher, TERC’s, Astrobiology, An Integrated Science Approach, and text.  Best for committed students and experienced instructors.
Subjects: math, multiple science topics Grades: 9 to 12
8.
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Astrobiology: Science Learning Activities for Afterschool
For five to 12 year old kids, the question of life beyond Earth is captivating.  These materials address that question through astrobiology through easily accessible, low-cost household items, and innovative lessons/activities from NASA and AMNH.
Subjects: astronomy, biology Grades: K to 6
9.
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Bottle Biology: The TerraAqua Column
Let your kids experience the scientific process, ecology and environmental degradation with a year’s worth of activities using recycled materials.  You can’t top it for ease and cost since all activities are housed in 2-liter soda bottles.
Subjects: life science Grades: K to 5, 6 to 8
10.
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Bubble Festival
From the GEMS series, this Bubble Festival combines true scientific exploration with highly engaging, fun bubble-based activities that appeal to children of almost any age.  It’s “good clean” fun and real, hands-on science happens every time.
Subjects: multiple science topics Grades: K to 6
11.
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Build IT
BuildIT is a year long curriculum requiring computers, trained instructors, mentors and planning that engages girls in engineering technology while boosting their social skills, confidence, creativity, and community involvement.
Subjects: engineering, technology Grades: 6 to 8 Target Audience: Girls
12.
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Camp and Club Science Sourcebook: Activities and Leader Planning Guide for Science Outside School
This guide is for leaders/instructors contemplating adding an informal science program.  It’s full of fascinating activities, sound science, relevant health concepts, and practical advice--whether you seek new activities or are just starting.
Subjects: multiple science topics Grades: 5 to 8, 5 to 9 Target Audience: Starter Programs
13.
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Celebrate Urban Birds/Project Pigeon Watch
An easy and fun Web-site with bright visual layout and information in both English and Spanish that offers information about birds plus guides you through collecting/submitting local data crucial for scientific research by Cornell Univ. ornithologists. 
Subjects: biology Grades: all Target Audience: Bilingual
14.
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Club Invention
This research-based kit/instructor guide with all necessary to immerse kids in realistic problem-solving scenarios including design, building, testing, and redesign of tents, bridges, etc.  Fun science is repeatable with replacement of consumables.
Subjects: physical science Grades: 1 to 6
15.
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Design and Discovery
Intel & the Girl Scouts created this set of free inquiry-based/interdisciplinary engineering activities designed to take teen girls through design process to develop prototypes that address problems they identify. Staff interest/expertise is helpful.
Subjects: engineering Grades: 6 to 8, 9 to 12 Target Audience: Girls
16.
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Design It! Engineering in After School Programs
In this field-tested, engineering-focused set of afterschool activities kids build simple models of familiar technology, then improve their designs.  Guides offer interesting extensions and tips for leading discussions to simplify implementation.
Subjects: physical science Grades: 2 to 6
17.
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DragonflyTV
This combined t.v. series/website attempts to "foster a greater interest in science and the process of scientific inquiry.” Elements are designed to engage minority & underserved learners by offering fun, attractive images and appealing activities.
Subjects: biodiversity, earth science, life science, multiple science topics, physical science Grades: K to 3, 4 to 5, grade 6 Target Audience: Girls, Ethnically Diverse Audiences, Families
18.
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EarthBox
Available at elementary, ms or hs levels, these kits offer refined growing environments that permit in-or out-door gardening. The ms kit (reviewed here) includes the growing unit, standards-based lessons and a guide kids use to engage in gardening.

video available
Subjects: biology, environmental science, horticulture, physical science Grades: all
19.
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Environmental Detectives
Kids experience the interconnectedness of the natural world using language arts, as they attempt to solve a mystery.  This rich mix of hands-on activities, role-playing, and group discussion promotes logical thought processes and research skills.
Subjects: chemistry, environmental science, life science, physical science Grades: 5 to 8
20.
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Exploratorium Afterschool Activities
This set includes 8 easy-to-lead activities that offer science, encourage creativity, and result in great fun. Designed for grades 3-8, most require one session and include introductory video-clips, and detailed instructions/background information.
Subjects: life science, physical science Grades: 3 to 5, 6 to 8 Target Audience: Starter Programs
21.
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Explore It! Science Investigations in Out-of-School Programs
These 13 projects give 8-12 year olds a chance conduct true scientific investigations.  Instructors can draw on a thorough instructor's guide to prepare to lead these explorations of physical science and engineering concepts behind each project.
Subjects: physical science Grades: 2 to 6
22.
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Family ASTRO
These clear, flexible, easy to lead activities let kids become scientists.  Each one is innovative and conceptual-revealing astronomy without factoids or complex jargon by simplifying overwhelming subjects without masking science’s ambiguities.
Subjects: astronomy Grades: 2 to 6, 6 to 8, 9 to 12 Target Audience: Families
23.
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Family Math
These guidebooks provide cross-disciplinary, creative, skill-oriented activities to foster home-school connections using household items.  They also focus on building equity in math since they are accessible to students and instructors of many levels.
Subjects: math Grades: K to 5, 6 to 8 Target Audience: Bilingual, Ethnically Diverse Audiences, Families
24.
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Family Science
These activities engage groups of kids and parents in hands-on science, experiments, discussions, and interactions with scientists that reveal science in daily life. Though designed for big group science events, these can be adapted for small groups.
Subjects: astronomy, biology, chemistry Grades: K to 5, 6 to 8 Target Audience: Girls, Families
25.
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Fetch!
Combing a TV show/website/materials, Fetch targets kids 6-10 by mixing six human contestants with a cartoon dog in a reality TV meets science battle.   If you have a TV and computers, your kids can join the creative problem solving fun. 
Subjects: multiple science topics Grades: 4 to 5, grade 6
26.
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Field Trip to the Moon
This highly structured one-time activity lets kids work together to solve problems and prepare for a trip to the Moon.  The educator guide and DVD provide instructors with ideas and data to help plan a lunar station and trip to the Moon.
Subjects: astronomy, multiple science topics Grades: 3 to 5, 6 to 8, 9 to 12
27.
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Garden Mosaics
By pairing kids with elder gardeners/people of differing cultures, this program helps bridge cultural gaps through shoulder-to-shoulder gardening adventure.  It includes a curriculum and supplemental resources, but you must supply community members.
Subjects: biodiversity, cultural anthropology, horticulture, invasive species Grades: 5 to 8, 9 to 12 Target Audience: Bilingual
28.
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GEMS Paper Towel Testing
These four inquiry-based activities help kids design/conduct experiments to test/compare advertising claims about wet strength and absorbency of 4 paper towel brands.   These are well designed and the teachers guide is elegantly clear and concise.
Subjects: math, multiple science topics Grades: 5 to 8 Target Audience: Families
29.
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Math and Science Across Cultures, from the Exploratorium
This instructors guide includes math/science activities relevant to students of all backgrounds and hints to help those uncomfortable with science content promote deep thinking, questioning and experimentation through the lenses of diverse cultures.
Subjects: math Grades: 6 to 8 Target Audience: Ethnically Diverse Audiences
30.
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Mindstorms for Schools (LEGO)
If you have computers, funds for (costly) materials, and training to troubleshoot/lead the use of Mindstorms, this professionally designed curriculum permits kids to program LEGO machines and address disciplines like physics, robotics and mechanics.
Subjects: physics Grades: 4 to 5, 6 to 8, 9 to 12
31.
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Mission Discovery
Staff with interest and experience in (the reviewed unit on horticulture) can use this traditional discussion-and-lab curriculum to spark participant interest in this field through journaling and engaging hands-on experiences.
Subjects: multiple science topics Grades: 6 to 8
32.
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NASA Educators Guides
These web-based educator guides include many materials for a variety of topics.  Some masterfully combine scientific content and engaging activities with clear guidance for instructors, but the quality varies so it’s best to check them out/decide.
Subjects: multiple science topics Grades: K to 5, 6 to 8, 9 to 12
33.
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Operation SMART
This set of activities/staff guides empowers girls to pursue science, math, and technology careers.  Designed to build confidence/offer success, these activities include ideas for extensions, but instructors must prepare daily logistics/activities.
Subjects: multiple science topics Grades: 6 to 8 Target Audience: Girls
34.
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PCS Edventures (Academy of Robotics reviewed, multiple kits offered)
Given funding for necessary materials, computers, instructors willing/able to lead and participant interest, kids can use LEGO to build mechanical devices and explore basic robotics through numerous, stimulating and engaging activities.
Subjects: engineering, math, physics, robotics, technology Grades: 5 to 8, 9 to 12
35.
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Science is Cool
“Cool” science and easy-to-use materials engage afterschool participants’ sense of wonder.  These inquiry-based frameworks/materials tap kids’ natural curiosity about how things work and spark discovery/ exploration through afterschool science. 
Grades: all Target Audience: Starter Programs
36.
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Square Wheels and Other Easy-To-Build, Hands-on Science Activities
Science content is expertly explained in this guide to constructing/learning new and classic science standards.  Kids construct odd phenomenon-like square wheels-using household supplies, then ask, “so what?” Engaging science follows.
Subjects: multiple science topics Grades: 5 to 8
37.
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Strive to Thrive Activity Handbooks
Fun, engaging, and informative science activities require little prep time, yet are interesting and engaging. With little prior science background, instructors can lead the flexible activities that stimulate student curiosity/engagement.
Subjects: chemistry, environmental science, life science Grades: 5 to 8
38.
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Techbridge
If instructors interested in supporting girls’ pursuit of science and engineering can attend pre- and follow-up trainings, this program helps them combine mentorship and hands-on scientific exploration to introduce girls to career possibilities.
Subjects: engineering, multiple science topics, technology Grades: 5 to 8, 9 to 12 Target Audience: Girls
39.
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The Brain Explorer—Puzzles, Riddles, Illusions, and other Mental Adventures
Using just pencil and paper, these “mental adventures” present easily implementable puzzles and exercises designed to expand memory, perception, and cognitive ability while providing instructors with resources to show kids how brains work.
Subjects: multiple science topics Grades: 4 to 5, grade 6
40.
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The Private Eye®: (5X) Looking/Thinking by Analogy
With little advanced prep/materials, program leaders using the program manual can offer kids a way to investigate the world using the Private Eye, a program based on visual investigations with an inexpensive jeweler’s loupe and their curiosity.

video available
Subjects: multiple science topics Grades: K to 5, 6 to 8, 9 to 12
41.
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Wonderwise: Women in Science Learning Series
These kits feature contemporary women scientists as positive role models.   Kits also contain short videos profiling the scientist and her work, hands on activities, printed material, and motivation for girls to pursue science.
Subjects: multiple science topics Grades: 5 to 8 Target Audience: Girls
42.
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ZOOMsci
ZoomSci’s website supports the PBS hands-on, youth-focused TV series, ZOOM by providing instructors everything necessary to lead the program’s science experiments for kids 8 to 11.  With this support, doing science activities is a breeze.
Subjects: multiple science topics Grades: 3 to 5, grade 6 Target Audience: Starter Programs
 

Photo of children reading.