The National Center for Quality Afterschool

Science After School (SAS) Consumers Guide  

Exploratorium Afterschool Activities

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  • Cost Category: $1-$40
  • Price Details: The guide is free, and each activity costs $40 or less for necessary materials.
    The costs shown were accurate at the time of the review. Please check the publisher's web site for current prices.
  • Duration: variable based on how instructors use activities
  • Format: Web-based
  • Grades: grades 3 to 5, grades 6 to 8
  • Target Audiences: Starter Programs
  • Suitable for Multiple Uses?: once, reusable with parts or supplies
  • Subject(s): life science, physical science
  • Part of Series?: No
  • URL:

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.

San Francisco's Exploratorium museum has accumulated much recognition since its creation in 1969. Its niche is to bolster science by offering "science, art and human perception." It has earned notoriety for early, creative use of the Web to disseminate science programs and has an extensive Digital Library that visitors can access to learn about the institutional vision. These brief, downloadable training videos (and PDF text) provide explanations of how to guide your students in building the simple machines are both useful and engaging. Each video includes a what-it-is demonstration, a step-by-step construction session, and a clip with a brief explanation of the science. Though not gems of Hollywood production values, each video provides appropriate close-ups at crucial steps, lots of good tips from the unpretentiously reassuring Exploratorium teachers who are featured offering effective instructions and examples that will doubtlessly help instructors share these experiments with children in grades 3-5 or middle school. Some of these projects are complex and several are quite simple. But all are well designed, look like fun, and they all do something when completed. Don't forget that if you already have a good grounding in inquiry-based afterschool science, these activities can serve as an appetizer for the materials offered in the Exploratorium Digital Library, which includes hundreds of more complex and larger activities.

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