Science Action Club
Science Action Club (SAC) is a high-impact STEM program for middle school youth in out-of-school time designed by the California Academy of Sciences. Through hands-on games and projects, youth in SAC investigate their local environment and use citizen science to document discoveries, share data, and design strategies to protect our planet.
Science Action Club features three science and nature units (Bugs, Birds and Clouds) that spark curiosity and wonder, build scientific skills, and help youth develop STEM identities. Each unit includes:
- One guidebook with detailed plans for 12 nature investigations and citizen science experiences.
- One teaching kit with high quality science tools and supplies for 20 youth.
- One interactive online training.
- One half-day face-to-face workshop.
- Digital access to the SAC Educator Portal.
- Ongoing support from a SAC trainer.
By completing the Science Action Club training, activity leaders will:
• Develop skills to lead all 12 of the activities/lessons for the given unit
• Gain exclusive access to activity plans, teaching kits, and digital resources
• Become citizen scientists and contribute to global environmental research
• Contribute to a thoughtful community of practice with engaged and committed colleagues
In this unit, youth search for bugs, collect specimens, and post discoveries to iNaturalist, a citizen science project and online social network for scientists and nature enthusiasts. Through iNaturalist, youth connect with biodiversity scientists and other SAC youth nationwide to identify species and investigate environmental issues.
This unit explores feathers, flight, and the features that make birds unique. Using tools and technology, youth identify local birds and investigate environmental changes that impact bird behavior. The bird counts they submit to eBird – a citizen science project from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology – help scientists better understand these important species.
Cloud Quest explores the impact of clouds on weather and climate. Using the GLOBE Observer citizen science platform, youth identify sky conditions and report their discoveries to NASA. Researchers map these observations against satellite image data to study how clouds influence the flow of energy through Earth’s atmosphere.
To participate in Science Action Club, afterschool programs must:
• Ensure 1 or more staff complete all online and in-person trainings
• Recruit 15-20 youth in grades 5-8 and maintain high attendance
• Designate appropriate indoor and outdoor space for science activities and nature investigations
• Provide reliable Internet access and at least one mobile device (projectors and speakers are strongly recommended)
• Track attendance and submit feedback to the California Academy of Sciences