Teaching science to our After school program students is not only a way for us to support Oakland Unified's District Goals but also allows for students to engage in fun activities that gives them a chance to ask questions, explore curiosity, make career connections, work cooperatively and reflect and change ideas. Students are encouraged to collect data, make a hypothesis, test their hypothesis, make conclusions and repeat steps for improved understanding. Students are learning that science is all around us and not just in a laboratory. Students have explored science by learning about and being structural, environmental and product engineers.
The science lessons are divided into three main sections: first, the introduction, which includes asking open-ended questions, introducing a specific career, and implementing vocabulary; second, the hands-on component where students get to ask questions, grow, go through trial and error, and make real world connections; and finally, the reflection and debrief, where students get to showcase their work, give feedback, reflect on the process and the content.
Below are some of our most recent Science activities, led by staff members who have attended Science Workshops offered by the Oakland Success Office.
Our Afterschool Science Club participated in our most recent experiment: Gumdrop Dome, the students learned about compression (pushing down) and tension (pulling) in domes. We began with a conversation about shapes. We discussed the difference between squares and cubes, triangles and triangular prisms, etc. The students were to work in pairs and build the most resistant dome that will support books. Students drew the shapes on the paper mats we used as work spaces. Then, using gumdrops and toothpicks, we built various 2-d shapes. We tested the strength of various shapes and finally they were challenged to build their own structures, using what they had learned about physics. After a discussion about faces and vertices, tension and friction, and base and height, we began building 3-d shapes.The findings were that the dome that was created to lay flat instead of resembling buildings was the one that supported the most books. And lastly, everyone ate the gum drops!
Objective: Students will design and build the strongest bridge using only straws, tape and paper clips. Key scientific terms: force, compression, and tension. Learning targets: collaborate with others to build the strongest bridge; work with available materials to complete a challenge; and be able to explain how engineers design structures using limited resources. Materials (per group): 25 straws, (or in this case insulation pipeing) 5 inches of tape, 15 paper clips, small weights. The process includes: brainstorming and design; building; testing; reflection and discussion and redesign (if time permits).
Learning About Vibration: The Ear Guitar
This science experiment is called "Ear Guitar". The goal is to give students a very basic understanding of how sound travels. We began with an open discussion about how the students thought sound traveled. We discussed the different types of materials that sound can and can't travel through, such as air and water. I then suggested that the students put their hands on their throat and said their names. I asked them what they felt and eventually a student said a key word I was looking for, vibration. We continued our discussion about how sound travels. After that, they selected a partner and decided between them who would get the materials. They then worked together to build "ear guitars". They are built using two cups, 15 feet of string, a paper clip, and soap. The students tie the string through a hole in the bottom of a plastic cup, using soap to make the string pointy enough to pass through. They tie it to the paper clip so that the string doesn't go through the hole. Then, they tried them out, talking into the cup and plucking the string. They were challenged to figure out how to make it work on their own, testing whether it worked better when the string was tight or loose. The students had the opportunity to play with the cups for about ten minutes and then we had a reflection discussion. The students shared out what they thought the function of each material was and what materials they thought would work better for the experiement. They also explained, in their own words, how sound travels. The students gained an understanding of how sound travels and were able to build and do something hands-on.
How Our Work is a
Part of the
Afterschool Programs support OUSD's vision of a Full Service Community District.
Afterschool programs operate daily and include academic support, enrichment (e.g. arts, Science, Technology, Engineering & Math (STEM), or gardening), physical activity, college readiness and career exploration, and youth leadership opportunities.
In general, evaluation results find that participants demonstrate improvements in these key areas:
Afterschool programs are intended to complement the regular school day learning and support school goals around student achievement, health and wellness, family engagement, and positive school climate.
Learn more about the value of our work as one of Oakland's leading Afterschool program Agencies at: