Since 1999, fifteen school districts and six private schools in Orange County embarked upon a challenge offered them by the Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation - to bring quality, hands-on, inquiry-based science education to the elementary teachers and children throughout the County. The districts were challenged to provide matching fund for the professional development of their teachers, as well as to provide quality, research-based science materials for their students. Since that time, more than 31,000 teachers have received professional development in hands-on, inquiry-based science and over one million students have had the opportunity to learn from these highly trained teachers.
Unlike the textbook method of teaching science, hands-on science instruction enables the students and their teachers to better learn science by "doing" science. This method of instruction has proven extraordinarily successful, not only in sustaining children's interest in science, but in improving student's critical thinking skills, communication skills, math skills and language arts skills. And, of course, it also improves their science skills. So much so, that students participating in this program have significantly outperformed those students that did not participate in the program at both the county and state level on the California Standardized Tests since the testing began in 2004.
To sustain excellence in science education in Orange County, educators and science advocates united to form the Kids at Science Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to working with schools, districts and the community to collaboratively promote, support and enhance hands-on, inquiry-based science education for children. Your help is desperately needed to accomplish this mission.