Science Action Club
Science Action Club (SAC) is a nationwide STEM program for middle school youth in out-of-school time.
Developed by the California Academy of Sciences, SAC uses games, projects, and hands-on activities to help youth investigate nature, document their discoveries, connect with scientists, and design strategies to protect our planet. Science Action Club leaders receive in-depth training on SAC kits, activity guidebooks, and best practices for teaching STEM.
SAC currently offers three programs:
- Bug Safari
- Cloud Quest
Read about Montana's Science Action Clubs in Connected Science Learning (January 2018)
Science Action Club in Montana
Academic Technology and Outreach launched Science Action Club in Montana via the National Girls Collaborative Project. The program opened with a Bug Safari activity leader workshop at MSU in October 2016. The program has since reached 28 Montana sites, with a particular emphasis on reaching Montana's smallest communities. Forty-three (43) educators--including a mix of classroom teachers and afterschool professionals from organizations such as YMCA, 4-H, libraries, and Boys and Girls Clubs--have received training and ongoing support to implement SAC in their communities.
Montana Science Action Club sites are in:
- Lame Deer
- Lodge Grass
- Seeley Lake
- St. Regis
- White Sulphur Springs
- Willow Creek
Mandy Bell, the afterschool site coordinator and a 4-H leader for the afterschool club, hosted both Bug Safari and Bird Scouts.
Bell said students enjoyed using the data collection equipment provided in the SAC kits (pooters to collect bugs, loupes for viewing, and binoculars for spotting birds) as well as playing the games that connected hands-on lessons to bigger-picture issues such as wildlife conservation. The Libby Science Action Club finished with a fun finale of tasting crickets and grasshoppers after youth watched the Edible Insects video that is part of the curriculum's final chapter: Food for Thought.
Science Action Club was hosted by Links for Learning, an afterschool and summer enrichment program supported by the 21st Century Community Learning Centers grant. Educator Margy Dorr said she was drawn to Science Action Club because it offered STEM enrichment via hands-on activities while connecting youth with their beautiful surrounding environment and animals. Dorr said her students enjoyed the citizen science aspects of SAC, including launching each club session with a bird observation walk.
"I would always start each club by asking them to put on their citizen scientist hat, and from the get-go, they were in the mind frame of speaking and thinking and listening like a scientist would."