…Because All Kids Are Scientists!

AKA Science is a fun, interactive after school science program for students in kindergarten through 6th grade.  Kids participate in hands-on activities and experiments that nurture their curiosity and help them explore the world around them.  AKA Science uses structured yet playful activities to get kids excited about learning.  Students are asked to think about how things work—and they discover that science is fun!

What is AKA Science?

AKA Science 1 girl playdough - webAKA Science is a fun, interactive after school science program for students in kindergarten through 6th grade.  Kids participate in hands-on activities and experiments that nurture their curiosity and help them explore the world around them.  AKA Science uses structured yet playful activities to get kids excited about learning.  Students are asked to think about how things work—and they discover that science is fun!

AKA Science classes meet for approximately one hour per week, and are offered each school term (fall, winter and spring).  Summer classes are also available at some sites.   Each class is limited to 10-15 students to promote individual attention and student teamwork.

The AKA Science package includes field-tested curriculum, hands-on training and a kit containing the supplies to bring the lesson plans to life.  This model has made the program successful in a wide variety of school and organizational settings.  Class Leaders include school teachers, after school instructors, parents and community volunteers.

The AKA Science curriculum rotates through 3 years’ worth of topics, from physics and earth science to chemistry and biology.  Lesson plans are provided for students at the K-1st, 2nd-3rd and 4th-6th grade levels.  This means a student who begins taking AKA Science classes in kindergarten can keep attending without repeating a lesson.

The AKA Science program has been in continuous operation since 1996.  It was launched by the Oregon Health Career Center (OHCC), and has continued to grow and expand.  When OHCC closed its doors in 2011, the program found a new home with Impact NW.  AKA Science supports Impact NW’s efforts to “level the playing field” by making high-quality enrichment opportunities accessible to all students.

Through AKA Science, kids encounter the world of science in a dynamic, inviting way.  AKA Science encourages positive attitudes toward both science and school as it helps students gain confidence in their academic abilities.  Hands-on activities and engaging experiments make students eager for future learning experiences.

Who participates in AKA Science?

AKA Science purple balloon - webStudents in kindergarten through 6th grade take part in fun, interactive AKA Science classes after school.

Adult Class Leaders receive training and supplies to engage students using the highly regarded AKA Science curriculum.

Schools and non-profit organizations that want to offer AKA Science at their site identify a Class Leader and register students to participate.

Kim Menig, AKA Science Program Supervisor, manages the program and provides support to site coordinators and Class Leaders.

When are AKA Science classes offered?

AKA Science classes take place after school, for approximately one hour per week.

Class sessions are offered each school term (fall, winter and spring).  Exact dates and times are determined by each site.

Where are AKA Science classes offered?

AKA Science classes are held at schools and organizations—many in the Portland Metro area, but also beyond!  If you know a site that doesn’t currently offer AKA Science, please contact us to find out how to get a program started.

The AKA Science program office is located at: 10055 E. Burnside St. in Portland, Oregon.

The mailing address is: PO Box 33530, Portland, OR, 97292.

Why is AKA Science Effective?

AKA-Science-photo-for-Impact-NW-website-4We remember best what we discover for ourselves.  With AKA Science, kids get to explore science firsthand by making tools and experimenting with scientific concepts.  Students bring home projects to share what they’ve learned with family and friends.  They leave class confident and eager to return.  Through AKA Science, the fun and fascination of science dispel the myth that science is difficult or boring.  Hands-on activities, lots of individual attention, and projects to take home all add up to a great time—and set the stage for kids to develop an ongoing love of learning.

AKA Science activities reinforce state and national science content standards and benchmarks.  The program helps students understand and apply scientific concepts and processes through lessons in observation, measurement, classification, scientific inquiry, hypothesis development and more.  AKA Science’s hands-on activities are grounded in current research on hand/mind learning styles and cognitive development.  Curriculum materials are selected and screened for play value and safety, as well as educational content.

AKA Science is a tested and proven program.  OHCC conducted a study of AKA Science in 2007.  The study measured students’ academic performance and attitudes toward school and science before and after an 8-week session of AKA Science.  The results showed that 75% of AKA Science participants either met grade level standards or moved to a higher performance category on state or district assessments.  Additionally, 75% of students improved school attendance and 50% experienced decreased behavioral referrals during the school year.  As measured by pre- and post-surveys, 75% of program participants demonstrated a positive or improved attitude about both school and science after completing a term of AKA Science.

How is AKA Science funded?

AKA Science is supported by user fees and donations.  There is a fee per class to cover the cost of curriculum, supplies and Class Leader training.  Please check with the AKA Science Program Supervisor, Kim Menig, about the class fee for the current term.

For students in grades 4-6 at SUN (Schools Uniting Neighborhoods) Community Schools within Portland city limits, AKA Science classes are free.  In Fall 2004, AKA Science received a generous grant from the Portland Children’s Investment Fund (now the Portland Children’s Levy) to make this opportunity possible.  This grant is still in effect.  In addition, classes for students in grades K-3 at all SUN sites (and classes for students in grades 4-6 at SUN sites outside Portland city limits) are offered at a discounted rate.

Impact NW is dedicated to ensuring that AKA Science reaches as many students as possible.  A limited number of scholarships are available each term on a first-come, first-served basis.  We ask that each site support the program by providing classroom space and release time for the Class Leader to attend training, as well as assistance with registration and record-keeping.

AKA Science has received funding from the following sources: the Anne Berni Foundation, Autzen Foundation, Bonneville Power Administration, Charlotte Martin Foundation, Fred Meyer, Helping Hand of Oregon, Holzman Foundation, Hoover Family Foundation, North Portland Community Enhancement Committee, Northern Wasco County PUD, Northwest Natural, Portland Children’s Levy, Science and Mathematics Consortium for Northwest Schools—Columbia Education Center, and the W. Glen Boyd Foundation, among others.

Become an AKA Science Class Leader

You don’t have to be a science whiz to teach AKA Science!  (Though science lovers are definitely welcome.)  School teachers, after school instructors and community volunteers have all led AKA Science classes.  The training you receive from AKA Science will enable you to provide students with a great learning experience.

Click here for the Class Leader position description and information on how to apply…

Before you lead your first AKA Science class, you’ll attend an orientation to become familiar with our supportive, inquiry-based teaching methods.  This training is specifically for new Class Leaders, and only needs to be attended once.

Each term, you’ll attend a Materials Training at which you’ll receive a clear and detailed lesson plan for each class and a kit that includes the materials for each session.  There is no scrambling to get supplies together!  Except for scissors and water (which are provided by the site), everything you need is packed into your kit.

At the Materials Training, together with other Class Leaders, you’ll also work through the lesson plans for the current term.  Before you’re ever in front of your class, you’ll have seen or done each activity in the curriculum and swapped ideas and tips with other Class Leaders.

Once classes are underway, your site coordinator and the AKA Science Program Supervisor will be available to answer questions and offer assistance as needed.

Bring AKA Science to Your School or Organization

Operating AKA Science at your school or organization is easy!  If you’d like to learn more about offering AKA Science at your site, please contact the AKA Science Program Supervisor, Kim Menig.

Kim will be happy to talk with you about getting a program running, including designating a site coordinator, identifying a Class Leader, and recruiting and registering students:

Kim Menig
Impact NW
AKA Science Program Supervisor
E-Mail: kmenig@impactnw.org
Phone: (503) 709-1286