Science Outreach Program

The Program

Through the Science Outreach Program, JMZ Educators provide hands-on STEM instruction (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) to at-risk schools in Ravenswood City School District.

Science Outreach students in K-5th grades participate in California standards-based lessons.  These engaging science lessons, which take place in the classroom, at the Junior Museum & Zoo, and outdoors at the Baylands Open Space Preserve, promote a lifelong appreciation for science and lay the foundation for success in middle- and high-school science and math.

The Need

Elementary schools in the Palo Alto Unified School District enjoy JMZ science lessons as an integral part of their academic curriculum, with some classrooms seeing the JMZ 12 times throughout the school year. These affluent Palo Alto schools have parents who help support valuable additions to their core of publicly-funded experiences.

This is not the case with schools in neighboring low-income communities – such as East Palo Alto and East Menlo Park – where schools cannot afford “the extras.” In many cases, these “extras” are field trips and vital science instruction. The Science Outreach Program addresses this disparity and provides high-quality science experiences.

For some schools served by the Science Outreach Program, this program provides the only science instruction that their students will receive.


In school year 2016-2017, JMZ Educators taught hands-on STEM education to more than 1,350 students at the following schools in Ravenswood:

Costano Elementary School (378 students, 56 lessons)
Green Oaks Academy (162 students, 24 lessons)
Los Robles Magnet Academy (351 students, 26 lessons)
Willow Oaks Elementary (459 students, 180 lessons)

A year-long formative evaluation was recently completed that assessed the impact of the Science Outreach Program on students and teachers.

The Science Outreach Program is fun!

Topics: Life Science, Biomes, Wood; lessons can include meeting the JMZ’s animals, learning the scientific method, building paper bridges to discover paper’s strength, and more.

First Grade:
Topics: Organisms, Air and Weather, Solids and Liquids; lessons include learning about animal survival skills, testing wind speed with an anemometer, building a terrarium, and more.

Second Grade:
Topics: Insects, Pebbles, Sand and Silt, Balance and Motion; lessons include observing insect specimens, creating a fossil cast, making a balance toy to discover the center of gravity, and more.

Third Grade:
Topics: Adaptations, Sun, Moon & Stars, Energy and Matter; lessons include drawing Baylands plants, birds and fish, using a telescope for daytime observations, going inside the STARLAB – a portable planetarium, and more.

Fourth Grade:
Topics: Environments and Animal Studies, Earth Science, Electricity; lessons include performing a squid dissection, identifying minerals, constructing an electric car, and more.

Fifth Grade:
Topics: Human Body, Water Planet, Mixtures and Solutions; lessons include using a microscope to study human cells, dissecting a cow’s eye, learning about water and pollution, conducting experiments to observe endo-and exo- thermic reactions, and more.

Thank you to the generous donors who help to support the Science Outreach Program:

Emmett R. Quady Foundation
Google, Inc.
Individual Donors
Palo Alto Community Fund
Palo Alto Weekly Holiday Fund
Santa Clara County

Help Support the Science Outreach Program

$160: One hour-long STEM lesson for one class

$250: A field trip for one 3rd-grade class to the Baylands Nature Preserve

$800: 5 STEM lessons for a 2nd-grade class

$1,600: 10 STEM lessons for a 4th-grade class

$2,500: One year of STEM lessons for all 5th-grade students at one school


Teachers and students love the Science Outreach Program!

I do remember one of the students felt inspired to become a zoologist when they grow up right after one of the programs was done. She wanted to take care of birds since she learned so much about them. – Teacher at Vargas Elementary School

I like the black widow spider and the snakes and the science part and bats. – Third-grade student at Willow Oaks Elementary School

When programs like the JMZ come, they bring access and support that we teachers can’t provide through the regular curriculum. They bring the science and animals to us; they bring experiences the children would normally not get, right to our classroom. – Teacher at Willow Oaks Elementary School

Science Outreach Program
Photo by Scott Nakajima