Explorit Science Center

'To ignite and foster curiosity about science and nature through inquiry and discovery.'

Since the beginning of its inception, Explorit has focused on engaging people of all ages in STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics) learning through hands-on, minds-on activities.

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Address: P.O. Box 1288
Davis, CA 95617
County or Parish: Yolo County
Primary NTEE: Education 
Sub NTEE: Primary & Elementary Schools 
Executive Director: Lars Anderson
Contact Email: LarsA@explorit.org
Primary Phone: 530-756-0191
Website: http://www.explorit.org
Explorit is in its 36th year and is proud to continue long-term success in developing and providing innovative and engaging science programs that primarily focus on Pre-K, K, and elementary school children. Through both our on-site Discovery Lessons, Inquiry Labs, and Nature Safaris and our topical traveling programs delivered at schools, we reach over 25,000 student annually in northern California. Our programs encompass and are aligned with the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) while maintaining Explorit's philosophical and pedagogical focus on "doing" science through observation, questioning that leads to discovery and problem solving. These goals are enhanced and achieved by helping to reveal the connections of science and nature to our everyday life experiences.

Founded in 1982 by local citizens, this home grown experiment was conceived as a cutting edge model of public exposure to science. It was a different breed of science center at a time when other types of science centers were focused primarily on the observation of scientific phenomena through formal demonstrations or traditional museum 'hands-off' installations. At Explorit, we focus on personal involvement in the process of science and nature. Our vision is embodied in the use, by both children and adults, of every day materials to discover the mostly unnoticed, unappreciated science processes that make our everyday world work. Thousands of people each year experience Explorit's unique, hands-on exhibitions, programs, lectures, workshops, safaris and so much more. Our goal is to continue to engage people of all ages in hands-on activities that provoke questions and lead to experimentation with familiar tools and materials that we find in our everyday lives.

Explorit has a particular style, developed and matured over 35 years in response to the expressed and demonstrated needs and interests of Explorit's audience as well as to the capabilities of the staff and facility in which Explorit operates. Over the last five years, K-12 programs have aligned specifically with and highlighted the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), which in large, part reflect the style and approach Explorit has fostered since 1982. Our program content encompass the following goals:
'Let's use open-ended hands-on experiences.'
'Let's re-integrate the sciences into the arts, humanities and everyday living to reflect on the real world.'
'Let's reach out to other communities.'
'Let's include families.'
'Let's do science for all ages.'
'Let's share our enthusiasm that science IS fun!'
'Let's use familiar and available materials.'

Through our variety of programs and services we strive to nurture understanding of the science in our lives, stimulate curiosity in people of all ages, instill confidence in people that they can do and understand science, increase public access to science resources, experts and information, enrich peoples lives through the joy of learning, empower individuals to make informed decisions and encourage stewardship of the earth's natural resources.
General Program Funding - Three decades of successful experience has shown that the most effective, feasible and practical way to provide quality, inspirational, science experiences to under-served students and families is through our traveling programs, which reach 20,000 elementary kids and their families at schools in 17 counties. These programs include popular day-time, "Classroom Adventures" in-class science topics as well as our unique "Family Science Nights" that fill multipurpose rooms with exciting hands on activities on science ("Science in Your World" and "Green World Healthy People") and our newly developed environmentally oriented "Green World Healthy People" evening program.

Its time to replace an old (18 year old!) cargo van with a new one to sustain the positive impacts of those programs, and to continue providing young children and families with critically important STEM-related experiences. Our goal is to raise $25,000, which will provide one replacement vehicle critically needed to maintain hands-on science programs at schools in northern California. Explorit is very proud of our ability and capacity to "go where the kids and teachers need us"! We'd be happy to work with a major car/truck dealer to accomplish this goal as well.

Help us continue to succeed in giving kids the inspiration and opportunities they need to succeed in their educational careers and develop much needed critical thinking skills!
Our top needs:
  1. Funding: Program - $25,000 for replacement van for traveling science programs.
  2. Funding: Program - $20,000 in sponsorship and support to match fee-based programs to provide our programs to under-served elementary students in northern California.
  3. In-Kind Donations - Contractor for building upgrade.
  4. Board Members - Representing Sacramento, Woodland, and West Sacramento areas.
  5. Volunteers - Weekend during our public hours: Exhibits.
"I first became involved with Explorit in 1983 and have been an active Board member serving three different terms as Board President. I was a research plant biologist with USDA on the UC Davis campus and was very impressed with the concept and mission of the burgeoning science center in the mid 1980's. The style and approach to hands-on, inquiry based science experiences has now grown in acceptance and use throughout most informal science centers and has also been incorporated in most recent NGSS and Common Core approaches: Learning and problem solving by doing!

By offering both on-site and traveling programs to elementary school, Explorit has been able to reach many thousands of children and adults who would not have had the opportunity to travel or take time from school. In a typical year, Explorit reaches over 25,000 children and adults which includes 15,000 to 20,000 at schools in a 17 county-wide area. As a scientist, I can see first hand the benefits of this informal yet encouraging style that exposes children to ideas, breaks down perceived barriers to science understanding, and provides a rich and supportive context for understanding science in their everyday lives. Ultimately, we are sparking interest and no doubt leading children to consider STEM careers as well as being informed, thinking citizens. Explorit continues to lead in hands-on, interactive science learning this northern California region as we continue we collaboratively develop programs with the City of Woodland in their planned 160 acre science and nature park.

Dr. Lars Anderson
Explorit Board, Immediate Past President