Explorit Science Center

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

Explorit's mission is achieved by providing onsite and traveling school based programs that engage students, parents and families 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: Sheila Allen
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 its success and accomplishments in developing and providing innovative and engaging science programs that primarily focus on Pre-K, K, and elementary school children. Our onsite programs and traveling school programs are well aligned with the Next Generations Standards (NGSS) and help elementary school teachers create exciting STEM experiences that supplement their lesson plans. Explorit's focus on "doing" science through observation, hands-on activities, thinking and questioning together lead to discovery and encourage creativity and problem solving. These goals are enhanced and achieved by highlighted and emphasizing the connections of science and nature to our everyday life experiences. Explorit reaches over 25,000 student annually in northern California.

A little history! 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.

Explorit has a particular style, developed and matured over 36 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.'
This year, Explorit's Big Day of Giving goal is to raise $20,000 to expand the reach of science programs to students in underserved schools throughout our current 17 county-wide school-audiences. Each $500 donation supports programs that can be provided up to three classes in a schools that otherwise would not have this opportunity. Reaching our $20,000 goal will provide programs to over 100 classes and well over 2,000 students. This critical need is clear with the current and future need for STEM careers and for developing critical thinking skills. Please be part of this exciting goal and invest in our kids' future! Help us continue to succeed in giving kids the inspiration and opportunities they need to succeed.

A note on our program history. 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. But our current funding base still leaves many schools without the opportunity to support STEM programs.

Our top needs:
  1. Funding: Program - Bring science to kids now!! We're seeking $20,000 for classroom program in underserved schools and provide STEM experiences to over 2,000 elementary school students. Each $500 will support programs for Explorit programs in three classes with our signature hands-on topics including "Simple Machines", "Amazing Animals", "Ecosystems and Biomes", "Earths Features". Each $1,000 raised will support an entire evening of "Family Science Nights" and one of our two topics "Science in Your World" and "Green World Healthy People".
  2. Board Members - Explorit is seeking new Board members from a diversity of backgrounds and locations. We're particularly interested in new Board members from our wide service areas. Please note that our Board has consistently been comprised on both scientist and highly motivated members from all careers and backgrounds- because science and science education is about all of us!
  3. In-Kind Donations - Contractor for building upgrade.
  4. Volunteers - Those interested in program development and grant writing!! We have active volunteer committees that are always seeking new and creative input!
  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