Educator and two students


Afterschool sessions, along with summer and weekend enrichment programs at schools, museums, and science centers, are key ways for activating young people toward science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) by engaging them in learning, doing, and using the language of science. The Hall’s out-of-school programs and materials offer students a chance to explore ideas and concepts at their own pace and in a more flexible setting that highlights collaboration and creativity, while also providing opportunities to DO science and engineering.

The Hall has more than 50 years of classroom and science center experience in developing NGSS-relevant curriculum and professional development services for science educators, including those offering programs outside of school.

Instructional Materials for Out-of-School Programs

The Lawrence Hall of Science has developed a range of instructional materials to support high-quality science learning opportunities in out-of-school settings. Below, you will find descriptions of many of these programs and learn more about how they can support you to implement NGSS.

Students inspect some water samples.

BEETLES student activities (available for download) are designed to provide students with “3-dimensional” science learning experiences in the outdoors. These outdoor learning experiences provide exceptional opportunities that in many cases are more effective than similar classroom experiences in engaging students in NGSS Science and Engineering Practices. Interacting directly with nature provides students with rich opportunities to ask questions, design and carry out investigations, construct explanations, and argue from evidence. The supporting materials help instructors to sequence activities to build an understanding of a variety of Disciplinary Core Ideas and Crosscutting Concepts, as well.

Student looks through magnifying glass at a leaf.

Our thoughtful, field-tested student activities engage students in the practices of science in order to help them understand big ideas about the natural world. The activities inspire students‘ wonder and curiosity, support their natural tendencies for exploration, and guide them to make explanations based on evidence. Each activity includes science background information, common misconceptions, easy-to-follow procedures, and suggested questions and discussion starters. Additional materials like model hikes and how-to videos support instructors with best practices in teaching and learning, regardless of what they are teaching.

View and download all BEETLES resources and tools at

For More Info Please Contact:

Jedda Foreman

Professional Learning for Out-of-School Time Educators

Lawrence Hall of Science professional learning specialists design experiences and workshops that support out-of-school educators as they learn to incorporate NGSS in ways that enhance out-of-school learning opportunities. We offer customized professional learning through on-site modeling, workshops at the Hall or at your site, facilitation of professional learning communities (PLCs), and intensive institutes.

Young educator leads a pack of professionals.

The BEETLES Professional Learning System is designed for leaders of outdoor science programs who seek additional support in conducting their own staff development programs. Leaders can use BEETLES professional learning sessions (2 to 3 hours long each) to help their instructors to better understand NGSS Practices and give them tools to engage students in those practices. Throughout the sessions, student activity exemplars are used to provide staff with practical hands-on experiences that model high-quality teaching and learning to support NGSS. Many of the sessions provide explicit information that help instructors to relate their classes’ outdoor learning experiences to NGSS.

Young educator inspects a leaf.

The professional learning resources (available for download) include carefully designed and tested professional learning sessions that inspire pedagogical growth in field instructors through active experiences. Each 2-to-3-hour session includes adult learning activities to help participants experience and understand complex pedagogical concepts, as well as student activities that model effective teaching. Our professional learning resources also include coaching tools to encourage reflective teaching among instructors, as well as how-to videos that show the professional learning sessions in use.

View and download all BEETLES resources and tools at

BEETLES also works with environmental education programs, school districts, and schools to develop custom professional learning opportunities that help support NGSS implementation.

For More Info Please Contact:

Jedda Foreman

Informal science educators working together

Reflecting on Practice (RoP) is a professional learning program for informal science educators, developed at the Hall. It is designed to focus on helping informal educators to improve their practice by learning about effective teaching pedagogy based on how people learn, and by providing them with opportunities to apply their understanding to their practice. One of the four curriculum modules is focused on engaging educators in discussions and experiences about the nature and practices of science, which is a focal point in NGSS. In this way, RoP will help informal educators, as well as the teachers with whom they work, to be ready to implement the vision of NGSS and address the gap between STEM learning in U.S. public schools and the expectations embodied in the Framework and NGSS. With support from the National Science Foundation, the “Reflecting on Practice” program offers training workshops around the United States. Contact us for more information.

For More Info Please Contact:

Lynn Tran

Programs for Youth

The Lawrence Hall of Science has deep expertise to design and support afterschool programs, at your site or ours, that engage youth in NGSS-aligned science learning. This includes planning and carrying out investigations, analyzing and interpreting data, constructing explanations, and designing solutions.

Educator teaching a Flames workshop

If you teach in Northern California, our wide variety of workshops and science shows can be taken to your own afterschool site; or you can visit us here at the Hall. All the programs connect to science and engineering practices, to crosscutting concepts, or to disciplinary core ideas that are incorporated into NGSS performance expectations for students. These interactive, hands-on science and math programs are fun, stimulating, and educational.

For More Info Please Contact:

Reyna Hamilton

The Research Group at the Lawrence Hall of Science delivers a full spectrum of services to provide evidence and insights that foster high-quality, equitable, and innovative Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) learning opportunities within and across all types of learning environments. We provide independent research services, and if you wish we partner with your staff to support your NGSS development, implementation, assessment, evaluation, and research efforts. We have gained significant expertise and experience in designing and implementing studies and measures of STEM learning in various out-of-school settings. We are also engaged in multiple studies of efforts to use out-of-school "maker" spaces and environmental educational programs to support NGSS goals. For more information, contact Ardice Hartry, Interim Director, the Research Group.

For More Info Please Contact:

Ardice Hartry