• An educator points to a worksheet while standing in front of a web camera.
    Academy educators are ready to connect with your students virtually.
  • Two educators draw a leaf during a distance learning program.
  • kids in the plants lab
    Your class will get an interactive science experience led by Academy educators.
  • tabling at family night

Our goal is to connect and support all K-5 schools in San Francisco in a way that students feel that science and nature are for them, and can see how science and nature are relevant to their lives and communities.

Free science programming for San Francisco classrooms

The Rock Fund Program in-person field trip program is back and open to all Kinder - 5th grade classes from San Francisco schools, whether public, private, or parochial!

Applications are now open for the 2022-2023 school year! Please read the below program descriptions and when you're ready, fill out your form by clicking the green button below.

We especially encourage SPED/inclusion classes, newcomer classes, and classes taught in a language other than English to join us. Let us know your needs, and we will do our best to customize our programs for your students.

Remember, you may also apply for any grade-appropriate webinars from our Distance Learning website!

If you have any questions, email us at therockprogram@calacademy.org.

Kindergarten Options

Homes for Fish: Exploring the Coral Reef - What makes the California Academy’s coral reef a good home for fish? Students will explore through close-up observations of aquarium animals, creative play, rhyme and song.

Offered Nov.-Feb., Monday-Thursday at 10:15am

Nature's Collections - What is a scientific collection and how are the items within it selected? Students begin in the outdoor classroom with a visit from an animal character that likes to collect things. Then, students take on the roles of explorers and curators that find and arrange their own nature collection. Finally, students closely examine a collection made by a scientist. Please note that this program is held outdoors.

Offered Monday-Thursday, 10:15am and 11:30am

First Grade Options

Sharks - What makes sharks so fin-credible?! In this program, students solve puzzles, look at specimens, and learn to move like sharks- to understand the uniqueness and secrets of shark body parts.

Offered Mondays and Tuesdays at 10:15am and 11:30am

Sun, Moon and Stars (planetarium show) - Explore the difference between day and night, the motion of the Sun and moon, and the patterns of stars in the night sky!

Offered most Thursdays at 10:30am

Second Grade Options

Rainforests - Rainforests are home to a multitude of animals, plants, and -- shhh, it's a secret -- chocolate! In this program, students look closely at various specimens and tell each other stories with fun props as they explore how rainforest animals help cacao grow.

Offered Nov.-Feb., Monday-Thursday at 10:15am and 11:30am

Get Outside! - How do bugs in Golden Gate Park choose their homes? With hands-on, outdoor exploration using real scientist tools, students will become Habitat Scientists and collect information to better understand the diversity within small habitats of Golden Gate park. Please note that this program is held outdoors.

Offered Sept., Oct., and Mar. to May, Monday-Thursday at 10:15am and 11:30am

Third Grade Options

Redwoods - In this outdoor field trip, students will examine various coastal redwoods’ adaptations, gathering evidence to understand what allows them to get so big and live for so long.

Offered Mondays and Tuesdays at 10:15am and 11:30am

Coral - In this field trip, students will use scientific skills to explore real coral specimens. They will also role play with engaging costumes and a skit, as they gather evidence to understand whether coral polyps are plants or animals.

Offered Wednesdays and Thursdays at 10:15am and 11:30am

Fourth Grade Options

Engineering - In this field trip students take on the role of engineers who are working with community members from India Basin to design a shoreline that is safe for people and wildlife. Students use table-top wave tanks to investigate ways in which water moves in the bay, and then test out their designs to see how well they stand up to flooding.

Offered Mondays and Tuesdays at 10:15am and 11:30am

Scientific Sketching - In this outdoor program, students will explore and get to know a specimen through creating a scientific sketch. Scientific sketching is not about making a pretty picture. It’s a tool for looking at something so closely you notice something new.

Offered Wednesdays and Thursdays at 10:15am and 11:30am

Fifth Grade Options

Community Science- Join us outside, as we explore a secret trail near the Academy. We call it Quail Hollow! As community scientists, we will make observations, document what we see, identify plants and animals, and contribute to real science data. We will help a very special bird we hope you’ll love just as much as we do, by sharing our findings with a community of fellow scientists.

Offered Sept., Oct., Mar. to May, Wednesdays and Thursdays at 10:15am and 11:30am

California Skulls - In this field trip program, students take an exciting adventure as ecologists, to explore the Golden State’s diverse climate regions and biodiversity. Students will examine skulls to find clues about the animals that live in their climate regions and how they are interconnected

Offered Nov. to Feb., Wednesdays and Thursdays at 10:15am and 11:30am

Motions of the Solar System (planetarium show) - Become a space scientist as you observe the changing patterns of the sky and see how they compare to the other planets of our Solar System.

Offered most Tuesdays at 10:30am

What about transportation scholarships?
A yellow school bus.

As part of the Rock Fund Program, we have the ability to pay for buses on behalf of San Francisco Unified School District sites for which transportation is a significant barrier to attending an Academy field trip.

Because of the high cost per bus, and the unknown volume of school buses available in San Francisco on any given day, we ask that teachers from schools near Golden Gate Park save our limited scholarship fund for sites that exist at a distance from the museum.

We encourage nearby schools to consider walking to the park or taking MUNI, which is now free for youth without any tokens or cards! We are happy to mail MUNI tokens to your school site for teachers and adult chaperones.

We Thank our Sponsors

The Enhanced Museum Visits for Students Program is generously supported by the Arthur and Toni Rembe Rock Fund.