Idea Labs

We are delighted to introduce you to our completely redesigned offerings for schools. If you are looking for one of our brand new focused math or science workshops led by Museum staff, you’ll find what you need to plan your event on this page.

Two Options for Idea Labs

Idea Labs are STEM workshops aligned to Common Core and Next Generation Science Standards for Preschool through 3rd grade. Idea Labs can be held in your classroom or combined with a field trip to the Museum. Facilitated by our dynamic team of Museum educators, Idea Labs provide a playful, hands-on exploration of science and math content for one classroom at a time. Students, teacher and parents all have a role to play in these active, exploratory workshops. Multi-sensory activities will encourage risk-taking, collaborative problem-solving and creative thinking.

Idea Labs @ Bay Area Discovery Museum

  • Include admission to Museum exhibits and time to explore our 7.5 acre site
  • Include free admission for 1 adult for every 5 students. More adults are welcome!
  • Each student will receive a coupon for discounted admission to a future Museum visit 

Idea Labs @ Your School

  • Each student will receive a coupon for discounted admission to a future Museum visit
  • Three parent volunteers required for each session
  • A two session minimum is required to book this event

Science and Math Topics

Ten In My Toolbox

Topic: Math
Grade: K-1st
Offered: October, November, January

Adding games, ten frames and images for our “math brains.” Young mathematicians will engage with a number of visual and kinesthetic games and activities aimed at strengthening their understanding of the composition and decomposition of the wonderful number ten!

Facilitators will help students to express their thinking processes and represent their growing knowledge via language, drawing, and use of models. 

Stretch It, Shape It, Grow It

Topic: Life/brain Science
Grade: K-3rd
Offered: October, November, January, February

How is a rubber band like your brain? Students will find out as they investigate how their unique brains control everything they do. Young neuroscientists will utilize movement activities and games to explore how their brains are growing and changing, and learn that practice, taking risks and making mistakes are essential for brain growth.  

Facilitators will help students to investigate models of the brain, identify essential parts and learn how they are neurosculptors who shape and grow their brains every day.

Push, Pull, Crash!

Topic: Physical Science
Grade: TK-1st
Offered: October, November, April, May

Balls, marbles and cars . . . oh my! Young scientists experiment with push and pull of different magnitudes to cause and avoid collisions, create art, and engage in playful exploration of their own powers of force. A hands-on exploration will engage the senses and the imagination!

Facilitators will help students to question, problem solve, and communicate ideas in the midst of playful scientific experimentation.

Fairy Tale Engineering

Topic: Physical Science
Grade: TK-2nd
Offered: January, February, March

Young scientists engage directly with the design thinking process as they work collaboratively to solve problems for beloved fairy tale characters. Students will identify characters’ needs that they believe can be solved via engineering design and bring their ideas to life as they collaborate to construct and test prototypes. 

Facilitators will help students form questions, develop problem solving skills, and communicate new discoveries while engaging in fun-filled scientific inquiry. 

Nature Studio

Topic: Life Science
Grade: Preschool-TK
Offered: January, February, March, April, May

Notice, wonder and investigate nature’s beauty in this developmentally appropriate exploration of natural materials. Use real tools to dissect a local plant. Conduct close observations of seeds, leaves and shells. Record and represent your discoveries through drawing, collage and more! Young naturalists will discover the rich variety of interesting patterns, textures and shapes found in nature. Our hands-on, early science and math activities offer opportunities to compare, sort and classify, and identify and extend patterns. Museum facilitators will guide adults to help children make observations, express their thinking and work together. Aligned to California Preschool Learning Foundations, this Idea Lab is especially for preschool classrooms serving children ages 2.9-5 years.

Outdoor Learning Lab

Topic: Life Science
Grade: Preschool-TK
Offered: January, February, March, April, May

Young naturalists will activate their senses of sight, touch, smell and hearing in this child-directed, risk-friendly exploration of the outdoors. Framed by the majestic backdrop of the Golden Gate Bridge, children and their important adults will lose track of time in the Museum’s unique outdoor early childhood classroom. Our hands-on early science activities offer opportunities to develop empathy for living things and find out what they need. Our rich sensory experiences will invite open-ended investigation of the characteristics of soil, water and clay. Come prepared for messy play! Museum facilitators will guide adults to help children make observations, express their thinking and work together. Aligned to California Preschool Learning Foundations, this Idea Lab is especially for preschool classrooms serving children ages 2.9-5 years.

Measurement and Me

Topic: Math
Grade: Preschool-1st
Offered: February, March, April, May

Heavy and light, tall and short, big, bigger, biggest. Young children are natural mathematicians and can often be heard making comparisons about what they see and feel as they explore the world around them. In this guided exploration of non-standard measurement, students will compare, contrast, count and measure as they investigate how tall, long, wide and heavy things are in the world around them. 

Facilitators will guide students to make predictions, express their thinking and work together in an environment set up for playful hands-on exploration and discovery.

Explore the Shore: Investigating Horseshoe Cove

Topic: Life Science
Grade: TK-2nd
Offered: March, April, May

Engage your senses and discover the intertidal world of Horseshoe Cove. Young biologists will explore the shore to investigate how the cove meets the needs of its plants and animals, and how these inhabitants are specially adapted to live in this unique habitat. Applying their knowledge of the interstitial zone conditions, students will create animals that include creature features that would allow their animals to thrive in the ocean. This experience offers students the opportunity to see art and science meet. Due to the specific nature of this Lab, it can only be held at the museum at nearby Horseshoe Bay. This environment will promote rich hands-on experience we would otherwise be unable to replicate in a classroom setting.  

Facilitators will help students to pose and investigate their own questions during cove exploration. 

Scholarship Process

Scholarships are available for all of our School Programs, including DIY Field Trips, Idea Labs and STEM Intensives. Preschools serving more than 50% of families through child-care subsidies and elementary schools serving more than 50% of students who qualify for free and reduced lunch are encouraged to apply. 

Our mission is to ignite and advance creative thinking for all children. We are committed to working to remove the barriers that some families face in accessing high-quality, educational experiences for their children both in school and out of school.

Scholarship school visits are sponsored by

For more Information

For more information, please call (415) 339-3963 or email groupvisits(at)

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