• 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 is open to all 2nd - 5th grade classes from San Francisco schools, whether public, private, or parochial.

In Spring 2022, we have a wide variety of program offerings:

  • Select one of the three options below on the application for your class.
  • You may also apply separately for any grade-appropriate webinars from our Distance Learning website.

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

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

Option A - 1:1 Virtual Program
An Academy educator shows a demonstration with model coral in an aquarium.

Join Academy educators for an interactive 1:1 program in our Zoom room! These programs are exclusively for your class, or if you want other classes from your school to join us, they can! 

Each program is taught by a professional educator who converses directly with students via webcam and microphone. Students or classroom teachers may also interact with educators through polls or the chat box, and hands-on activities will be integrated into the online program.

Offered most Wednesdays, at 10 am, 11 am, and 1 pm (January through May)

2nd Grade: Rainforest Frogs

Get to know our small, hoppy friends that call the Rainforest home. Together we will explore some differences between frogs and toads and think about how camouflage or bright colored skin can help these animals survive in their habitat.

Grades 3-5: Coral Reefs

The Philippines is home to one of Earth's most biodiverse hot spots—the Philippine Coral Reef. Students will observe coral models and do hands-on scientific sketching to learn about the symbiotic relationship between coral and its best friend, zooxanthellae. We will examine how we use power, and explore ways our individual and community actions help coral ecosystems, far from where we live.


Option B - Outdoor Exploration
A teacher notebook from an urban exploration, with colored pencils nearby.

Join us outdoors in Golden Gate Park, or our new Wander Woods outdoor classroom! While we are unable to provide transportation this Spring, the following options (B and C) come with admission to the museum.

Offered most Tuesdays and Thursdays, at 10:15am and 11:30am (January through March).

2nd Grade: Nature Collections

What is a museum and how are the things within it selected and collected? During this outdoor lesson students begin with a visit from an animal character that likes to collect things. Then, students take on the role of explorers and curators that find and arrange their own nature collection. Finally students closely examine a collection made by a scientist here at the museum.

3rd & 4th Grade: 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.

5th Grade: Community Scientists

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. Learn more here.

Option C - Planetarium Show
Visualization of the Earths interior

Rock Fund Planetarium shows are back! Join us on select Tuesdays and Thursdays for the following shows (please note all planetarium shows are presented in English only):

Sun, Moon, and Stars (Grade 2) offered the following Thursdays: 2/3, 2/17, 3/3, and 3/17 at 10:30am.

This show - developed especially for younger viewers - explores the difference between day and night, the motion of the Sun and moon, and the patterns of stars in the night sky!


Earthquakes! (Grade 4) offered the following Thursdays: 1/27, 2/10, 2/24, and 3/24 at 10:30am.

In this live-presenter led show students take on the role of geologists by exploring patterns of Earthquakes in order to predict future movements in Earth's crust.


Motions of the Solar System (Grade 5) - sold out

During this show your students will become virtual space explorers in this planetarium. Students will explore what causes the predictable motions in the sky as observed from Earth. Then, they will jet off to other objects in our solar system and try to apply their new understanding of Earth's cycles in order to discover some surprising patterns other planets have.

What about transportation scholarships?
A yellow school bus.

We are currently reestablishing partnerships with bus vendors and the SFUSD Transportation Office, and do not expect to have a system in place for the 2021-2022 school year.

In the meantime, please select from any of the free programming listed above!

Should transportation scholarships become available, we'll reach out directly to our teacher network.

We Thank our Sponsors

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