About East Bay Academy

The East Bay Academy for Young Scientists (EBAYS) gives underserved and marginalized communities in the East Bay Area access to hands-on science research activities

About EBAYS

The East Bay Academy for Young Scientists (EBAYS) is based at the Lawrence Hall of Science at UC Berkeley. The Lawrence Hall of Science is UC Berkeley’s nationally recognized K–12 science and mathematics curriculum materials development center and public science museum. EBAYS seeks to give underserved and marginalized communities in the East Bay Area access to innovative, hands-on science research activities so that they can develop important science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) skills, as well as become young community leaders.

Our students address problems of soil, water and air quality within their communities and develop new knowledge through novel research that can be used in community struggles for environmental and social justice. In this context, the students can apply newly acquired conceptual understanding and skills. In this way the program activities help foster both increased understanding of important scientific concepts, as well as greater appreciation of how scientific research contributes to addressing issues relevant to students’ lives.

Program Structure

Each year EBAYS students participate in the following program components:

An after school program consisting of a year long mini-course presented at elementary, middle school, high school and community center sites by community and UC Berkeley science instructors.

Summer enrichment activities such as: collective investigations of water quality of local estuaries and lakes; presentations by professionals of diverse ethnic backgrounds; and excursions to local firms whose focus is IT and/or environmental science related activities.

An after school program consisting of a year long mini-course presented at elementary, middle school, high school and community center sites by community and UC Berkeley science instructors.

Program Content

The EBAYS program provides students with out-of-school yet well structured and academically rigorous activities that facilitate the development of important skills that will benefit them in the future. The program uses inquiry based, hands-on learning activities to increase students understanding of key IT, earth science, and physical science concepts. The program also includes an important community based air and water quality research component to provide the students with real world, project based scientific inquiry. In this context, the students can apply newly acquired conceptual understandings and skills. In this way the program activities help foster both increased understanding of important scientific concepts, as well as greater appreciation of how scientific research contributes to addressing issues relevant to students’ lives.

Program Evaluation

The following suite of evaluation instruments has been used to assess the program’s effect on student attitudes and conceptions about the relevance and nature of science:

  • Changes in Attitude about the Relevance of Science (CARS) survey (M.S. Siegel, M.A. Raney, 2003)
  • Q-sort for Scientific Behaviors (K.D. Peterson, R. Ponzio, 2003)
  • Whiteboard Models
  • Student Journals
  • Student Interviews

Preliminary evaluation data suggests that students’ attitudes and perceptions about the nature and relevance of science are positively impacted by program activities. During interviews, teens have talked about how their participation in the program increased their interest in and knowledge of science and research, and encouraged them to participate more in regular school courses. For example, teens said:

  • “This is a great way to understand research better.”
  • “Participation in the program makes me more interested in what I like about science.”
  • “It is (science) more complicated than it looks. Now I know how they get things in textbooks.”
  • “During the school year, the program helped me in school. We were studying similar things in one of my classes and I got an A on my test.”