Answers for Curious Minds.

Asking questions is the mark of a true scientist. Find the answers to general FirstHand information here, and save the big stuff for the lab.

How much do youth programs cost?

Most of our programs are free of cost to students and schools. We’re fortunate to have a number of sponsorship partners who help us ensure that there will be no barriers to youth participation in our programs. Thanks to their support, students receive a daily healthy snack upon arrival, and we are able to provide SEPTA tokens for transportation to and from the Science Center.

I’m a parent. How can I sign up my child?

Currently we do not offer open enrollment programs. If interested, pass this information on to your student’s principal, teacher or out-of-school time coordinator, and we will work with them to get your student involved in FirstHand.

I’m a teacher. How can I sign up my class?

Awesome! Check out our program pages, and then shoot us an email letting us know what interests you.

How big of a group can you accommodate?

For tours, we can accommodate 10-30 students. Groups of more than 15 students will be split into two due to space restrictions. We expect at least one teacher or staff member to be present for every 15 students.

For long-term youth programs, we generally work with groups of 10-15 students. Unfortunately, due to space restrictions, we cannot work with larger groups at this time.

What’s the age range for student participants?

Currently the majority of our programs are targeted to middle-school students, with a new high-school program beginning this year. Much of our equipment (especially safety gear) is not suitable for younger audiences.

What about safety?

Safety is king! We run a basic lab environment for students. We are very cautious with materials, and always THOROUGHLY explain safety procedures to students. All FirstHand programs have two adults present for every 15 students. We want students to have a fun but safe time in our programs!

How can educators learn more about STEAM subjects?

We don’t just teach kids – we do STEM and STEAM-based educator training too! We believe it’s important for educators and administrators to bring the pedagogy and practice of inquiry-driven education to their learning spaces too. Find more information here.

What do parents need to know?

We’ll ask every parent or guardian to sign a consent form. This form gives permission for students to be on the Science Center campus and participate in our programming. A media release form is also included, giving us permission to use audio and visual images of students, as well as testimonials, for marketing and editorial purposes.

This sounds great! Can I come in one day to see what students are up to?

Absolutely! Each semester-long youth program ends with a presentation that is open to the public. We encourage family, teachers, administrators and even friends to come and see what everyone has been up to for the past semester.