Science Alliance: Middle School Program

Part of Children & Families

Stacked rocks formation Photo by Timothy Dykes
Classes at the Museum for students in Grades 6-8.

Learn new skills doing what you love—and meet our scientists. Explore the Tree of Life, our universe, and humankind. Make friends and collaborate on scientific discoveries!

Join Science Alliance

All classes are for students in Grades 6–8. Students can choose the topics they want to explore: anthropology, astrophysics, conservation science, Earth science, and evolutionary biology. 

During the school year, Science Alliance runs three sessions: Fall, Winter, and Spring. Classes will be offered on Thursdays and Fridays after school and Saturdays during the day. Class listings for Spring will be available in February.

  • Thursday and Friday classes meet from 4:30–6:30 pm for eight weeks.
  • Saturday classes meet from 10 am–3 pm for four weeks.

During the summer, Science Alliance offers a five-week Summer Science Academy where students explore a different scientific discipline each week. Summer Science Academy meets 9 am–4 pm.

Have an older student? See the Science Alliance High School Program.

Summer 2024

CLASS
AGE GROUP
DATES & TIMES

Class:
Summer Science Academy

Each week students will engage in a new theme covering a range of scientific topics, including evolution, ecology, anthropology, astronomy, and Earth and planetary sciences. Students will explore the unique places where science happens by visiting the Museum’s collections and labs and meeting scientists. This academy will nurture students’ innate curiosity while allowing them to generate new questions about the natural world.

Program Dates: Monday, July 8–Friday, August 9

Program Time: 9 am–4 pm Monday–Friday

Program Cost: $5,000

Click Here to Purchase 

Registration Open

Age Group:
Grade 6, Grade 7, Grade 8, Middle School, Youth

Dates & Times:
July 8–August 9, 2024.
9am-4pm

Grade 6, Grade 7, Grade 8, Middle School, Youth

July 8–August 9, 2024

9am-4pm

Fall 2024 Sessions

CLASS
AGE GROUP
DATES & TIMES

Class:
Digital Universe Flight School 

Have you ever dreamed of flying through the cosmos? In Digital Universe Flight School, students will learn to operate OpenSpace—an interactive data visualization software, funded in part by NASA, which allows users to explore the entire known universe. Students will travel through space and time to create their own astronomy shows, which they will present in the Rose Center’s Hayden Planetarium.  Students will engage with various halls throughout the Museum, with a focus on astrophysics and curatorial design. They will obtain a behind-the-scenes glimpse of what happens at the Museum and interact with Museum scientists and creators. 

Thursdays:  10/10, 10/17, 10/24, 11/7, 11/14, 11/21, 12/5, 12/12

Full Fee Seats Sold Out/ Tuition Assistance Seats Filled

Cost: $1,000

Age Group:
Grade 6, Grade 7, Grade 8

Dates & Times:
Thursdays, 4:30–6:30 pm.

Grade 6, Grade 7, Grade 8

Thursdays, 4:30–6:30 pm

Class:
"Tiny Life" (aka Microbiology)

Microbiology is the study of tiny organisms—those that are too small to be seen with the naked eye. You’ve heard about these microorganisms before: bacteria, viruses, fungi, protozoa, and algae. Now learn how to study them, their central importance to all of life on this Earth, and how microbiology is used to make medicines, improve food safety, protect the environment, or even find ways to grow crops better. Our young explorers will learn how to create microbial communities, sample and culture microbial strains, and use microscopes to examine and study microbes. 

Thursdays: 10/10, 10/17, 10/24, 11/7, 11/14, 11/21, 12/5, 12/12 

Click Here to Purchase

Cost: $1,000

Age Group:
Grade 6, Grade 7, Grade 8

Dates & Times:
Thursdays, 4:30–6:30 pm.

Grade 6, Grade 7, Grade 8

Thursdays, 4:30–6:30 pm

Class:
Animal Behavior (Fridays)

How do ants farm fungus? Why do some birds “moonwalk”? Why do capuchin monkeys like to poke each other in the eye? Animals exhibit complex sets of behaviors. In this course, you will explore the ways that animals form sophisticated social structures, investigate their strategies for finding food and avoiding predators, and discover the lengths they will go to to attract mates and outcompete their rivals. Students will conduct observational field studies of animals in the wild and in captivity, interpret behavioral data like migration patterns and communication strategies, and meet with experts who work to understand the dynamic lives of the animals that coexist with us.  

Fridays: 10/11, 10/18, 10/25, 11/8, 11/15, 11/22, 12/6, 12/13 

Click Here to purchase / Tuition Assistance Seats Filled

Cost: $1000

Age Group:
Grade 7, Grade 6, Grade 8

Dates & Times:
Fridays, 4:30-6:30pm.

Grade 7, Grade 6, Grade 8

Fridays, 4:30-6:30pm

Class:
Maya Skies: Astronomy of the Ancient World

Throughout human history we have always looked to the sky, for navigation, for spiritual guidance, and for understanding our place in the universe. Examine the relationship between the Mayan civilization and the cosmos. Explore the social structure, belief systems, and daily life of Mesoamerica through the lens of archaeoastronomy. Investigate how celestial bodies affect a culture’s interpretation of time, mathematics, our calendrical system, and the way whole cities are designed. You will construct your own timekeeping device, experiment with alternative forms of mathematical calculation, and develop unique calendars.   

Formerly known as: Mesoamerican Archaeoastronomy 

Fridays: 10/11, 10/18, 10/25, 11/8, 11/15, 11/22, 12/6, 12/13 

Click Here to Purchase

Cost: $1,000

Age Group:
Grade 6, Grade 7, Grade 8

Dates & Times:
Fridays, 4:30-6:30pm.

Grade 6, Grade 7, Grade 8

Fridays, 4:30-6:30pm

Class:
Animal Behavior (Saturdays)

How do ants farm fungus? Why do some birds “moonwalk”? Why do capuchin monkeys like to poke each other in the eye? Animals exhibit complex sets of behaviors. In this course, you will explore the ways that animals form sophisticated social structures, investigate their strategies for finding food and avoiding predators, and discover the lengths they will go to to attract mates and outcompete their rivals. Students will conduct observational field studies of animals in the wild and in captivity, interpret behavioral data like migration patterns and communication strategies, and meet with experts who work to understand the dynamic lives of the animals that coexist with us.  

Saturdays: 10/19, 10/26, 11/2, and 11/16

Click Here to Purchase

Cost: $1000

Age Group:
Grade 7, Grade 6, Grade 8

Dates & Times:
Saturdays, 10am- 3pm.

Grade 7, Grade 6, Grade 8

Saturdays, 10am- 3pm

How to Register

  • Please note that the grade level for Fall, Winter, and Spring programs below refers to the grade your child will enter in the 2023 academic year.
  • Students should sign up for classes based on the designated grade bands. 
  • To register for each program, click the “purchase” button.

Fees

  • Fall, Winter, and Spring courses are $1,000 each.
  • The five-week Summer Science Academy is $5,000 for the entire summer.

Tuition Assistance

We reserve a limited number of tuition aid seats in each Science Alliance course which are filled on a first-come, first-served basis.  Please see the income eligibility chart below to see if your family qualifies for free or reduced tuition. Household size should indicate the total number of individuals in the home, which includes the primary caregiver(s) and all dependents. 

  • For Science Alliance, we reserve 50% of seats in each class for families requesting tuition assistance. Seats are filled on a first-come, first-served basis, and families will be placed on a waitlist once seats become filled.
  • Please see the income eligibility chart below to see if your family qualifies for free or reduced tuition. Household size should indicate the total number of individuals in the home, which includes the primary caregiver(s) and all dependents. 
  • To apply for tuition aid to a Science Alliance course, please DO NOT register and pay online. Families are not guaranteed a refund if they purchase a course and later apply for tuition assistance.

Apply to Fall 2024 courses here 

Following are household income requirements for free and reduced tuition. 

Household Size Free Tuition Reduced Tuition Full Tuition
2 people $90,400 or below $90,401–$186,450 $186,450 or higher
3 people $101,680 or below $101,681–$209,715 $209,715or higher
4 people $112,960 or below $112,961–$232,980 $232,980 or higher
5 people $122,000 or below $122,001-251,625 $251,625 or higher
6 people or more $131,040 or below $131,041-$270,270 $270,270 or higher

Should you have any trouble registering using the program links, please call Central Reservations at 212-769-5200 to purchase or be added to the waitlist.

SAP Cancellation and Refund Policy

You will be eligible for a full refund (100%) if you cancel at least 30 days before the start of the program. You will be eligible for a partial refund (50%) if you cancel at least 15 days before the start of the program. Any cancellations less than 15 days before the program's start are not eligible to receive a refund. ​

In the event that a class must be canceled due to inclement weather, COVID-19 issues (e.g., increases in local Covid cases, changes to local Covid guidance, positive Covid cases among Museum staff, etc.), or other causes outside the control of the Museum, we will aim to reschedule the date(s) of the affected class(es) within the existing course schedule. In the event that rescheduling is not possible, refunds for class cancellations are not available.

To cancel your registration in our programs, please call Central Reservations at 212-769-5200.

Join our mailing list to learn about other middle school offerings.

The American Museum of Natural History gratefully acknowledges Morgan Stanley for its sponsorship of youth initiatives.

Middle School Programming in the Gilder Center is proudly sponsored by the New York Life Foundation.

The Museum’s Education Collection is generously supported by the Anna-Maria and Stephen Kellen Foundation and Elysabeth Kleinhans.