What NASA is all about
NASA – North Austin Science Alliance – is a competitive science team and enrichment program for kids who genuinely love science. This is not a group for parents who hope their kids will like science, or for those who are looking for a program that follows a curriculum.
With three age divisions, NASA promotes a "whole kid" approach. We offer an elementary program, a middle school program, and a high school program. This allows kids to cultivate their love of science all the way through their homeschool years.
At NASA, we offer hands-on science. There are no text books, work pages, coloring sheets or other busy-work mediums. Some weeks, we have a short lesson followed by hands-on REAL science. On other weeks, we may host a visiting speaker or science road show; sometimes the kids will Skype a Scientist with an expert across the country or around the world.
The elementary program is for kids aged 6 through 9. In this group, the kids are introduced to topics that generally aren’t taught at home at that age. These kids have done chemical experiments to experience chemiluminesence, worked with real microscopes, learned about plant and animal cells, explored the atom, and so much more.
Our youngest group is supported by our parents. Parents with kids on this team are expected to assist in the classroom, and to assist or occasionally lead various lessons. Lesson plans and materials are all prepared in advance – so it's easy to show up and assist with the group.
In the middle school group, the kids are taken one step further. Weekly topics are generally more focused, and the science they’re exposed to is much more advanced. These kids have done dissections, worked with dry ice, learned about chemical bonds and how to use molecule kits, learned about neurology, and much more.
In addition, the middle school group hosts a huge variety of people from within the science community. From guest speakers talking about state-of-the-art cloning to having PhD candidates and professors from UT come to do demos and give talks, we bring the science to the kids. We’ve also partnered with various outreach programs to further enhance our kids’ science enrichment – everything from demos to field trips, we do it all!
Finally, the middle school kids (and the high school group) participate in several different science competitions. Science Olympiad and Science Bowl are our main competitions, though we also have kids interested in Science Fest. We support all these competitions, putting forth a strong NASA presence no matter where we go. (Kids need to live in either Wilco or Travis Co. to participate in competitions.)
We meet on Monday mornings (in NW Round Rock) from 10:30 – 12 (our Science Bowl teams start at 9:30), and at a projected $110 for the entire season (September through April), our fees are also low.
Currently we have a few openings on our elementary, middle school and high school teams. Contact us with specific questions or send a registration request from the contact tab above.
We are looking for more teens! If you know of any science-loving teens, please pass along word about NASA’s amazing science program. We've heard time and time again from university students and faculty that participation in Science Olympiad is a selling point on college applications and can make a student stand out from the crowd.
For a look at some of the labs, lesson plans, and experiments we've done, click on Kitchen Table Science. This database is maintained by Jennifer Allen, one of the founders of NASA. Homeschool science made easy!