The Discover at Home Experience
- What is Discover at Home?
Discover at Home classes are synchronous online lab sessions where students work with scientists to explore the microscopic world. Each session accommodates 10-30 students and is 45 minutes long.
During a typical Discover at Home session, students work with a BioBus scientist to explore various organisms using a research-grade microscope. They are encouraged to use their observation and critical thinking skills to ask questions, to form hypotheses, and to look for answers; in other words: to be scientists themselves!
These classes are designed mainly as a one-time experience, with the goal of creating a welcoming, engaging, and supportive environment where students can experience being a scientist and get excited about science. If you are interested in scheduling a more in-depth, multi-session program for your students, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
- What is the content of Discover at Home classes?
The specific content and flow of each Discover at Home session depends on many factors, including the samples and resources available to the BioBus scientist in their home or field lab, as well as their area of expertise. Also, BioBus scientists love meeting students where they are and letting student inquiry guide the sessions. So, if your students love talking about poop, brace yourself for an exploration of poop as it relates to an organism or its ecosystem.
That said, there are certain themes that all BioBus scientists are well-equipped to frame their lessons around. If you are booking a session for a group of students, you can pick one of these themes given below or let the BioBus scientist deliver a grade-appropriate lesson of their choosing.
For grades K-3…
Microscopes & Me: Students explore living and nonliving samples to see how tools like microscopes help scientists make observations.
Homey Habitats: Using microscopes, students examine living things and their surrounding to figure out what makes a good habitat.
Bug Bodies: Students examine tiny bug body parts under a microscope, and make connections between the appearance of structures and their function.
For grades 4-12…
Exploring Ecosystems: Using microscopes, students explore the relationships in an ecosystem between living and nonliving things, and investigate how each organism contributes to build a sustainable, functional ecosystem!
Investigating Invertebrates: Students use microscopes to investigate various invertebrates and the adaptations that have allowed them to thrive in their environment.
For grades 6-12…
Brain Breakdown: In this lesson designed by BioBus Jr. Scientists and the Harvard Medical School, students zoom into the brain and make connections between the structural form of neurons and the function of the nervous system as a whole.
- Which platforms are Discover at Home classes held on?
We prefer to host Discover at Home classes on password-protected BioBus Zoom links, and we use this platform for all of our Community Classes. Hosting, BioBus staff will handle meeting moderation, unless requested otherwise.
If you are booking a session for a group of students, you can also choose to invite us to a Zoom or Google meet link that you create. In that case, we will ask you to make a BioBus staff member host or to take care of moderation responsibilities on your end.
If you want to use a platform other than Zoom or Google Meet, please let us know and we can look into it to see if it would be feasible.
- Do students need any materials or supplies for the Discover at Home class?
Students will need a device to connect to the video meeting. It is a more enhanced and interactive experience if students are willing and able to turn on their own camera as well and/or use the chat function, though not required.
We ask that students have some paper and pens/pencils/markers handy to note/draw their observations during class.
Booking Your Discover at Home Sessions
- How much does a Discover at Home session cost?
Thanks to the generous support of our donors, we are currently able to offer this program at $250 per 45-minute session with 10-30 students for direct booking by schools or organizations.
We also offer need-based community sliding scale pricing for some schools or organizations in limited areas of Manhattan or the Bronx. If your school or organization is located in one of the following zip codes, please fill out our inquiry form and a BioBus coordinator will reach out to you with further information: 10002, 10003, 10009, 10025, 10026, 10027, 10029, 10030, 10031, 10032, 10033, 10034, 10035, 10037, 10038, 10039, 10040, 10451, 10454, 10455, 10474.
Our Community Classes are free and open to individual enrollment by students. If you are able, we ask that you make a donation to cover the costs of the program. By donating, you allow BioBus to bring science opportunities to the students who need them most, as our community works together to help each other.
- I’m an educator or administrator. How do I book a Discover at Home session for my students?
When you are ready to book your Discover at Home sessions, you can schedule them directly at biobus.org/discover/scheduler. If you have already been in communication with a BioBus coordinator about this booking, please follow the link directly provided by them rather than the general scheduler.
- I’m a parent or caretaker. How do I sign my child up for a Discover at Home Community Class?
You can view the upcoming Community Classes and sign your child up for a session at biobus.org/discover/community-signup.
- Which payment methods do you accept for Discover at Home sessions?
We accept various methods of payment, including credit cards, purchase orders (PO), and checks. You can choose to pay by a credit card at the time of booking or opt for the “Pay Later” option to receive an invoice with further instructions.
In order to process PO payments, we will need the full names of the students that attend the Discover at Home session. So, if you would like to use this method, we ask that you take attendance during sessions and forward us the list afterwards. Our NYC DOE Vendor Number is CEL092282.
- When is the payment due for a Discover at Home session?
Full payment is due 7 days before the program, unless paying via PO or another arrangement has already been made with BioBus.
- What is the cancellation/rescheduling policy for Discover at Home sessions?
Rescheduling or cancellation requests must be made at least 7 days before your scheduled session time. BioBus reserves the right to refuse late rescheduling requests and to withhold 50% of total program cost for late cancellations. In the case your school has no instruction at our scheduled time due to an unforeseen event, BioBus will work with you to reschedule your program.
If your child is signed up for a Community Class, but will not be able to attend, we kindly ask that you let us know so that we can offer their spot to another student.