John Muir Science Workshop

The John Muir Science Workshop (JMSW) exists to enrich the educational experience of students in our community through providing opportunities of hands-on science exploration.

The JMSW is based on the Community Science Workshop model but in a school classroom and open to all curious students regardless of socioeconomic background. The JM CSW has both during and after school hours providing access for hands-on science exploration. The JMSW is currently a program supported by the John Muir PTA and grants received through the New Leaf Collaborative; a non-profit partnership network that provides hands-on, experiential learning and leadership opportunities, in areas of science, nature and ecological literacy in order to nurture the social and emotional health of K-14 students and their communities.

The John Muir Community Science Workshop started in the 2013/2014 school year to bring hands-on, experiential science learning opportunities to students and their mentors in grades K through 5 at John Muir Elementary. The Workshop is set up with materials and exhibits that foster curiosity and open ended exploration. 

The Workshop is open to teachers and their classes on Science Fridays with a continual 3 week rotation for all grades. On Science Fridays, the Workshop is supported by high school student interns from the New Leaf Collaborative at Vicente Martinez High School. These interns have all gone through an application process and aid the younger students as they explore the exhibits and materials. 

The Workshop is also available to John Muir students for open ended exploration on Wednesdays after school. Check out the Calendar tab for more information.

Workshop Environment - The workshop currently has a wind tube, several magnet displays, a bubble table, a large labyrinth requiring team work and a little physics knowledge, fossils, rocks and minerals, an LCD digital microscope and some nature blocks, anatomy models, circuit board components, a water table, a 'Make It' station and a 'Take Apart' table, a small solar system model, and well stocked cupboards full of experiment aides and tools. We're continually working on enhancing the learning opportunities of the workshop and to create an inviting atmosphere that fosters excitement, creativity and wonder.


Ellen Concepcion was inspired by the Mission Science Workshop and it's enthusiastic Director, Dan Sudran who has offered unwavering support for Ellen to create a similar CSW model in Martinez at a school. Much thanks to the collaboration and support of the New Leaf teachers and co-founders Corinne Christiansen and Dr. Rona Zollinger, the principal of Vicente Martinez High School, Carol Adams, Jessica Conkle, Kim Thompson, John Muir teachers & PTA, Condor Country Consulting owner and wildlife biologist Wendy Dexter and MUSD superintendent Rami Muth, the Martinez CSW found it’s first home at John Muir Elementary. We are excited to open the John Swett Science Workshop and hope to be able to develop this model for other school sites in our community and surrounding communities as well as a public CSW in Martinez. 

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