Headwaters Science Institute

Fostering curiosity through science education

 Who We Are

We are educators, scientists, and community members with a mission to foster curiosity through science. We engage students’ natural curiosity, guiding them to design and perform experiments that answer their own questions through the scientific method. We call this process Student Driven Research.

What We Do

We aim to create informed citizens who not only pursue science careers, but blossom when faced with opportunities to positively impact society through engagement, curiosity, and applications of the scientific method. To do this, we teach programs for science classes at schools, at our northern California field site, and online

What’s New

Lunch With A Scientist: Mary Patterson

Mary Patterson is a Botanist for the Tahoe National Forest and joins us to talk about conservation and protection of rare plant species.

Mountain Pine Bark Beetle Lesson Packet

Learn about the mountain pine bark beetle (Dendroctonus ponderosae) and its impacts on forest health in North America.

Fun Science Fridays: Ant farms

We’ll show you how to make a DIY ant farm from home!

Headwaters’ STEM Speaker Series and more fun events

Join us starting August 17 for exciting science talks and more events!

Weekly Science Challenge: Yeast rising

What makes this well-known fungus grow the most? We’ll show you how to experiment with it and then use your results to bake delicious bread!

For Students & Parents

Online Learning

Staying active through learning online is vital while traditional schools are closed. Experience the same hands-on techniques we teach in person through virtual science lessons.

About Our Programs

We teach students the scientific method through hands-on learning at schools and at our field site in Northern California.

Science Camps

To address the challenges of COVID-19, we offer immersive opportunites to learn science, mentored by professional scientists through online programs that are doable from home. 

For Educators 

Online and Hybrid Programs

To meet the challenges of COVID-19, we offer programs based around hands-on learning that still inspire curiosity but are delivered entirely online, or as a partial-online format.

Program Overview

Our programs teach the scientific method through a hands-on approach that’s based on student inquiry, and designed to meet NGSS standards. 

Overnight Programs

An immersive 3-5 day experience on Donner Summit in Northern California. Students learn science by designing their own research projects and collecting data in the field.

At School Programs

Programs at your school or at a nearby field site allow students to experience real-world examples of science concepts, while learning how to design their own research project.

Professional Development

Our commitment to learning extends to teachers. We provide hands-on training on our Student Driven Research methods to educators to allow them to continue teaching these concepts.

 “This camp sparked an interest in science in me that I have never felt in my life.”

“I can’t put it into words how thankful I am for being sponsored to go to the Headwaters Girls Science Camp. At this camp, I learned how science is everywhere, even when you don’t suspect it. I also learned how important it is to increase the number of women in the science fields and the impact that women have in science. This camp has really opened my eyes to the science fields and has helped me realized that science can play a big role in selecting my career.”

Ashley Alarcon, Girls Summer Science Camp Scholarship Recipient 2019

 More Ways to Get Involved