Science First Application

What is Science First?

Science First is a free summer science program that strives to increase students’ knowledge and appreciation of the environment and how scientists study the environment. Students participate in one of two four-week sessions that take place at the Chicago Botanic Garden Monday through Friday. A school bus provides transportation from various designated stops throughout Chicago to bring students to the Garden by 9 a.m. Students are provided with all materials they need to participate, as well as a free snack and lunch. Students leave the Garden at 3 p.m. each day.

What do students do?

  • Learn about nature and plants
  • Meet other science-curious students from all over Chicago
  • Spend a lot of time outside, seeing and doing science
  • Explore our display gardens like the Krasberg Rose Garden or the Regenstein Fruit & Vegetable Garden
  • Learn about the Garden’s natural areas including our prairie, woods, and river
  • Talk to scientists who study plants
  • Learn how to conduct scientific research and prepare a presentation

Who can participate?

Students who are currently in grades 6 through 9 and are enrolled in a Chicago Public School can participate. Students and parents must commit to all weeks of the program and agree to provide their own transportation to and from the designated bus stops. Students who are from a racial or ethnic background that is underrepresented in the field of science (African American, Latino, and Native American) and who would benefit the most from college and career support (low-income, first generation to attend college) are encouraged to apply.

When is the 2020 program?

Science First sessions will take place in June, July, and August, Monday – Friday, 9 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Students in grades 8 and 9: June 22 – July 17 (four-week program)
Students in grades 6 and 7: July 20 – August 7 (three-week program)

What do you need to submit to apply?

To be considered for the program, the following items must be received by April 17, 2020.

  1. A completed application form.
  2. A copy of your second-quarter report card (January) or the most recent one you have. Please do not submit progress reports. (Do not hold back on submitting your application because you are waiting for a report card. Just submit the most recent one you have to ensure the application is received by the deadline.) Note: we are not necessarily looking for top grades.
  3. Recommendation form, filled out by a science teacher or community leader (pastor, youth group leader, etc.) who knows you well. It cannot be filled out by someone related to you.
  4. Permission slip, signed by you and your parent/guardian.

Apply online (including recommendation form, permission slip with parent signature, and uploaded report card).

All application materials must be submitted online by April 17, 2020.

It is your responsibility to obtain the report card and all application components, as we do not work with schools to get this information and will not accept it after the deadline. Incomplete applications—those not accompanied by a report card or completed recommendation form—will not be considered. If you have any questions, please email or call Beatriz Cañas at (847) 835-6871.