An open box displaying a range of craft materials

2022 Science & Nature Kits

Published07/27/2022 , by Emily Dzieweczynski

This year, the Bell delivered Science & Nature Activity Kits to 10,000 students and their families with the help of community partners across Minnesota! The Science & Nature Activity Kit initiative started early in the Covid-19 pandemic as an effort to bring hands-on science content to students and families who may not typically have access to STEM education resources or experiences. 

Since 2020, the Bell has worked with community partners to deliver these kits at no cost to community centers, social service organizations, schools, libraries, and other organizations. This program from the beginning has been made possible through the generosity of corporate, foundation, and individual donors—and this year was no different. Some of our generous donors, such as UCare, Spire, and Hallie Q Brown, also served as distribution partners. Among the reasons why donors choose to support this initiative is that they see the value in ensuring our next generation has access to high-quality STEM education.

"The WEM Foundation has supported K-12 education for over 30 years. We have seen first-hand how critical it is to ensure that high-quality education resources reach and engage children and families who need them most. The Bell’s Science & Nature Kit program is a very hands-on, fun, creative way to stimulate student interest in STEM and inspire curiosity in the natural world," shared Jim Hield, the President of the WEM Foundation.

Someone holding a Science and Nature kit and displaying the contents

This year’s Science & Nature Activity Kit included four hands-on activities that a student could do alone or with friends, family, or classmates. The activities, developed by Bell educators for students in grades K-5, promote curiosity for nature, both close to home and out into the universe.

Every kit includes all the materials to complete the activities—this year’s included chalk, tape, colored pencils, a magnifying glass, and nature journals. Additionally, each kit is accompanied by a special activity booklet with step-by-step, illustrated instructions and suggestions for other resources and activities to extend and deepen learning. Each booklet includes a QR code linking to brief instructional videos in English, Spanish, Somali, Hmong, Dakota, and Ojibwe. The addition of instructional videos came directly at the recommendation of last year’s distribution partners—the Bell was excited to continue improving on the experience for children and their caregivers. Kits also include a free pass to visit the museum with a caregiver.

Two images of people holding up Bell Science and Nature kits and smiling

Bell staff delivering Science & Nature Kits to the Bilingual Learning Center (left) and the Centro Tyrone Guzman (right)

After the activities were developed, the materials were sourced, and the kits were packaged, Bell staff coordinated delivery to community partners across Minnesota, who ensured the kits then got into the hands of students and families. In the end, we worked with 50 community partners in the Twin Cities metro and across Greater Minnesota. Some of our partners include: 

  • Neighborhood community centers such as Hallie Q. Brown Community Center, Phyllis Wheatley Community Center, and Centro Tyrone Guzman
  • Boys and Girls Clubs of the North and the Twin Cities
  • Public libraries such as Ramsey County Libraries, Arrowhead Library Systems, and Ely Public Library

The Science & Nature Activity Kit initiative is one of the ways that the Bell strives to be a Museum Without Boundaries. This year, we delivered 10,000 kits to students and families across Minnesota—which is a significant increase from the 7,000 kits that were delivered last year! Additionally, this year we expanded our reach by working with partners in communities throughout Greater Minnesota. The growth of this initiative has been made possible through the generous support of our donors. In addition to their philanthropic investment, many have joined the Bell as distribution partners for kits and served to connect the Bell with other organizations that serve children and families that now benefit from this program.

A list of sponsors' logos who have supported Science & Nature Kits