First Light

First Light Free Saturday Science School gives middle school students in the District of Columbia an opportunity to learn about topics within the field of Astrobiology through hands-on projects guided by STEM professionals.

This is a free program open to fully vaccinated students, 11 years or older who attend public or public charter schools in the District of Columbia, and are in 6th, 7th, or 8th grade. Due to vaccine age minimums changing to 5 years old and older.

Each year, First Light has a different theme; for 2021-2022 First Light will focus on Astronomy.

There are three six-week terms per academic year, the Fall, Winter, and Spring.

  • Fall: Introductory Astronomy
  • Winter: Astrobiology
  • Spring: Rockets and Propulsion

Students must apply for a single term at a time but are encouraged to return for as many terms as possible during their years of eligibility (grades 6-8).

FirstLight is led by CASE’s Lead Physical Science Educator Ms. Stephanie.

Registration for the Spring Term is open! Register here (link) by April 22nd, 2022.

Sessions are held on the following Saturdays from 1 pm – 4 pm:

  • April 9th, 23rd, 30th
  • May 7th, 14th, and 21st

Volunteer with First Light

First Light is seeking STEM professionals to serve as volunteer instructional assistants for the 2021-2022 school year. Volunteers commit to serve for one six-week term (three terms per year). Volunteers guide students through hands-on activities to explore scientific questions.

During this term, DC middle school students will have an opportunity to explore Astrobiology through experiments, engaging with scientists, and more! To apply to be a volunteer, please complete the Volunteer Application.


Alumni choose STEM! Of the students who were in this program 2008-09, 39% are now pursuing college degrees with a STEM focus.

Alumni return for more FL! Over the last 10 years, 64% of students return for more than one term. 43% return for more than three terms.

First Light is supported, in part, by the GM Foundation.