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.

Learn about space, robotics, and NASA’s new telescope, JWST! Build your own telescopes map the night sky, experiment with telescope technology, and talk with real scientists in the First Light Saturday Science Program. This free program offers students the chance to experiment with new ideas, ask questions, and learn new science skills like keeping a lab book, giving presentations, and designing new experiments.

In 2022-2023, each term will help First Light students answer the question: How does JWST expand our view of the universe?

With each term, students will spend six sessions answering the following focus questions:

  • Fall: How does JWST impact what we see in space?
  • Winter: How does JWST advance robotics?
  • Spring: How does JWST impact our daily lives?

Dates for the upcoming Spring Term are:

  • April 1st, 15th, 22nd
  • May 6th, 13th, 20th

Sessions run from 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm each week. (Except for the first session, which starts at 12:30 pm for orientation). Snacks are provided to students halfway through each session.

Registration for the Spring Term is open, and will close on March 25th!

Student Eligibility:

  • In 6th – 8th grade
  • 10 years or older
  • Enrolled in Washington D.C. public and public charter schools
  • Fully vaccinated

Volunteer with First Light

First Light is seeking STEM professionals to serve as volunteer instructional assistants for the 2022-2023 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 Telescopes and Observational Astronomy through experiments, engagement 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.