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 circuits, robotics, and coding! This free program allows students to experiment with new ideas, ask questions, and learn new science skills like keeping a lab book, giving presentations, and designing new experiments.

In 2023-2024, First Light students will begin the first of our 3-part series of circuits and robotics! We highly encourage participation in all 3 terms, as content builds throughout the year.

In 2023-2024, each term will help First Light students will explore circuits, programming, and robotics. Each term will include six sessions focussing on: 

  • Fall: Introduction to Circuits and Programming 
  • Winter: Intermediate Robotics and Programming
  • Spring: Applications of Robotics and Programming – Connections to Careers

During the Winter Term, students will focus on Intermediate Coding and Robotics skills, such as reading circuit diagrams, using a breadboard, and writing code!

Dates for the upcoming Winter Term are:

  • January 27th
  • February 3rd, 10th, 24th
  • March 2nd, 9th

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

Registration for the Fall Term is open, and will close on September 22nd!

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.