The California Science Trip



The California Science Trip is an annual excursion of Science-Oriented Bellingham Public Schools' Grade 8 Students to the San Francisco Bay Area in California. Our goal is to visit many of the science-related educational sites that are situated in the greater Bay Area. Historically, Fairhaven and Kulshan Middle Schools have traveled together as have Whatcom and Shuksan Middle Schools. Students are accompanied on the trip by two teachers from each school and as many parents as we can fit in the available travel spaces.

Student Selection

This is a competitive selection process. Every year we have more students than we have spots available. So you should know that maintaining the success of the California Science Trip demands a rigourous analysis and evaluation of prospective participants.

Students are selected based on their maturity, their commitment to science, and their responsibility in personal and academic matters. The selection process begins with an application that has a strict due-date followed by an essay-writing assignment. While anonymous essays are being evaluated by the accompanying-teachers, the student is evaluated by all of his/her Grade 7 and Grade 8 teachers on these characteristics:
  • Attitude
  • Responsibility
  • Cooperation
  • Punctuality
  • Self-Control
  • Trip Readiness
  • Passion for Science

The student's prompt return of materials earns points; his/her GPA earns points; the teacher-evaluation scores are converted into points; and essay scores are converted into points; and these points are put into a database for tallying. Once all the data is entered, top-scoring most qualified students are invited to participate in the California Science Trip. We do not draw from a pool of "alternates"; we invite the best-qualified students for the trip and we work hard to maintain the exceptional standards of student selection.


The cost of the California Science Trip for 2007 is currently estimated to be about $625 USD. As fuel costs and ticketing costs fluctuate, this cost may change; but historically it has not changed by large amounts. Additionally, students will need between $200 USD and $300 USD to buy some meals and any souvenirs they may want to purchase.

What's Included?

Included in the cost of the trip is airfare, lodging, breakfasts, two dinners (pizza one night and sub sandwiches another night), and admission to all sites.


CA Science Trip participants stay at the Sundowner Inn in Sunnyvale, which is central to all of the excursion sites. Four participating students of the same gender are housed in each room; and each room has two queen-size beds (so students must share bed space). We try very hard to ensure that each room contains a mix of students from each school while honoring roommate-requests between friends. Two adult participants of the same gender are housed in a similar room to the students'.

Financial Aid

Thanks to the generosity of the schools' respective PTSA's and donations by individuals, financial assistance is available for highly qualified students who may need some help with the costs. Inquire with the organizing teachers at your school to learn about getting financial aid or to make donations.

Our Sponsor

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ProStock has historically generously supported the California Science Trip by funding a day of release for one teacher from each school. We are deeply endebted to ProStock for their years of support!