The club meets once per month, for about an hour and a half. Each session focuses on a hands-on project (or 2) that the kids do and take home with them, plus a couple demonstrations by me or a guest scientist (usually me, since I find I am usually better than real scientists at communicating with fourth graders.)
A club is easy to start as long as you have leader that is willing to commit to one club a month and all the preparations. As I said, you really don't need a science expert, since the goal is not not to teach science, but to let kids have fun with science.
As for costs, supplies for the kids projects range from $1 - $5 per kid per science club with supplies for the demos usually costing about $10 per science club. Mostly I use commonly available items.
Funding: I usually charge $15-20 per kid per year for supplies. This should cover most of the supplies, but I spend a little more of my own money at times building prototypes, buying demo stuff or building a giant catapult etc. Another funding source might be a Halloween Spook House fundraiser using some of the spooky effects we do in the October Science Club.
Here is a sample Schedule for a school year:
October: Spooky Halloween Science -, dry ice and Spooky Sound Making Devices.
November: light demonstrations and
Jan: Use in conjuction with the project for a full hour of science - start off by giving the kids gummy worms and talking about .
February: (make actual soap with cocoa butter and lye)
March: Air pressure demos and build an air/vaccum pump
June: Field trip to local park: build what better way to make science cool than an announcement over the school intercom "Would all Science Club members please report for the field trip.")
I hope you find this helpful. I'd love to hear how it goes and to hear about any good experiments!
AKA "Bill Y the Science Guy"