‘Science is a way of thinking much more than it is a body of knowledge’

A basic human motivator is to try to understand WHY. Why did something happen? How does something work? Curiosity about the world around us, about what makes it and us TICK is at the foundation of invention, of creativity. Teaching science well can nurture that curiosity, can satisfy some of that yearning to understand WHY. Understanding why a year is what it is for us on planet Earth feels good. Understanding how organisms are all connected by the long thin thread of evolutionary change gives depth to our sense of stewardship of the Earth.

There is also a very real effect on the brain and mind that comes from studying science. Developing a scientific approach to questioning and determining answers is an important skill for life in general, and science can dramatically increase a child’s capacity for reasoning and logical thought. This can help to alleviate some of the difficulties that sometimes arise with students — especially those with troubled backgrounds, like our students, that stem from a lack of understanding of the environment and themselves, and the inability to think rationally.

A lot of the time, what we’re learning about and discovering in science at REACH is not good news. It’s a bummer to learn about climate change. It’s a bummer to think about cancer. Ongoing human-caused mass extinctions are kind of depressing to think about, let alone acknowledge. In science lessons we teach our students that using critical thinking and evidence to create solutions might be the key to help solve some of the world problems.

Many students come to us from families and neighbourhoods where science is definitely not in the forefront, nor is it integrated into the social fabric of their communities. At reach we demonstrate that Science offers an opportunity to work on their own at home or with other people performing an experiment, that Science allows learning, organising information, making links between ideas and understanding the big picture that is the world past, present and future.