SAAO - South African Astronomical Observatory

Introduction


What are science clubs?

Science clubs are organizations (in our case based at a particular school) intended to provide opportunities for students to explore science. The clubs are usually initiated by an educator/learners at a particular school, science communicator/educator / parent or a scientist/engineer. No two clubs are the same, mainly because they are run by different people, in different environments, for different children and while some clubs focus on science broadly, others focus a particular field e.g. astronomy, physics or biotechnology. Certainly all science clubs fuel the wonder and the joy of learning science in interactive, fun, informative, challenging and informal ways.


Our context as a country

Our country generally suffers from low levels of scientific literacy, increasingly declining numbers of learners doing mathematics and science on a higher grade and hence very low numbers of learners taking up science, engineering and technology studies at tertiary education level. There is also a great need to increase the number of quality, inspired and qualified science educators. Those educators already in service are faced with larger classes, teaching overload, adapting to the curriculum change, learner discipline problems and extra mural activities. They have limited opportunities to focus on deepening and broadening the science they teach.


Our strengths in South Africa

The existence of science centers, science museums, observatories, planetarium and aquaria serve to ignite the spark of the beauty, utility and power of science however this is left to the individual learners, educators and parents to transform the initial excitement to a solid interest in science. Science clubs can alleviate the challenges we face!