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Winning Hearts and Minds with Super Science Club

Super Science Club (SSC), our program for underserved schools and community centres, is made possible by generous donors and partners like HSBC Bank Canada.


This year, Super Science Club (SSC) turns 20. And though the Science World after-school program has had a major transformation, its goal has never been more clear: “To spark curiosity and a love for science in kids from underserved schools and community centres,” says program specialist Kiki Kirkpatrick.  

One of those community centres is Ray-Cam Cooperative Centre in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. Every week, kids in their after-school program got to access SSC thanks to the shift into virtual and remote learning.

Kiki says, “The biggest triumph this year has been figuring out it’s possible to develop and maintain deep connections with students when we're online.” 

Jason Datt, a Youth Programmer at Ray-Cam Cooperative Centre, says SSC  has ignited wonder in the kids who participate in virtual sessions after school.  

To Jason's surprise, the kids' favourite SSC activity explored the topic of computer coding, with tablets borrowed from Science World. In an online session, SSC facilitators taught the young participants how to program a simple game.  

"They absolutely loved it," Jason says. "They had so much fun, and learned so much, and kept coding long after the session ended. I don't think I've seen them that excited before!"  

SSC is made possible by donors and supporters, like HSBC Bank Canada. "We share a passion with Science World for helping people develop new skills and achieve their full potential,” says Kim Hallwood, Head of Corporate Sustainability. "SSC ignites curiosity for science and helps to build key future skills.”

Winning Hearts and Minds 

This year’s theme of Super Science Club is, appropriately, “Connections, big and small.”  

The idea is that—no matter what’s happening in the world—science helps us make connections with ourselves, our peers, and our environments. Weekly sessions explore connections among molecules, blocks of code, and even humans.

Program specialist Kiki Kirkpatrick says, “A lot of learning has been stressful this year with all of these new changes. It’s so important to be able to have a connection with students, and to allow students to have connections with each other in fun and curious ways.” 

In the first week, SSC participants create mindful jars. The simple ingredients combine to form a powerful teaching tool whose value extends beyond the virtual classroom.  

As the kids construct their jars (with materials provided by Science World), they learn about the scientific concept of density. After, facilitators guide them through an introduction to mindfulness, which Kiki says is helping some of them deal with big emotions.  

During one session, a student held up their jar and said, “This is a really stressful time. And you know what? My family would really be helped by this mindful jar. Because we’re moving. And there’s COVID. And I think my family could really use this.” 

The Humanity of Science 

Kiki emphasizes that these brave moments of connection happen more on a digital platform than one might assume: “When you engage the kids where they’re at, the barrier of the screen dissolves.”  

Later, a parent followed up to express the activity’s impact: “To link the difficult times during the pandemic to a science experiment, allowing participants to create a thought jar, that gesture truly demonstrated the humanity of science. Thank you so much for this invaluable program.”  

For 2 decades, SSC has reached thousands of underserved kids, but this year might be the most important yet.  

“The pandemic has been challenging for everyone, but especially for those already facing barriers. SSC fosters connection where it's needed most,” says Kim from HSBC Bank Canada.

Kiki says: “Having a dedicated program with enthusiastic people presenting cool science and being able to create things together, alongside each other, even though we are virtual, it’s so important. It allows students to have a creative and collaborative outlet that they might not get as much of this year, at a time when they really need it.” 


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