Curiosity Club Year 1 Reflections

This past year, ONCA, along with Trust for Developing Communities and MakerClub, started developing Curiosity Club.

Supported by a grant from Children in Need and Wellcome Trust, Curiosity Club is a space for young people in East Brighton to mix technology and art to create solutions for climate change and biodiversity protection. During the course of the year, in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, our little project changed and evolved a lot – but we were lucky enough to find some young students who stuck with us along the way!

PHASE ONE: After school club at Longhill High

After TDC facilitated some taster sessions at their youth clubs in East Brighton, we began weekly after school Curiosity Club meetings at Longhill High School. The sessions at Longhill were full of fun getting-to-know-you activities, crafting and experimentation with coding. Sadly, after only a few meetings, we went into the first lockdown which meant the group’s journey had to be put on hold until October. 

PHASE TWO: On board the Barge 

In October we restarted Curiosity Club on board ONCA’s lovely Barge space. These sessions were focused on looking at the scientific method and using its different processes to understand the world around us. We focused on the initial steps of the scientific process: observation, questioning and experimentation.

First, we looked for objects and life within the Marina and on its neighbouring beaches to get an idea of the environment and biodiversity of lovely East Brighton. We discovered many different kinds of rocks, plants and even sea life!

Using our observational data, codes of conduct and other notes, we created the Thinkatorium – our space for creative science – on the lower deck of the Barge.

After our initial observations, we decided to conduct some experiments to dig deeper into the local environment. For our first experiment, we created pollution catchers and put them up in varying locations around the Marina. The students also made some at home, to see what kind of pollutants they were catching in their own backyards and neighbourhoods. Our second experiment was looking at different kinds of beach rocks from the inside out, which involved smashing stuff with hammers (wearing safety goggles, of course). 

Again, we must postpone our new year’s plans due to Covid, but when we come back together we are very eager to continue the work we’ve started, creating student-led inquiry into how science, technology and art can equip young people with tools to help each other and the world.