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Why study science?

Learning in science feeds off curiosity

Science is about asking good questions, suggesting possible explanations, and then testing them to see if they make sense. Science gives us a process for exploring anything and everything in the physical and natural world, whether this means observing cave wetas in their natural habitat, tracking ice floes in Antarctica, finding ways to harness tidal energy, or discovering new chemicals in native plants.

Science seeks to answer such questions as: What triggers puberty? How can we prevent Alzheimer's disease? How can we reduce the methane emissions from dairy herds? Can the position of our bellybutton predict our athletic ability? Is ours the only universe? What powers quasars?

For lots of other questions to get you thinking, see So much more (Science, 1 July 2005).

Learning in science encourages critical thinking

Studying science improves our ability to understand today's big issues, make informed decisions and assess the credibility, reliability, and validity of what we see and hear. Science helps us sift facts from nonsense.

Science knowledge is important for everyday living

Studying science provides a foundation for understanding the world and helps us develop scientific skills, attitudes and values that enable us to make links 'between scientific knowledge and everyday decisions and actions' (The New Zealand Curriculum, page 28).

Science knowledge drives innovation

Ideas generated today will lead to solutions, practical applications, and new challenges tomorrow. Science knowledge gives us tools to tackle big issues such as climate change and global warming and diabetes and obesity. Although scientific knowledge is continually changing, the skills gained from studying science are life-long.

Learning in science opens up career opportunities

Many of today's careers require a background in science. Science opens doors into fields such as forensics, laser technologies, bioengineering, astronomical exploration, food science, environmental management, medicine, pharmacology, engineering, and architecture – and into other fields such as commerce and administration where the analytical and problem-solving skills learned in science are critical.

Science skills are needed in every industry, often in unexpected ways, whether it be discovering a new food flavour, a better way to curl hair, a smoother beauty cream, or a crisper video display, or whether it be deciphering ancient hieroglyphs or evaluating the economics of rocket ships. Learning in science prepares you for jobs that don't yet exist.

Last updated August 15, 2012



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