Science classes often bring to mind Bunsen burners and chemicals igniting when mixed. More adventurous schools extended their biology classes to the dissection of frogs. It's not surprising that science in schools paved the way for hands-on learning. Because, after all, professions such as pharmacy, medicine or engineering require a grounding in practice and theory. Science students - much like those taking arts and crafts or music - are actively involved in the learning process. By so doing, youngsters tend to understand things better - and remember concepts longer. As the process is also more stimulating and enjoyable for the student, it's only natural that such child-centred learning has been adopted in the teaching of other subjects. 'Whether doing science or maths or technology, they are engaged in hands-on activities,' says Mackie Mack, business development manager at Science Workshop, which offers an activity-based curriculum that is designed to engage students in a way that they don't always get in a traditional classroom setting. Programmes closely follow what students study at school. There is an emphasis on main ideas and key techniques with programmes targeted at all levels - from kindergarten to secondary school. 'We supplement school curricula,' Mack says. 'Whether US, British or International Baccalaureate, we supplement them all with hands-on activities.' For the past decade, Science Workshop has positioned itself as the first off-school educational institution in Hong Kong to provide programmes with activities that integrate science, mathematics and technology. About 1,000 students are at its three centres, which also offer programmes aimed at kindergartens, on school campuses and at clubs and recreational centres. Some classes take place while school is in session, others are after hours. The Australian International School, the Canadian International School of Hong Kong, Diocesan Boys' School, Stephen's College, and Raimondi College are among the schools offering its programmes. The American Club Hong Kong, the Chinese Recreation Club, the Hong Kong Country Club, the Hong Kong Federation of Youth Groups and the Hong Kong Jockey Club also use its services.