Eight Campbell River elementary schools and two schools in Gold River were treated to some educational entertainment this week as On The Road teams from Science World in Vancouver came to our area.
The teams visited Gold River Elementary and Ray Watkins Elementary in Gold River on Monday before taking up shop in the gymnasiums of Georgia Park, École Deux Mondes, École Willow Point Elementary School, Ocean Grove, Sandowne, Cedar, Pinecrest and Campbell River Christian School throughout the rest of the week.
The On The Road crews deliver three different sessions, depending on the ages of those they are preforming for.
The first is called “Earth Wind & Science,” where they interactively talk and demonstrate different scientific phenomena that go into producing different types of weather.
The second is called “Fantastic Forces,” where they explore the physics of the world, talking about subjects like friction, gravity and energy transfer. The third session available, “How2Science,” explains and demonstrates how scientists do what they do, from observation to prediction to testing.
“It definitely gives it a spin towards the exiting,” says On The Road presenter Mack Gordon before their morning performance at L’École Willow Point Elementary School on Wednesday. “We definitely favour making it fun and entertaining over making sure they know the science down to a tee. It’s big and flashy and loud.”
The way they make it exiting is by sending the crews out to the schools in pairs of one actual scientist and one “performer.”
“Nicola (Grice) is an actual scientist,” Gordon says with a laugh.” She has a real, actual PhD in chemistry. I have a PhD in nothing. I have a bachelor of fine arts degree in applied theatre.”
But you can certainly see why Science World sets their teams up this way. Gordon certainly did his part to engage the kids. He and Grice played off each other’s strengths, with Gordon performing “magic” tricks, being boisterous and somewhat playful as Grice explained what was actually happening with scientific terms – but not in a stuffy, formal way.
The traveling performances and demonstrations, Gordon says, “are an opportunity to just make sure that every kid in the province has access to science in a fun way.”
L’École Willow Point Elementary School Principal Louise Guevremont says she was thrilled with the response and enthusiasm from the students at the presentations.
“Every time the presenters asked for volunteers, just about all students raised their hands,” Guevremont says. “It’s not only about what they saw at the show, but also about triggering their curiosity to want to find out more.”
The On The Road program began in 2005 and ran for seven years under provincial funding and reached more than 1.3 million British Columbians, Science World says, through over 1,000 visits to communities around the province.
Although they had to take a hiatus due to lack of provincial funding, they are back at it now, thanks to redirecting funds internally to relaunch the program and get the performers and scientists back on the road.
For more on Science World’s On The Road program, go online to scienceworld.ca/ontheroad