Cannons were shooting, sparks were flying and hair was standing on end at Prince Rupert Middle School last Wednesday when two Science World Vancouver representatives took their On the Road program to seven different schools in Prince Rupert and Port Edward last week.
Science facilitators Mack Gordon and Kat Hamill thrilled Prince Rupert Middle School (PRMS) students and teachers with an ‘Earth, Wind and Science’ presentation – a fiery and electric look at the effects of different types of weather.
“We go into lightning, thunder, we go into snow, we go into rain. We talk about a few different things like that and how this stuff works,” Gordon said before the show.
For the younger students, the facilitators switch it up with ‘How2Science’ and ‘Fantastic Forces’ presentations that dive into the process of observing, hypothesizing and testing predictions in the scientific process, as well as exploring the forces of gravity, drag, friction, push and pull.
The On the Road tour originally began in 2005 and ran until 2012 with funding support from the government and private donors.
In that time, the teams at Science World visited more than 1,000 schools in towns and cities across the province.
But eventually that funding was eliminated and the program sat stagnant for a few years before the 2016-17 season, when Science World Vancouver decided to forward its own funds to put the show back on the road in a more modest format.
This year, the teams are visiting 27 communities, including Prince Rupert, Terrace, Kitimat and Haida Gwaii. They visited seven different schools on the North Coast last week.
“I think it’s great to show these kids exciting things about science because it’s always important to enable the youth to think that science is cool, so that they can do experiments themselves. Then they can start to move into those fields and then we can populate our scientists here in British Columbia,” Gordon said.
Hamill, charming the students with her accent and humour, got things started by holding a flame in her hand before throwing it to the ground in a large fireball, instantly captivating the middle-schoolers.
From there, the duo showed off the science behind wind, rain, snow and thunder and lightning – with the electric display proving to be a fitting hair-raising finale.
Volunteers were able to get in on the action and there were no shortage of hands shooting up in the air to take part.
“It’s been pretty great. The kids get pretty excited,” Gordon said.
Next up for the team are a few shows in Terrace and then a short drive to Kitimat.