Science show celebrates life of Kamloops teacher who made subject fun for countless kids

·2 min read
Science teacher Gordon Gore, who founded the Big Little Science Centre in Kamloops, B.C., died last November at the age of 82. (Facebook - image credit)
Science teacher Gordon Gore, who founded the Big Little Science Centre in Kamloops, B.C., died last November at the age of 82. (Facebook - image credit)

It was a celebration of life like no other — a one-day show filled with science experiments in memory of the award-winning teacher Gordon Gore.

On Sunday, Gore's friends and family gathered at the Big Little Science Centre in downtown Kamloops, B.C., to perform his favourite demonstrations, as they honoured the educator's will to host a cheerful remembrance event at the facility he founded instead of a funeral.

Gore died six days before his 83rd birthday on Nov. 17, 2020. The Order of British Columbia recipient had taught science at several secondary schools across the province for four decades until his retirement in 1990.

In 2000, Gore built the first Big Little Science Centre inside a room of David Thompson Elementary School in Kamloops' Westsyde neighbourhood. The facility moved several times until it secured its current location at 458 Seymour St.

Gord Stewart, the centre's executive director, remembers Gore as a passionate educator who loved to teach science with hands-on experiments instead of books.

"He would take a toy from the toy store and demonstrate a principle of physics with it," Stewart told CBC's Jenifer Norwell. "He'd come in regularly to the science centre with this new toy he'd found in the grocery store or somewhere."

TRU
TRU

At the memorial on Sunday, Stewart performed the "pouring sound" experiment — heating a long vertical metal pipe with a Bunsen burner to create a sound as a result of the rising vibrating air particles, and then positioning the pipe horizontally over a wine glass to suppress the rising hot air and the sound it makes.

Jenifer Norwell/CBC
Jenifer Norwell/CBC

Retired University of Manitoba chemistry professor David McKinnon — who has made Kamloops home since 2001 — demonstrated how fireworks work. He says he took his grandchildren to watch Gore's science show at David Thompson school.

"I was so impressed with his easy rapport with the kids and the way he presented things and just how he made science fun," McKinnon said.

Jenifer Norwell/CBC
Jenifer Norwell/CBC

In 2015, Gore received the Meritorious Service Medal from the governor general for his achievements in turning science into entertainment for thousands of Kamloops kids.

Jennifer Gore remembers her uncle as a lifetime learner.

"He was a very avid golfer for many years, which fits in really well with his photography habit," she said. "He ended up spending many, many hours on the dunes of the golf course, taking pictures of the animals there."

Jenifer Norwell/CBC
Jenifer Norwell/CBC

Mary-Ann Schroeder and her husband were friends with Gore, who taught their children at Westsyde Secondary. She says holding a science show was a wonderful way to celebrate his legacy.

"He would have loved this," she said. "He's just looking down and thinking: 'This is the greatest party ever.'"

Jenifer Norwell/CBC
Jenifer Norwell/CBC

LISTEN︱CBC's Jenifer Norwell visits the science show celebrating Gordon Gore's life:

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