Gore makes science real
Gordon Gore, a former Kamloops high school teacher and founder of the Big Little Science Centre, was honoured on Saturday, May 26, for his ability to make science come alive.
Gore received the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada Award for the promotion of science.
The award is given annually to people who have made outstanding contributions in generating interest in the subject, which Gore has spent his entire career doing.
He has been teaching for six decades, he has written books on physics and he started what is arguably his biggest contribution, the Big Little Science Centre.
Gore accepted the award at the centre’s new home in the former George Hilliard elementary building on the North Shore, where he spoke to a crowd of about 75 people.
Former colleagues and students were among those in attendance, while Mayor Peter Milobar and Kamloops-North Thompson Liberal MLA Terry Lake spoke.
UBC professors Alice and Barb Mui also attended the ceremony.
The sisters graduated from Westsyde secondary in the early 1980s, when Gore taught them physics.
Gore was a teacher at Westsyde from 1972 to 1986.
Alice and Barb said Gore was an inspirational teacher, adding they are two of five Westsyde graduates from that era who became professors at UBC in science or medicine. Barb teaches biochemistry and Alice teaches immunology.
“He made us see that science is part of everyday life,” Alice said. “It’s nothing spooky or scary or hard. It’s everywhere.”
Gore is best known for the Big Little Science Centre, which has expanded from one room at David Thompson elementary to the six rooms used today at the former George Hilliard elementary.
The centre has hosted about 100,000 visitors since it opened in 2000.
“Teachers bring their classes here because we have the facilities, the equipment and the expertise to provide science experiments that are not readily available in the typical classroom,” said Gore during his acceptance speech.
He said it was an honour to receive his national award, which came with a $10,000 prize, which Gore is donating to the Big Little Science Centre.
He said when it comes to teaching science, the best way is to show, rather than tell, noting experiments and hands-on education works much better than memorizing notes on a board.
“Just make it real, that’s all,” Gore said. “The main thing is [to] make it real.
The award is one of many Gore has received during his teaching career. These include the 2005 Lifetime Achievement Award from the B.C. Association of Physics Teachers and the B.C. Science Teacher of the Year Award.