Chapter 2B: Nanaimo, BC

Our second stop on the tour was in the city of Nanaimo. Yes, home to the delicious Nanaimo bar. Besides munching on these delicious treats, we spent our days connecting with the students at Cedar Community Secondary School which only recently re-opened. Technically, this school is just outside of Nanaimo and located in Cedar, BC. We were reminded of this fact as the students shouted a prideful “Cedar!” instead of “Nanaimo!” during the innovation presentation.

The set-up for this venue was fairly simple since the presentation and exhibit space were right next to each other. We were also able to load everything into the gym directly from the back which was helpful, despite a minor delay with a bar in the doorway. Thankfully, we are getting much faster at unloading and building the exhibit, which is good because it’s only going to get harder once we hit real winter up north! I wonder how much the winter elements will slow us down – hopefully not too much!
Larger exhibits were denied entry into the gym

Larger exhibits were denied entry into the gym

Since this was a small school, only one presentation was done for the entire school – props to Nick who did a fantastic job! Students and teachers were very engaged during the interactive segment. They were eager to share how they came up with a way to tackle the problem they were given. While this part of the presentation was short, people seemed to wake up and pay attention during this segment. To me, this observation underscores the importance of engaging with the audience. Note: pictures of students could not be taken since they did not sign media release forms, so this post won’t have too many photos.

Due to logistics and the low number of senior high school students in the new school,  the exhibit welcomed more grade 6-8 students than usual. This was an interesting experience because although they were drawn in by the novelty of some aspects of the exhibit, their attention span was short. Since physics is not covered in class until high school, they were not as engaged as some of the high school students that I have seen. Perimeter Institute has now created a scavenger hunt which helps visitors navigate through the exhibit. While it helps some students, I can’t help and wonder whether or not students are actually learning any content since they’re so worried about finding the answer.

Although I didn’t give a presentation this time around, I wandered around the exhibit space to find some students to participate in my cue card activity. I asked students to write down issues that matter to them or an idea that they would come up with to solve a problem they see. Personally, I think it’s always easier to come up with problems than answers. I have seen that through this activity. Even though these students are a decade younger than I am, it seems that they are aware of problems that exist in our society. So, how do we come up with a way to address them?
issues-nanaimo
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