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Education Category

Telescope Fever

bc-astronomy-nixon-100720.jpgLook to the stars!  Not the easiest thing to do in Vancouver for much of the year, but when it's clear the night sky does not disappoint.  Unfortunately, I am afraid that doing stories about stargazing has always disappointed me.  Television cameras never quite capture the awe inspiring majesty and brilliance that all those constellations and planets give to the human eye.  Pointing our lens into a telescope lens has worked no better.  But looking into a telescope yourself at the heavens is always worthwhile.  It's so big and we're so small. 

Given the technical problem of astronomy TV stories, it's always a challenge to do them justice.  Too dark to film the stars, murky sky buffs moving amongst the shadows - illuminated by our 'sun guns', which kind of defeats the whole purpose.   But when Simon Fraser University told me they were having a daytime sun gazing session, I said count me in.  Scientists there are trying to raise money for an innovative school outreach centre to attract young minds to science at an early age.  Had it existed in my day, perhaps I'd be a scientist now.  Nah, would never happen.  Sunny 'Scopes icon_video.gif

Mechanics Camp

bc-mechanic-nixon-100713.jpgThe law of the land states that people cannot discriminate against others on the basis of sex, race, religion, etc.  That principle of fairness has helped transform Canada into a much more fair and egalitarian society than existed when I was born in the 1950s.  Yet, rules that prevent barriers to entry being erected have not necessarily changed certain occupations from changing all that much.  Take auto mechanics, where women are as free as men to learn a trade that pays pretty good coin.  Yet, it still remains pretty much a male preserve.  Laws can change quickly, attitudes take longer.  But increasingly schools play a role in nudging those attitudes along.  Like this innovative camp for high school kids.  Diesel Class icon_video.gif

Crime Scene Class

bc-bodies-nixon-100413.jpgI love a good corpse as much as the next guy.  That does not mean I want to pour over the possible reasons why a live body became a dead one.  But apparently many people do and not just professional forensic investigators.  To satisfy that desire the Vancouver Police Museum has scheduled a series of workshops on some aspects of crime scene investigation.  Open to the public, no need to wear rubber boots. 

Even if you do not plan on attending these workshops, a visit to the Museum is quite interesting.  Oh the stories 15-thousand dead people can tell.  Forensic Workshop icon_video.gif

Alice in Wonderland

bc-alice-nixon-100330.jpgMy father in law, who lives in the U.S., is addicted to a weekend TV show called Book Time.  In it, a fellow talks with an author for at least an hour about a latest novel or non-fiction work he or she has written.  Just the two of them.  Paul, my father-in-law, loves the show because he has lived his life in the world of ideas and two people thrashing out ideas on TV is, to him, pretty good theatre. 

Me?  I kinda get antsy watching two folks do nothing but talk on TV.  Nothing is happening.  Ideas are great, but I would rather read a transcript of their discussion.  I love books, the printed word. 

I mention all this because I occasionally make TV stories about books.  They are quite difficult.  Aside from pages turning, not much happens visually with books.  But when the Rare Books folks at the University of British Columbia called so say they had a very big collection of Alice in Wonderland material, I had to head over.  So a story about books follows.  However, I should mention the UBC Rare Book section is very much worth a visit.  It is open to the public and has a fabulous display of material concerning the early European exploration of British Columbia.  Rare Books icon_video.gif 


Edmonton Murder

edm-100314-david-burns.jpgAs a reporter I have covered many murders over the years, though my current beat generally deals with more pleasing matters.  But when I read about the tragic shooting of two people at an Edmonton car dealership over the weekend, I recognized the name of the killer.  Dave Burns had worked there and killed himself.  Could it be the same Dave Burns I went to high school with back in Winnipeg in the 1970s?  The one who stabbed another teen to death at a social in 1974? 

On Sunday, I found out that, yes, it was the same Dave Burns. 

I did not know Dave well.  He was in my Chemistry class in Grade 11 at Grant Park High School.  He was not a bright student, even worse in chemistry than I was.  At some point he had had been put back a year because he was a year or so older than the rest of the kids.  He was a scary guy, brooding, angry, with eyes that made the rest of us wary.  Tales were told about him, about how he beat up other kids.  I did not know if any of those stories were true but I kept my distance.   


Pizzazz Teaching

bc-science-nixon-100124.jpgScience World may be closed until March the eighth - but the show must go on for its annual Iron Science Teacher competition.  If you, like me, did not know there have been previous contests to choose the most informative and entertaining science teaching team in B.C., then have no fear!  Because - our top camera crews here at CBC managed to track down this year's event, not through deductive reasoning or wild guesswork.  No folks, we simply followed the instructions on the press release which directed us to the MacMillan Space Centre - also known as the planetarium.  Iron Science Teacher icon_video.gif

Christian Bookstore

bc-christian-nixon-net.jpgA visit to Pilgrim Book and Bible in Vancouver where the last minute shopping rush is on even as people reflect on the meaning of Christmas.  I must say I have rarely been to so friendly a place.  Holy Day Sales  icon_video.gif

Crossing Guard

bc-guard-nixon-091218.jpgLike most of you, I'm one of those pedestrians who prefers only the briefest engagement with traffic.  At crossing signals, I wait for the pedestrian light to come on, make sure all the cars and trucks are stopped and then dash across the road.  If there's no signal, I make sure the cars have gone past me or remain a fair distance off before I dash across the road.  Dashing across roads is part of the routine, along with look both ways, and so on.  Never failed me yet. 

I say all this because it's one thing to briefly pick one's spots in the uneven contest between my beefcake and a few tons of metal and quite another to be responsible for taking on that traffic two hours every day as a school crossing guard.   Particularly on a busy street with no reduced speed signs.   After watching one such guard in action, I came away with a renewed respect for the valuable work these folk do,  and the dangers they face in ensuring kids get to class.  No wonder she received accolades that day.   Award Winner icon_video.gif

School Breakfast

It's foodbank week here at the CBC and I got the pleasure of doing a number of stories about this vital service.  Here's the first - most people know how foodbanks work - people donate food, the food gets collected at the warehouse and then given to needy people.  But as I discovered, that's not all there is to it. 

Classic Car

Here's a story about some folks who decided they would not turn their backs on high school drop-outs.  They knew that once a kid leaves school before finishing grade 12 - there's not alot out there to help them get the training needed to obtain good, interesting jobs. 

Soccer Robots

Take ten engineering students from a bunch of disciplines, add an insane amount of hours, thousands of lines of computer code. 

Lost Ball

One of the exciting dramas played out every day on the schoolgrounds of North America.  Yet how many get recorded by TV cameras? 

Eagle Cam Fever

They're back, and bigger than ever.  B.C. eagle cams waiting for the eggs to hatch at three separate locations. 

A Toss Up

Is this the best catapult ever built?  And if it is, what then?  Let's not put our blinkers on for this one folks.