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Have chemistry, will travel.

Have Chemistry, Will Travel

After his retirement from the chemistry department of the University of British Columbia, Douglas Hayward, FCIC, discovered the Three Laws of Retirement: stay healthy, spend money and do only what you want to do. One thing he really wants to do it to bring the wonder of chemistry to as many elementary school students as possible. Since 1986, when he started his travelling chemistry show, Hayward has been to more than 400 classes at some 80 schools and talked to over 10,000 students. And, the number keeps raising.

When he started, Hayward says he instituted four taboos: no stinks, no bangs, no magic and no politics which left him with a lot of safe, inexpensive and fun things for children to do. His demonstrations are aimed at students in Grades 4 to 7, after that Hayward says, if they're not interested, it's too late.

In his years of doing his chemistry show, Hayward has been faced with handling everything from a kindergarten class on up. But he will admit to only one absolute disaster and that was the first demonstration that he gave. It was at the William Bridge Elementary School in Richmond, BC. The most satisfying lecture, Hayward says, was one school where he found that a large portion of his audience was the school's teachers. He said that the principal of that school had told the teachers that anyone who wanted could get a substitute and attend Hayward's lecture themselves. He says nearly every teacher in the school was at the lecture.

Hayward doesn't just restrict himself to Vancouver and area. He's gone all over the province of BC, including the far flung communities of Fort St. John and Williams Lake.

The Schedule

When he goes to a school, Hayward spends the morning in one class and the afternoon in another. At lunch he is in the teachers' lounge half of the time and out in the yard the other half, talking to the kids. He sticks to this pattern whenever he goes out-of-town. Of the five-day week, Hayward spends three at schools and the other two days seeing anything of a chemical interest in the area. Anything that he finds gets passed along to his students. He also makes a point of bringing a general chemistry textbook as a gift to the school library and `budding scientists'.

His reputation has spread and his visits are anticipated by the students. On one trip, Hayward says, he found that the whole school had saved him a parking space. And his car is easy to spot: Hayward has a personalized license plate that says `DIY-CIC'.

There are a number of people who help Hayward in his efforts to get science into the schools. They include Hugh Godard, a former director of research from Alcan's laboratories in Kingston, Frances Bates, a physics teacher (Hayward says he uses her as a role model for the girls in the classes he attends) and Gordon Bates, MCIC, a chemistry professor at UBC.

Spreading the Word

The `Do-It-Yourself' chemistry video is put out by the Vancouver Local Section of the CIC and Hayward says proudly that he invented it. The video has been so popular that a second edition has been prepared and is now available from Bates at UBC.

BC has a programme called `The Scientist in the Schools' (see April'89, p.9 and January'89, p.10) and Hayward, who helped get it started, says that over 100 scientists visited BC schools in 1989/90.

As well, Hayward has been the chairman of the Vancouver and lower mainland science fair for the past nine years.

PHOTO : Doug Hayward, FCIC (right) and Gordon Bates, MCIC (left) are shown here in front of Hayward's car with the personalized license plate `DIY-CIC' (see inset).
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Title Annotation:Douglas Hayward and his traveling chemistry show
Publication:Canadian Chemical News
Date:Jul 1, 1990
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