Wednesday, September 9, 2009

1st day, 1st field trip

We kicked off our school year yesterday by visiting the new CT Science Center, a wonderful state-of-the-art hands-on learning facility smack dab in the heart of Hartford. I was delighted to find that we had the place almost entirely to ourselves, other than a handful of other homeschoolers including the friends we were meeting there. There was no waiting for anything. Here the kids are each enjoying their own roomy space module seats, watching a program about space on their own large-screen HD TV.

In a room on forces, J juggles beach balls with a stream of air. (The goal was to shoot the ball through the hoop.) Behind him is a train layout where the kids designed electro-magnetic trains and raced them on the tracks against each other and the clock.

They spent a lot of time designing helicopters from paper, paper cups, and cardboard scraps and launching them on these air pads. This is J and his friend O launching their paper helicopters. Zoo Boy actually designed and constructed the most stable craft, which hovered above the table, just out of everyone's reach, for quite awhile.

Speaking of the boy, here he is in the sound and light room, manipulating sound waves paired with laser depictions. It was like listening to a rap DJ on some seriously bad drugs. Or, as J said, "It was very strange music to be sure." But Zoo Boy was REALLY into it, as well as all of the musical and sound stations.

J really enjoyed building a lengthy marble roller coaster in the visiting exhibit on speed. Zoo Boy spent his time in the room making cartoons with stop-action photography, listening to and watching programs about auto racing, and practicing his moves on the ski-simulator. I spent most of my time drag-racing model cars with the room attendant -- as in most rooms, we were the only visitors during our time there.

Oh, and I also posted the all-time high score on the "Finger Speed" exhibit. I hit that red button 183 times during a 5 second span, smashing the old high score of 166. (23 is the score that Zoo Boy got.) There are advantages to being hyperactive....

I asked the kids what they liked best. Surprisingly (because I thought it was the least impressive section of the museum), both of them liked the energy efficiency exhibits. Zoo Boy really liked the 20 minutes film/show that we saw about climate change (narrated by a talking sheep), and J enjoyed the exhibits where he worked on designing a 'greener' home. (In fact, he was running calculations this morning on his Magnadoodle to decide whether putting up awnings or replacing our windows would be more energy efficient.)

Glad we're members -- we'll be back at least once a month throughout the school year (J is signed up for a series of homeschool classes on properties of matter), possibly more often, because it really is a cool place to hang out for the afternoon.

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