Monday, March 28, 2011

Road-Schooling IV - Museum of Science and Industry

Many of my posts have focused on the connections that happen when life and learning are meshed together.  They never get old for me.  I am always amazed.  Check this out.....

in front of the man-made tornado
experiencing 80mph winds

We drove into Chicago today to visit the Museum of Science and Industry.  I was very excited to see Grace’s reaction to the exhibit: The Science of Storms.  She was kind of under-whelmed.  She has watched so many videos about weather from hurricanes, to tsunamis and tornados.  She can name her favorite storm chasers and her heroes are the meteorologists from!  Seeing a man-made spinning column of air was like seeing the tornado at the bottom of the bathtub drain.  I was hoping the whole museum would not be a let down for her......until I realized what IMAX movie we were seeing: Tornado Alley.  They IMAX movie that the cast and crew of Discovery Channel’s Storm Chaser series spend hours trying to capture.  We knew the whole history that led to the making of this movie!  It was the perfect way to capitalize on a year-long independent study of weather!  Unfortunately I had to take Lilah out of the movie because the sound, scope and sensations of being in motion were too much for her little body to handle.  Grace loved it!  She felt like she was the only person in the sold-out theater who “knew” Sean Casey.  It was like she knew him personally.  That is learning.

Lilah the human hamster....
Then as the girls were running like hamsters on a giant human-sized wheel, I happened to hear the music playing through the speaker system.  I asked the girls to identify it....The Sorcer’s Apprentice!  Those of you who have been reading, know that we just studied that as part of Ancient Greece......  That is learning.
We skipped the body exhibit but throughout the museum were bits and pieces of learning about the human body.  I had to point out the classic display of the non-smoker’s lungs vs. a smoker’s lungs.  One more anti-smoking point to drive home.  Next to the lungs were a regular sized liver and a grotesquely enlarged one due to alcohol consumption.  I pointed out who bad excessive drinking is as well.  But what was pretty cool was the display of the human vascular system.  I pointed out the sign Vasculature.  I asked the girls what we have learned about regarding a vascular system.  Grace rolled her eyes at me and replied, botany...vascular plants.  Duh Mom!  Score!  That is learning!

Normally I would have no interest in the Circus display.  I have never liked the circus and have only seen one performance when I was a child.  Lilah has asked to go, but I just don’t want to go see the animals forced to perform for the enjoyment of the patrons.  This display caught my attention because it reminded me of a book I just read...Water for Elephants.  It was a beautiful display of what circus life was like and it reminded me of certain scenes in the book.  I guess I learned something today as well!

Lastly, Lilah loves all things faerie.  She has many books about building faerie houses, has read countless books with fairies as main or secondary characters.   She writes letters to fairies, leaves gifts for fairies and is certain that they reside under every mushroom in our yard.  Low and behold we discovered a faerie castle in the museum today.  It was tucked into a far corner.  My friend did not even know it’s existence.  I happened to overhear someone mention it and we set out to find it.  It was stunning.  It inspired Lilah to begin to build a real faerie castle upon our return home.  That is learning!

the exterior of the faerie castle

interior of the castle....
I love sharing this experience with my girls.  I love that today was like an end-of-year celebration of the time we have spent learning at home this year.  It was one of the best museum experiences I have had with my girls.  Learning is simply amazing!!!

hanging out while Grace was in the IMAX


Theresa said...

That is so AWESOME!!! How it all just pulled together like that!! I love how that happens!! It's so cool!!! SO COOL!

Can you believe we are almost at the end of the first year of homeschooling our girls???

btw, I feel the same way about the circus and zoos as well.

karisma said...

I just love it when learning comes full circle like that. Sometimes I forget things the boys have learned and then they will just pop out some expanded knowledge on a subject and remind me that we do learn so much at home.

Your science museum looks awesome! I would love to go and play there! :-)

Jessica said...

We were not able to see the whole museum in the 4+ hours we were there. By three the kids were getting cranky and it was time to head home. Tomorrow we head to the Shed!

mamak said...

This is why I love road trips! I love all the great places that we duck into while we are in new teritory. That museum looks phenomenal. I bet Grace was blown away by the movie!

Karen said...

Love that museum! We have something similar here but yours seems much cooler. I love the IMAX story re. Grace. :) I am the same way though, when I 'love' something and hear someone else mention it I feel so superior. ;)

One more example of how Kei and Lilah are alike. Kei has built fairy houses her whole life. She writes stories and letters to them too. If we ever see a fairy ring [mushroom ring] I always let her out to dance in it and make a wish.

What a lovely trip you are having Jess!

H-Mama said...

oh my goodness. how exciting! :D

the body exhibit came in our area once recently. i think i would have to skip it as well.

this looks like an amazing museum. learning + fun = priceless. ;)

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