Sunday, December 9, 2012

FIELD TRIP!!! Ontario Science Center!

This week we didn't have a hike. For about 6 weeks I have been organizing a trip to the Ontario Science Center. We had 81 people there! That was just our group, there were AT LEAST 3 other LARGE groups from schools there, I wouldn't doubt if there were more. We arrived shortly before 10am. I was worried that since we had SO many families that were supposed to come that many would be late and it would be stressful. There was no need for me to worry, I had mentioned (at least once) in emails sent out to our homeschool group that we were going in at 10:15 at the latest and that everyone needed to be there by then. Everyone was! It did my heart so good. I can't thank everyone enough for showing up on time and being prepared. It was a good day for homeschoolers, I never came across one of our families whose children weren't behaving well and having fun. YA!!
  The pictures I have were taken by me and Mike. Sam wanted to bring his camera. We told him no. He asked why. We told him "This isn't a hike. This is a doing place, not a looking place." He didn't understand, after all, Mike and I were bringing cameras, why couldn't he?! Try as we might, he just couldn't wrap his head around it, he just had to take our word for it. I think in the long run he was glad he did.
  I will narrate as we progress through the pictures. Mike's and my pictures will be together throughout. Rather than just post mine than his, I will mix them and try and give you both perspectives through the day chronologically. :-) He got great pictures I didn't and I got some he didn't. It worked out well. So, without further ado, here is our trip to the Ontario Science Center on November 28th, 2012.
Right here you see a bunch of kids running around on the "water". There is a projection from the ceiling of a coy pond, as the kids run across it the water moves like they were stepping in it! Needless to say, this was a TON of fun for those involved. Funny thing was, Mike's camera took a picture of the reflection, mine didn't. When I took a picture you didn't see anything but kids running on the floor! Weirdest thing. I think it was my polarizing filter, it's supposed to remove surface glare, it did, I never saw anything on the surfaces I wanted to!
See? This is my picture of the kids running on the water. Good thing Mike was there with a camera that took pictures of it.

To the left of this area is a HUGE room (truth be told, they are all huge rooms!), but this particular huge room was the first stop on our tour of the Science Center. It was very hands on (well, again, the whole place was hands on), but this was the first hands on place we stopped at.
This is a replica of the Avro Arrow. For those of you not in the know, the Canadians built this beauty as an answer to the Americans and their endeavors at building a plane that could fly at super-sonic speeds. There's a great movie you can watch about it, very informative.
This is indeed what it looks like, a car hanging from the ceiling. Don't ask me what type of car, if it was labeled, I am WAY too short to have been able to see it and my zoom doesn't work THAT well! However, it looked cool, not a big fan of walking under vehicles suspended from any height though. :-)
This is Caleigh. She was standing at a mirror without her wings on. Yes, you read that right, her wings. The purpose of this mirror and the digital read out to the left is to see how many beats per minute she could beat her wings to give perspective on how fast birds beat their wings to keep them aloft.
Here she is with her wings! Isn't she a cute bird?

Among the many interesting things there is this small wall of computer screens. The purpose of these screens is to take a photo of someone at the station in front of them, then, using a picture of their face, the replace eyes and noses and mouths with those that are from other people. It's kind of funny. The kids really enjoyed it. Here are some photos.
This is Caleigh and Mike adding noses, mouths and eyes to a picture of her face. They use the touch screen in front of them and it ends up on the screens on the wall in front of them. Here are some of the faces that were done.
Honestly, at this point it's hard to tell who this is supposed to be. Especially with the mustache and the two different colored eyes.
This looks like the same person as above, sort of, but again, too hard to tell. I'm leaning toward Caleigh, but it could easily be someone else. What an awful mother, I can't even tell if it's my child when she has different people's features! :-)
This I know isn't one of my children. I have never had a child with 3 eyes.

I mentioned before that my camera didn't want to take pictures of anything with a reflection, well, all these screen shots were taken by Mike, this next one I took, mind you, it was of the SAME SCREENS! They were even on! You'll see my frustration.
BLANK SCREENS! There were all those faces on the screens, honest! But alas, it was not meant to be.

This next machine with all the pretty lights and the many children standing at it is a lot of fluff for a little something. The child (or adult) puts their hands on the copper hand holds. When this happens the rather large machine gets your heartbeat. As it relays to you your special number of heartbeats per minute, you hear a beating sound that is supposed to be your heart, you also see the lights on your side of the machine light up toward the top. There are four sides and four colors of lights. I say this is a lot of fluff because once you see the size of the machine, just to tell you your heart beat, it seems a little bit of overkill. I could just show them how to do the same thing with a watch and a couple of fingers.
Okay, four kids, four sides, green, blue, red and purple. They look excited don't they?! Here's the whole machine!
You don't see it lit up here, the kids are gone, but it's even taller than you see in the picture. It had to be upwards of 10ft tall, kid you not. For a heart beat! (well, 4 heart beats)
I'm not sure what the purpose of this was. It looked like bubbles rising to the top of metal strings hung from the ceiling. It was neat, it was pretty, did it serve a particular purpose other than that? I couldn't tell you. However, it was neat and pretty and large, can't forget large.
Here's a much darker picture of it, see the car behind it? This thing was HUGE!

One of the many challenges I faced taking pictures here was lighting. They were HUGE rooms and many were not really well lit. I had to play with my camera settings to be able to lighten the pictures some. Ulitmately I ended up lightening most of them on Adobe. However, I got some cool shots on some of the other settings. The one that was the coolest was the setting for twilight shots. It kept the shutter open longer to let in more light. When it did that movement was blurred. THAT makes for some neat pictures! I'm just letting you know now, the blurry pictures are supposed to be that way for artistic purposes, they're not bad, unfocused shots, they're artistic shots. ;-)
Here is one of my artistic shots. Notice that for some reason Sam is fairly in focus and the back isn't. Not sure why, but it's cool, so it was on purpose. :-)
Here again is Handsome Sam and Out Of Focus Background.
This is Joshua. He and Eva stuck together pretty well during out trip. For at least the first half she wouldn't let anyone but Joshua hold onto her, not even me! Joshua is 6. Joshua thought this was great! It was, until you weren't sure where either of them were!
Here we are in another room. This is one of those shots taken with artistic license. He's twirling around some barbells. I'm pretty sure they weighed at least 200lbs...... each. The purpose of this room was sports and it's scientific significance. It was neat, they had fun. Here's some of what they did.
I'm pretty sure her barbells weigh almost as much as Sam's. We have strong kids. They might have been exposed to gamma radiation at some point in their lives, it's possible. I'm pretty sure I've even seen Eva hulk out a time or two.
Here Sam is racing against a lovely young woman. Can't remember who won. They were timed. A LOT of kids were timed! There were many races and at least someone won each of them. At one point Mike raced Eva! Pretty sure she won.

After the sports room we broke for lunch. There was so much to see and explore, but bodies need fuel and we thought it was a good time to take care of that.

After stopping for lunch we moved on to the rainforest room. In it were many things about animals and the wildlife around us and our effect on them. They mentioned things about animals not liking pollution, about it being bad for the environment and how we, as concerned citizens and they (they children) as the future, could do something about it. So, onward and upward, forward we go!
This beautiful little cage in front of Mike and Caleigh houses one of my least favorite things in the ENTIRE Science Center. ENORMOUS ROACHES!! Seriously, these bad boys you don't want in your home, mass quantities or not.
See them? Lovely fellows aren't they? Wonder how you clean their cage without letting them out?
Black Rat Snake, just in case you were wondering.
Other turtle
Another turtle, this one without his skin.
Here is the rainforest part of the rainforest room. Word to the wise, it's actually raining in here! Cover your electronic equipment before walking through!

After walking through this damp room, you move into another room. As you enter this other room this is what you see. Caleigh was especially interested in it.
Quite lovely, isn't it?
This is a tank of different types of Starfish in it. This is where the polarizing filter comes in really handy, the flash didn't reflect so you can see it off of the water, instead you get a nice clear view INTO the water! However, it was hard to find a good angle to see the starfish.
This is a little better, not much though.
More fish!

Moving on. As you go around the fish you enter into a room full of experiments in electricity of all kinds and other interesting things to do and see. Here is a sampling.
This is a great big globe, see Aurora running beside it? See the big rocks behind her and the globe? Wonder WHY she's running? These are all very good questions. First, the rocks aren't real (but you knew that didn't you?), but they are the entrance to a cave. Yes, you heard that right, a cave. A long, dark cave that teenagers from a visiting school enjoyed running and yelling through. Anyone care to venture a guess as to what happens to young, impressionable children when they see older children running and yelling through long, dark passages? Yes, that's right, the smaller children run and scream through it too! Over and over and over and over again. For the longest time, when we'd loose track of Eva, this is usually where we'd find her, running and yelling through the long, dark cave.
Here is Sam and his friend Ian walking through the hall of exciting things to do, otherwise known as "if you have something on your 3 year old child to keep hold of her, DO, or you might loose her".
If you click on the picture you MIGHT be able to read these things. There was this little hallway that you could go into. It really made your ears feel weird. You know how they feel when you need to pop them and can't? This hallway did that to you. What this is telling you is that the holes in the walls absorb sound, so the closer to the middle of the hallway you get, the less sound there is. There are noise levels of inside the hallway and outside the hallway next to it. The inside sound was much less than outside. Well, it was till Ian and Sam decided to yell as loud as they could as close to this as they could, the noise levels came close to leveling out there for a bit. It's trying to explain the idea behind soundproofing materials and how they work.
Here is Caleigh on a bike that is supposed to be able to generate electricity by peddling it. She wasn't able to produce much, she couldn't reach the pedals.
Now, as you look at this picture you're probably wondering what all these children are doing standing around inside this glass box.  Here is one of my theories on this. There was this adult, probably a father. He sat there thinking, "What could I do to make kids do something silly?" Now, I realize that making kids do something silly is no hard thing, but this dad probably didn't want them to realize they were being silly. So, he put this big glass box in the middle of a room of interesting things to do. This dad then put enough room in this box for several children to get in. He then proceeded to put holes in the floor. Those holes are what these kids are looking at. Now, were you a child of impressionable age and you saw a big glass box with holes in the bottom and a way to get into in the middle of a room filled with interesting things to do, you would investigate, wouldn't you? The answer is yes, you would, and so did they. But they didn't just look, they were under the impression that if they ran around in this box in a circle that something would happen. Why did they think that? It could be because they saw other children before them running around in a circle in the box before them or it could be because they read the instructions on the side of the box that told them to. I tend to think the former rather than the latter.
Here they are, fitting as many of them in there as possible and trying to run in a circle. Can you see the smoke looking gas coming up from the floor? Believe it or not, this isn't a fire drill, it's part of the fun!
  Now, as they run in a circle, something scientific is happening, care to guess what? It seems the dad who decided to make the kids look funny had to make it scientific or they wouldn't put it in the museum, so, the scientific part to this is air movement. What happens when air gets turning around in a vortex pattern?
This happens! Now, the problem with this happening is that most of the kids would rather stand and watch it than to continue running. When that happens, there's no more vortex and it goes away, however, some kids figure that out and keep running until they make themselves dizzy or have to be pulled out to continue on our journey of discovery, we have one of each of those left in the box.
(not now, then, when the picture was taken.)
This was probably Eva's favorite thing to do. She loved seeing so many of herself! Caleigh was amused for a little while, but Eva couldn't stay away from it. For those of you that know Eva, you know there's a reason God only made one of her, the world just couldn't handle 4 or 5 of her!
What we have here is the beginning of a half hour long talk about electricity, the different types of it, magnetism and all sorts of different things you can do with it and how it works. This fancy looking object here with the danger sign is a Tesla Coil. Google it, they're pretty amazing things. This Tesla Coil, when on, produced arcs of electricity between the two ends at the top of it. Try as I might, I never was able to get a picture of it arcing. Sorry.
One of the other types of electricity she talked about was static.This pretty young lady helped demonstrate static electricity. I could explain the way it works, but if you're interested and don't know why it works the way it does, you're welcome to google it or go to your local library and look it up. Or, you could take a balloon, rub it against your hair and unbeknownst to you, you'd be removing the positively charged ions from your hair and making them all negative, for some reason, that makes things stick and fly and stuff like that. Like I said, better to look it up.

Do you think though, that with all those children there, that they would be satisfied just watching the hair of ONE child stand on end? NO!
They ALL wanted a try!
Here's Rora, no glasses allowed!
Here's Eva!
Here's Sam. Trust me, that's MUCH fuzzier than he normally is!

After the show, we somehow managed to peel them (read, with a crowbar) out of that room. We wanted to see a little more of the Science Center. We decided to move on to a room where only 8 year olds and younger could go. Adults, according to the signage, weren't allowed in without being accompanied by a child. Honest, that's what it said! We however, had in our care, three boys that didn't fall within the 8 and under restriction. Since in our group (our group within the group that went in from our group) 4 adults and 8 children, we decided that Mike could take the boys that were too old into the Space room and we ladies would take the little 'uns into the room for little 'uns.
There was a lot to see and do in this room, nothing however peaked their interest like playing in the water.
We had a tough time actually keeping Eva from swimming in the water. Didn't matter, we had thankfully thought to bring a change of clothes for her. The reasoning at the time was in case she had an "accident", turns out the only accident she had was not bringing her bathing suit.

Meanwhile, in the space room.....
This is a robotic something or other. It does something that has something to do with something in space. You'll have to take my word for it. Mike took the picture, it was in the space room, thus, I think it's within reason to assume it has something on some level to do with space.
Much like the picture before this, I think the same caption would aptly apply. A mechanic something, having something to do with something in space. :-)
Here I can be slightly  more specific. I'm not sure I need to be though. If you had to venture a guess, and you knew that this was in the space room, and you noticed that it is behind glass and looks spacy in it's enclosure, one might assume that this rock, of whatever origin, probably lived in space before ending up here being gawked at by people. That is probably true. Probably more than probably. When I saw it two things came to mind, first, this could be a space rock, second, it could be in there to keep people from throwing it at people and they just thought it was pretty so they decided to display it, but it looks more important behind glass. If you were to read the plaque beneath it though, it'd tell you it was a moon rock. Now, I could have just put "Moon Rock" beneath the picture and done with out the narrative, but what fun would that have been?!
Mars Rock

And thus concludes our tour of the Science Center.
Sorry it took so long to get this out, we've been kind of busy around here. I know it seems short, but it was hours in the making and everyone had tons of fun. Thank you for taking the time to read about our adventure and look at the photos.

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