Monday, January 11, 2010

More Pictures from the Museum of Life and Science

I was super tired when I was trying to blog about the Build a Flappet workshop last night. Wonder why?!? :-) Here are some of the other pictures from our day at the Museum of Life and Science in Durham that I think were the best.

The kids love the 'music' room, and whenever we visit the museum, they spend lots of time in there running around. If you aren't familiar with this exhibit, the room is divided into 9 quadrants, and movement in the various quadrants produces beautiful music. It's good exercise for the kids too. I like trying to catch just the right blur shot.

We didn't spend a lot of time outside because of the cold, but we did take a quick walk to visit our favorite farmyard animals. Joey was disappointed that he didn't get to see Nimbus the bunny who was inside for the day, but we really enjoyed Max the cow and the other animals.

The kids love the playground area. The carpet was off the 'slide', and the Madi decided it would be super fun to run and slide down it. It wasn't that fast, but her antics going down the slide feet up in the air so as not to slow her down with her shoes rubbing was just too cute. I always love my on top of the culvert shots of whichever kids want to line up too.

Back inside, we enjoyed the weather exhibit. Pictured is Joey with the tornado. It was really wanting to form and reform quickly yesterday. The kids also had a blast with the 'sand spinner'. That exhibit simulates hurricane type spins and clouds. That thing spins fast, and there's another shot of the kids and the exhibit twirling fast!

Madi enjoyed the origami exhibit upstairs. Johnny played with the beads. That exhibit teaches kids about volumes and has some surprising results with regard to which container truly holds more beads...not the one you think. Joey was fascinated with the exhibit that had the rubber duck, blocks and tea cup. It's a guessing game. Can you name the object based on a silhouette of a front of side view. He put me through the paces on it a couple of times. We also did some of the patchwork block shapes. Very relaxing. Debbie and I were commenting on how we could do that for hours if only the kids would let us.

The upper right shot in the collage is some sort of lit-up artwork near the patchwork quit area. I was in super macro mode with the lense touching the plastic artwork cover.

And, yes, that's my silhouette with the light colors bouncing around me as I took the shot with the camera hidden by my shadow. That's another really popular exhibit. The kids are tickled every time to manipulate the colored lights coming down on them.

As you can see, we had a great time evern before we went to the Flappet workshop. The kids were so excited to revisit their Flappets this morning before school. Lots of flapping going on.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

We Built a Flappet!

Joey, Johnny, Madi, and I headed to the Museum of Life and Science in Durham today for Steve Gerberich's Build a Flappet workshop. Steve just finished a successful run of his Holiday Springs and Sprockets exhibit which delighted visitors to the museum including us. Last year after the show, he ran a Gravity Racer workshop where the kids built cars and raced them. This year the idea was to build some sort of animal and use strings to move it's wings, fins, hands, etc. Thus, a flappet.

Thankfully, Aunt Debbie showed up to help out. With hot glue guns, saws, screwdrivers, etc. the kids and I really needed the help.

First the kids built the base using precut wood pieces and the hot glue guns. We used a drill to put 3 holes in the base and put eyelets in the holes. The strings would later travel through the holes.

Second, the kids picked their animal and Aunt Debbie and I traced the figures onto a piece of cardboard folded in half. I then used a saw to cut through both layers of the cardboard at the same time to make two identical copies of the body parts.

Third, we were back over at the hot glue gun table actually assembling the flapper. It took some thought (and asking for help) to get the body facing correctly on the vertical stick so that the string would work correctly.

Fourth, the kids painted their flappets. Made did an excellent job with her orange cat with black stripes.

Fifth, I put the strings throug the eyelets and used a screwdrier to poke wholes through the cardboard where needed. The flappet has come to life.

I really think Steve's concept of building a flappet was a great idea. The kids enjoyed working with the tools and designing their own special flappets. You can see from their proud faces with their finished flappets that the workshop was a very meaningful experience for them.

More pictures from today's trip to the museum and the flappet workshop are here.