Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Mid-America Science Museum, Pt 2

As promised, here is our trip from Angie’s perspective, along with the rest of our pictures…

Our Friday Excursion

Angela Hibbard, 2/18/17

This Friday, our family went to the Mid-America Science Museum in Hot Springs, Arkansas.

We explored the exhibits, did the hands-on experiments, and refreshed our scientific knowledge.  We had a very enjoyable time learning and doing, as well as laughing and joking.

One of the first things we did was messing with sound. We walked into a room and touched colored panels on the wall to put together a drum track.  The walls transmitted the signal from where we touched to a speaker, where the signal was turned into sound. The sounds then went together to create a very cool drum track.

After the sound room, we walked over to a motion room.  Olivia and I filled a pendulum full of sand and released it over a stone block to create a bunch of parabolas that alternated into a rectangle. Daddy and Steven sat down at a machine that amplified your heartbeat so you could hear it. The machine also showed the signals going through the machine as colors. Mommy and I joined them after the pendulum finished swinging. Olivia and Daddy put together a motion video called Attack of the Killer Hedgehog. Olivia had my hedgehog in her purse, so they put it on a table with a camera screen and moved it a little bit, then snapped a picture. The hedgehog slowly bumped into three snowmen that were there for movie purposes. Olivia and Daddy took twenty pictures and made a one second movie. The hedgehog zoomed through the snowmen and out of sight. Mommy and Steven cranked a wheel and spun a rope into an oval. I turned a wheel and created waves in a tower of bars. As they twisted and turned, the movement went all the way up the tower even as the lower bars went the other way. 

Next, we built paper airplanes in a long hall. 2017-02-17 10.50.49

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There were three rings set up with a target at the back, and various cabinets with paper, instructions, and angle measurements to build on. Steven built a paper airplane that went all the way through the rings before it crashed.

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Mine went up and looped.  It didn’t really get anywhere.  

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On the walls of the hall, there were glass light twisters.  The first one was a set of plain glass with a pattern like stained glass would normally have. When we looked through another glass, though, it wasn’t normal glass! The part of the window that was covered by the circle showed colorful glass. Next, there were colored pieces of plastic that you had to line up just right to cancel out all the color. Then there was a window with sets of blocks in it that, as you walked by, showed the outside in lots of little squares. That one was slightly disorienting. Steven played with a camera that you could spin back and look at the changing shadows and seasons.

At the end of the hall was a large contraption that used air pressure to launch balls down into a fountain on the lower floor.  We armed it, used a lever to pump until the PSI bar was green, and let the ball fly by holding down a button. The ball went up and into a spiral that dropped it straight into a tornado of water contained in a glass tube. The ball went down the tornado and out into the pool of water underneath.

We went down a ramp into a small room.  In the room was a maze with a mirror reflecting it, a door, and a square hole in the wall. I traced my finger along the maze itself. That was the easy part. Then I looked at the mirror image and tried to trace my finger along the actual maze while looking at the mirror image. It was hard! I knew that you had to do the opposite of what was in the mirror, but it was still hard. 


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The hole in the wall contained a spring.  It was right behind the entrance to the hole, so easy to find, right? Wrong! The spring was actually under the platform it looked like it was standing on, but there were mirrors set up to make it look like the spring was easy to reach.

The door was another room with light sensitive walls. At the end of a thirty second countdown, a bright light would flash, making it look like there was a picture of our shadows on the wall. We did some really crazy poses when the light flashed.

After light, we went into a soil/underground room. Olivia, Steven, and I crawled through a group of tunnels that showed the basic underground rocks. We climbed over rope bridges and went down slides. We even went through one room with an ultraviolet light. Everything was glowing.  In front of the tunnel system was a Sauropod dinosaur footprint.  It was a large dinosaur. There was also a large quartz crystal formation on display. The quartz is the official mineral of Arkansas. There were different colors on the crystal, showing where other minerals had gotten in the formation. There were even some clear spots, were the crystal was completely pure. There was also a cast of a mastodon skeleton.

We also looked at a terrain map of Arkansas, its minerals, and its main soil types. Going up into the northwest part of the state especially, there are a lot of variety and mineral types. Along the eastern border, it is mainly the same terrain. This is because of the Mississippi River.  One of the main soils is called Stuttgart soil.  It is very good for growing rice. This was especially exciting for us because we used to live around Stuttgart.  Almyra was on the terrain map.

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One of the hands-on activities was a big wooden box filled with clay pebbles. A projector showed rivers and mountains wherever we built them or hollowed them out.  I built a really big mountain.  Mommy made a dam and lake. Daddy made it rain. After we built rivers, ponds, lakes, mountains, and whatever else we could think of, we smoothed everything out really flat and made Arkansas County. Olivia built a reservoir and rice fields. 2017-02-17 11.26.23

All the way downstairs was electricity and connection.  Olivia, Steven, and I played with the heat sensors. Olivia’s glasses looked weird compared to the rest of her face. 

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We experimented with creating electricity and Olivia put together gears to spin a fan. Then we learned about gyroids. Gyroids were originally thought to only be man-made, but scientists have found them in tiny places like butterfly wings. They are connected cell structures, but they twist so nothing can go from one structure to another.

Next we went to dinosaurs. There were three different types of dinosaur footprints in the concrete outside. I did not write them down, so I won’t try to spell them, the dinosaur names all started with C and the tracks were small, medium, and large.  Olivia, Steven, and I followed the footprints into a large area with a concrete cast of a dinosaur in it.  There were tools and brushes, and we brushed pieces of clay aside and uncovered a dinosaur! Then we covered him back up so other people could play.

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The last things we did were also outside. First we created a kind of circuit by two of us sitting on a bench with our arms on armrests and everybody holding hands. This closed a circuit and played music. We then went to an area with rope bridges and a large circular rope hammock. We climbed all over the hammock and I went over one of the rope bridges backwards. It was fun. 2017-02-17 12.18.33

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Then Olivia and I laid down in the hammock and read.

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All in all, we had a very good trip.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Not Quite Ordinary Observations

Something about Today…Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Official spring has finally caught up with southern weather spring. Okay, so that was yesterday, but still. It happened just in time for summer weather to arrive!

Something about the Week

Pollen!!! It’s hilarious! Everything inside and out is yellow. We do have our windows open, but it wouldn’t really matter right now – we couldn’t shut the house up enough. It’s just that bad. We wipe a thick layer of yellow off the dining room table, and before we’re done with lunch, there’s a layer back on it. I have to dust off the computer keyboard periodically and swipe the dust off my planner before making a note or checking something off.

Something I Have Observed

A tiny bug hovering in front of my computer screen. I brush it away, and it comes back. I’ve smashed a couple of them, but more keep coming. In fact, I killed one just a few minutes ago, and I already have a new one. It’s rather distracting.

Something on My Mind

Time & mental ability to get writing projects done (can you tell from previous statements that mental acuity is a bit lacking right now?); the Choates as they continue to work through the translation consultation; upcoming dentist appointments; church & friend & family needs.

Something I’m Thankful for

That so far, no one has more than the regular allergy symptoms. We’re tired, we don’t feel super great, and it’s obvious our immune systems are working hard. But, no one is actually sick. Praying that continues!

Something about My Kids

They are funny. Just downright funny. In so many ways. Which is why things like this happen randomly.

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Why yes, yes that IS a stuffed hedgehog on the dashboard. Olivia said he was helpful for her driving.

I don’t know where they get such silly behavior.

Something I’m Working on

Preparing a school list for this fall. ‘Tis the season! Fun times!

Something from Hibbard Academy

It’s spring break week in Arkansas, but I’m the mean ole homeschool mama who is making her kids work right on through. But, the kids have not complained a bit. They know the end date we’re working for and why hitting that end date is important for our summer schedule, and they are 100% on board with pushing through well. I’m so proud of their efforts this year!

Something Coming

Another round of dentist appointments for the girls – fillings and maybe a tooth or two pulled to make space for other teeth to realign themselves (hopefully!). A youth bowling trip. Church work day.

Something That Makes Me Smile

Sunday morning, the girls and I all came out matching. We had the same colors on and all three of us had our hair pulled back the same way. Completely unintentionally. It was quite funny. Mom and I used to do that, too, and it always made me smile. It’s fun to do it now and then with my girlies.

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Friday, March 17, 2017

Mid-America Science Museum, Pt 1

Homeschool parents of littles often look forward to the time when their kids are older and it will be easier to take field trips. But, we don’t think about balancing that with a busier schedule overall as our children get older. That, combined with a fuller schedule now that we’ve moved to Little Rock, has tended to reduce rather than increase our number of field trips as the kids have gotten older. We’re trying to become more intentional about getting back to field trips.

Last spring when we went to the Space & Rocket Center, we found it was more cost-effective to snag a membership to our local reciprocal science museum than purchase a one-day pass to the Space & Rocket Center. So, that left us with the opportunity to head to the Mid-American Science Museum at any point between then and May of this year. We finally had a chance to use that membership last month.

I asked the kids to each write a paragraph or so about our trip. Here’s what Olivia & Steven had to share.

From Olivia

As the collective nerds we are, our family went to the Mid-America Science Museum in Hot Springs for fun. The science museum is an interactive museum, so we got to touch and feel and play, while qualifying it as a school trip. Daddy and I made a short video of a stuffed hedgehog attacking two snowmen by taking multiple frames and stringing them together at a high speed. Then, Daddy and Steven launched balls using different motors. Then, we went down to a shadow room where a bright light imprinted our shadows on the wall. We played with mirrors, and learned that in the right light, a reflection can look very real. We learned about the soil makeup of different parts of Arkansas, including the interesting mix of Arkansas county, which we are personally familiar with. 2017-02-17 11.30.26


My favorite part was experimenting with gears.

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I was attempting to use a number of gears and some rubber bands to stretch from the motor on one little table to the series of reactions set up on another table. Sadly, one of the gear’s lining was twisted, so I couldn’t make it work, but I enjoyed the inventing.

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After all the things inside, we went outside to a walk that let us do a good bit of climbing. There was a giant circular rope netting that looked like a cross between a hammock and a trampoline. Angie’s reaction was to plop down in the middle and start reading while Steven and I tried to see how fast we could run around her.

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Set apart a little were single ropes, thoroughly surrounded by netting up above my head. Even so, walking across them was not easy. 

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From Steven

One Friday we went to the Mid American Science Museum. One of my favorite parts was the “kitty litter display maker.” (Note of explanation: It was soft, clay-based absorbent that we were able to play with, so it was dubbed the “kitty litter” display by our silly children.) You could make rivers, dams, reservoirs, and rain.

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You made it rain by putting your hand over a part of the box. You made dams, rivers, and reservoirs by moving the “kitty litter.”

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So, what did Angela have to say?

Well, she decided a paragraph wouldn’t cut it, so she wrote a whole report!! Hers will be part two.

The “kitty litter” display really was neat. A projector sensed the changes in the depth of the clay-based absorbent and colored it accordingly, with blue water for the lowest areas and green for the hills

One more thing I enjoyed was a music maker that Angie fiddled with for a little while.

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The cylinder at the back had holes that Angie could put pegs into. Then, she turned the crank on the left, and the pegs would strike the keys and create a tune. Not all of the pegs stayed in well, but she was still able to make some pretty music, including some chords.

Meanwhile, Doug and Steven had another chance at stop-animation – this time with dinosaurs! A stegosaurus and t-rex, nonetheless. They had fun creating their short video sequence. 

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All in all, it was a fun day!