Destination Moon

Did you know that the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum is currently undergoing a renovation? That means that the Apollo 11 Command Module Columbia is not currently on display in Washington D.C., but their (temporary) loss is St. Louis’ gain, because they put together a fantastic traveling exhibit, Destination Moon, which is visiting four cities before returning to be permanently installed in its new home in the Air and Space Museum in 2021.

St. Louis is the second city on the list to host Destination Moon. I don’t know how the other cities are setting it up, but I think St. Louis did a fantastic job. Before you even enter the exhibit, the stage is set with period appropriate local details:

The first room you see is a 1960s living room, complete with console TV, record player, and faux launch party food spread:

After seeing a brief film on St. Louis’ contribution to the Apollo program (more great local details!), there are so many amazing items to discover in the main display:

Of course, the real star of the show is the Command Module Columbia itself:

And there’s also a really cool hands-on area that allows you to sit in the driver’s seat, if you will, and communicate with both Columbia and mission control, as well as test your hand at a lunar landing and see what it’s like to be an astronaut trying to pick up moon rocks. Adults and children both love these opportunities, and they’re all very well designed!

This exhibit is only in St. Louis until September 3rd, but Pittsburgh and Seattle are up next on the four city tour, so if you’re local to either of those areas, you’re in for a real treat!

First Friday at the St. Louis Science Center

Last night, for the first time, we went to a First Friday event at the St. Louis Science Center. What is First Friday, you might wonder? It’s an opportunity to learn about the science behind science fiction. And why did we finally go last night, when we’ve been talking about it for a couple of years? Because they were focusing on Arthurian Legends, which was the perfect final field trip for this year’s medieval-themed summer school!

It was a really fun event. We got to learn the science behind defending a castle (the focus was on simple machines, and Chickadee even got to help!), see a sword-fighting demonstration, hear a harp, make shields, participate in a scavenger hunt, write with an actual quill, hold medieval weapons, and see lots of people in really cool costumes. There were other events that we didn’t make it to, including tractor jousting, a lecture about medieval noblewomen at war, and the highlight of the evening, a showing of Monty Python and the Holy Grail in the Omnimax theater. And of course there was a fun photo opportunity!

I really enjoyed this event. It was fun to see so many people with interests similar to ours there and having a good time. Next month, the theme is Harry Potter, and we’re already looking forward to going back!

Kantorei Kamp Week

For the fourth summer in a row, “The Bigs” have participated in a Kantorei Kamp at Hope Lutheran Church in St. Louis. It’s a busy, fun week for everybody, because while they’re at camp, Chickadee and I go adventuring…sometimes, I think she has more fun than her siblings do!

On Monday, while the Kamp had a full day of music theory, handbell practice, and choral rehearsals, Chickadee and I went to the playground in Forest Park and to the Missouri History Museum, where we visited the History Clubhouse and the new “Muny Memories” exhibit:

On Tuesday, Chickadee and I went to the Missouri Botanical Garden in the morning, and then joined the Kantorei Kamp for some swimming at the YMCA:

Wednesday was a little bit cooler, so Chickadee and I walked around the St. Louis Zoo and the St. Louis Art Museum:

We only had a little bit of free time on Thursday morning, so Chickadee and I visited the St. Louis Public Library and read some books before joining the Kantorei Kamp for a backstage tour of Powell Hall, a picnic lunch, concretes at Ted Drewes, and a concert by a quartet from the Greenleaf Singers for Make Music St. Louis Day:

And today we went with the Kantorei Kamp to the LC-MS International Center to hear them sing for chapel. After that, Chickadee and I visited the St. Louis Science Center before picking up “The Bigs” from their last day of Kamp:

And a bonus handbell piece from church on Sunday, which I managed to record while they rehearsing before the service:

Chickadee Thursday

Today we went to the St. Louis Science Center to see the Destination Moon exhibit on loan from the Smithsonian. Chickadee loved all of the hands-on activities that let her feel like she was really part of the  Apollo 11 mission!

2017-18 School Year–Week Nine

In an unusual twist for us, our school week started on Sunday. Since we were already in the city, we decided to stop at the St. Louis Science Center to see the Omnimax Theater Mummies: Secrets of the Pharaohs film. It was an excellent movie, and went perfectly with the King Tut exhibit we saw earlier in the school year, as well as what we’ve been studying in history. Of course, while we were there, we also checked out some of the other exhibits, too!

The fun continued on Monday, when we went to our first “Homeschool Day” of the year at the Missouri History Museum, and since Moose had the day off school, he got to come with us! We learned all about cameras, photography, and the importance of photography in modern history, and we got to tour the new Panoramas exhibit while we were there. When we were done at the History Museum, we went back to the Science Center to see the new star show we saw on the schedule when we were there on Sunday: Mission Mars. It was excellent, and we got to try out the new and very comfortable chairs in the planetarium!

After all that, the rest of the week seemed rather boring, I suppose, but we got a lot done. Turkey and Bunny have been reviewing perimeter in math, in preparation for discussing area next week. They also worked on figuring out the measure of multiple angles in a shape with different bisectors given a few beginning figures. Ladybug has entered into the exciting world of exponents. Chickadee is still working on counting by tens.

Ladybug learned about kangaroos and koalas in her study of marsupials…next week, she’ll be learning about animals like sugar gliders and possums. Turkey and Bunny had to create another biological key in science…this time, one focused on Kingdom Fungi. So far they’ve learned about the most recognizable members of that kingdom…mushrooms, puffballs, and shelf fungi.

Even though they’re reading different books, Turkey, Bunny, and Ladybug all learned about the Shang dynasty in history. Ladybug also learned about rice farming and Chinese pictograms. In addition to the Shang dynasty, Turkey and Bunny also read about Hatshepsut, and Thutmosis I-III, which was great since we learned all about the Valley of the Kings at the Science Center on Sunday!

Turkey and Bunny finally finished the third fit of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. Curiosity got the better of me, so I looked ahead to see how it ends. Don’t worry, I won’t let them know! We have reached the part in Ladybug’s study of Heidi where I really start hating the book (when Heidi is taken away from Grandfather), so I’m dreading next week’s lessons, but I guess we’ll survive. We’re also already almost done with Ramona and Her Father, and Chickadee is already looking forward to the next book.

I can’t believe we’ve finished nine weeks of the school year, and I haven’t schedule a fall break yet. This year is going really well, though, so we’ll keep at it for a while yet!

The Discovery of King Tut

Way back during the first week of school in August, we went to the St. Louis Science Center to tour a special exhibit currently on display: The Discovery of King Tut. The timing was perfect, as we’ve started back up with the ancients in history this year. Turkey, in particular, is really interested in ancient Egypt, and we were all really excited to go through it.

Even before the main section of the exhibit begins, there is a lot to look at, including a replica of the Rosetta Stone, and a model of Tut’s Tomb.

After that first room, there’s a short and very informational movie (Downton Abbey fans will want to keep an eye out for the appearance of Highclere Castle!), followed by the main bulk of the exhibit. You begin by viewing an accurate replica of the antechamber as it appeared upon its discovery:

The next part of the exhibit focuses on Tut’s burial chamber:

There’s also a look at the riches found in the treasury:

Followed by the many parts of the shrine:

After the individual vignettes, there are replicas of pretty much everything, including Tut’s childhood throne, canopic jars, games, makeup, jewelry…even a chariot! This allows you to really see what things looked like up close:

This exhibit may contain “only” replicas (over 1,000 in all!), but they are extraordinarily detailed, and really make you feel like you are touring Tut’s tomb. It’s a great opportunity to see a bit of history up close, and it’s in town through early January, so you have time left to walk in the footsteps of Howard Carter and see Tut’s tomb as it was when it was first discovered in 1922!