Thursday, July 1, 2010

California Science Center Fun

Up up up the escalator with NaNa!

The boys and I went with NaNa to the California Science Center yesterday... the first of many trips this summer to be sure!  One of my favorite things about the science center are many the hands-on exhibits that are perfectly suited for kids and their curious nature!  Starting when I was a child and now in adulthood, I have found that learning by doing and experiencing rather than watching and listening works very well for me.  This type of approach seems to work for Em and Ro as well.

Ro checking out the structural integrity of his building at the California Science Center.
Apparently, this creation would not withstand an earthquake!

After learning about ways to help the environment, we moved on to the structures section to build archways using keystones and wooden frames.  We checked out soil compositions and how liquefaction can be activated in an earthquake.  We learned about common types of fault lines (remember, this is Southern California) and plate tectonics... all slightly above the head of my 4 year old.  But, the mini shake table was what truly helped Ro grasp all the previous exhibit sections.  I think we stayed at this table for about 45 minutes!  Em and Ro built and rebuilt structures (using the pieces you see above in the photos) to see which construction of the structure would hold out the longest in an earthquake.  Each time the structures fell, the looked at it as an opportunity to try again and figure out what worked the best.

There are many other sections to the California Science Center that we visited, but this section was where we spent the bulk of our time.  And since, the science center is free, we prefer to hunker down in one or two areas rather than try to mad dash our way through everything.  On our next visit in a week or two, we plan to spend the day in the recently opened Ecosystems gallery.