Wednesday, June 16, 2010

North Carolina Mountains: Day 3 - SciWorks, Part 1

Day 3 was excursion day. I had agreed to make one trip up and down the mountain so we could go into the surrounding area and do some things. Not knowing how my tummy would handle it, and with any town of reasonable size being quite a drive away, we didn't want to be going up and down frequently. We decided to take Wednesday to go "out and about." We had blueberry muffins for breakfast and actually got Luke to eat half of one. Then it was down the mountain and on to Winston-Salem. We had lunch at Steak 'n Shake, which is one of Luke's most favorite places to eat. After that, it was time for a visit to the SciWorks Science Center, which was named one of the top 25 science museums in the country. Lots and lots of pictures and a few videos coming up in this post and the next!

We started to our right, with these magnetic gears. These are some of the best working ones I've ever seen. They interlocked well and turned smoothly. Luke loved that they were magnetic and could be moved wherever he wanted.

Luke thought the vacuum and air column demonstrations were pretty funny.

Took us a little bit to get the plasma tube working, but Luke thought it was amazing.

Luke had some difficulty getting the hang of this robotic arm, which actually surprised me a little. I think the controls and the fineness required to actually pick something up were just a little beyond him.

This was a giant kaleidoscope, though not quite giant enough for all 5 of us. We had to squeeze in there! This shot didn't quite turn out like I wanted, but that's okay. It's still fun.

This pendulum was absolutely beautiful. It was about the size of a basketball.

I got to watch it a good bit while Luke played with this wall display. It has foam in it, a couple of inches thick, with crisscross lines cut into it.

After inserting small plastic panels of varying lengths, you would release a ping pong ball to see what path the ball would take. I knew as soon as I saw it that Luke was going to love it. He understood it innately, both how to use it and how to make it do what he wanted, and he would have spent hours there if we'd let him.

It was also a good example of chaos theory. Even when starting a ping pong ball at the same starting point, without changing any of the panels, it didn't always take the same path. It was so fun to watch.

SciWorks Foam Wall

I wish I had gotten video of his first reaction to this. It is called a zoetrope. There is a strip of paper inside with consecutive still images, like a flip book. When you spin the drum and look through the slits, it gives the illusion that the cougar, in this case, is moving.

Luke pushed the button and watched it spin from above, clearly not understanding. "Look through the sides," I said. He did, and his eyes got as big as saucers as the cougar started to run. He stood up and looked at it from above again, then bent over and looked from the side. "Wow!" Repeat several times. You could practically see "how is it doing that" stamped on his forehead. It was so fun. Did we just witness the birth of a scientist? We'll have to wait and see.

Puzzles were next. Mom did the four square quite easily.

I tackled the cube. Took me less than 3 minutes. I think spatial orientation and puzzles run in the family, what do you think?

More of our fun at the SciWorks museum in SciWorks Part 2.

Currently feeling: scientific

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