Friday, February 11, 2011

Liberty Science Center

We visited Liberty Science Center for the first time. It was an impromptu trip - Dennis said he was working from home and my wheels started turning and negotiations set in. Although Seany is a delight to all of us, anytime we don't have to chase & redirect is a welcomed repreive. Thanks, Den. This room had hands on examples of surface tension, Bernoulli's Principle, resistance, centrifugal force and lots of other concepts. Way better than reading about them!

Mikey got a chance to create 'stop-action' movies. Maybe the lego minifigures will have new starring roles in his next project.

We were directed to the "group dining" area when we came upon this lucky strike. It was a landing off one of the hallways that no one seemed to be using. It was warm and sunny and that's a very tiny Lady Liberty in the background.

The boys walked across steel beams in the 'Skyscraper' Exhibit. It was really cool after we just watched a segment on the period of time NYC was being built on America: The Story of Us. I just couldn't do it :( I was dizzy just trying to get the pictures.

There were several exhibits that the boys stopped to experiment with that did not work. The touch screens were not responding and the buttons that activitated the experiments did nothing. I stopped to inform that manager at the end of our trip and he provided us with complimentary tickets for our next visit! What a great way to handle a complaint.

I did note some things when I observed the school groups. They were all provided with notebooks and forms. They were required to document what they were seeing and experiencing. The kids were constantly having to juggle what was in their hands, put stuff down, pick it up, find a pen etc. It looked very distracting and seemed to inhibit their ability to just experience what was in front of them. The adult chaperones were often telling them they were looking at the 'wrong' exhibits and redirecting them (unsuccessfully) to the 'proper' exhibits'.

Formal education requires documentation and testing as a gauge as to what the student is learning. Some types of homeschooling remove that component, allowing children (i.e. "The Student") more freedom to experience the activity out of joy and curiousity. I suppose that might happen in a structured setting, it is just less frequent and more difficult to attain under those circumstances.

It reminds me of what John Holt said in his book "How Children Fail", "It is as true now, as it was then, that no matter what the tests show, very little of what is taught in school is learned, very little of what is learned is remembered, and very little of what is remembered is used. The things we learn, remember and use, are the things we seek out or meet in the daily, serious, nonschool parts of our lives."


  1. Poor school children....they weren't lucky enough to have the super cool mom (ME) as the chaperone. LOL Not sure Sam, Meg, Emily and Paige would agree considering each time they ran away i told them to "stick together like an amoeba:) But Sam's class was the ONLY class WITHOUT a packet, so we were just having fun.

  2. This looks like a great science center. And yes, I know what you mean about the school groups being so directed. Looks like you will be going back again~!