exploratorium

On Friday, we closed the school because of a water shut down, but instead of calling it a day, we called it an Exploratorium adventure! We met the kids down at the Embarcadero to visit our friends at the Exploratorium’s new location. A foggy morning outside, a crowded museum filled with kids from the city, and explorations abounded. The day became sunny and the kids didn’t lose any energy even after lunch, and we all left happy and contented, our minds buzzing with the possibilities of returning for more in-depth study.

I asked the staff members who were there to tell me their favorite parts of the day – see below!

Phillip said, “My favorite part of the Exploratorium was watching the kids’ curiosities come alive. We’ve been working so hard on a project that is past it’s inquisitive stages that it was a great time for us to relax and learn by observation and interactions. My personal favorite experiment was the double mirror that combined my face and Christie’s face. So weird!”

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Shawna reports that the Hummingbirds had a circle conversation about the Exploratorium this morning. Largo said, “I was surprised at how many creatures there were. The old one didn’t have as many creatures. I was watching all the water creatures and the rats. There was a crate of mosquitoes.  I put my hand in to test if the mosquitoes like the scent.”
Lucy said, “There was a video screen of these people saying “yes, no, maybe, this one guy was annoying because he kept saying ‘I don’t know.’ Aurora and I kept asking them so many questions.
“We liked the girl the best! she had better responses,” Aurora reported.

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Shawna said, “My personal favorite was when Lucy, Aurora, and I spent probably 30 minutes under the pinboard, side by side looking up and making flashy designs with our fingers and hands. The girls did all sorts of different tests with each other and they became determined to find and then pull down a stuck pin they could see from the top. Also it was a very “Reggio” experience – letting the kids lead, being in super small groups and sharing a intimate experience where the adults’ role truly was to observe, help scaffold when the time was right, and wonder and marvel alongside the children.”

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Josh said, “My favorite part was Ramses’ commitment to a polite cinema. SHHHHH! Also, there was a beautiful fluctuation between learning alone and exploring the nuance of an exhibit (nearly an hour spent at a single exhibit), and the love of learning in a social environment and sharing things with your friends (nearly an hour spent looking for Lola, to hang out with and share the coolness of the pin table exhibit).”

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“I liked that Natasha, Clem and Lola couldn’t resist tinkering, even with a professionally made exhibit,” Sean said. “They played with the bubble screen for about thirty minutes immediately before lunch. At lunch, they began to wonder about using different circumference and rings…so they took (with permission!) coffee cups from the cafeteria, removed the bottoms, and thus created bubble wands in two new circumferences!”

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The best part of my day was watching the kids, not necessarily participating in the exhibits. I loved seeing them interact with all the big ideas and experience pieces of the whole. My group was great at staying together and calling each other over to look at something cool. They took their time, didn’t feel like they had to see everything in the whole museum, and displayed awesome curiosity and energy for a busy place!

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Gever had two stories to report. He said, “Rhone spent some time exploring the composition of colors and shapes made by his hands and body when lit by three primary colors. While we watched anxious adults pushing their children along to try and ‘see everything’, it was a pleasure to wander the museum at our own pace and linger as long as we cared to. Often, just as we were about to leave and exhibit, either Rhone, Jacob, or Nicky would discover something new and we would be glued to the spot for even longer.”

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“A mirror-box proved to be an excellent provocation to spark the a discussion of the nature of infinity and whether or not there are any real infinities in our universe,” he said. “Not the infinite possibilities of monkeys banging away on typewriters, but actual, uncountable, infinities of things. We still aren’t sure, but we agreed that there certainly some very large numbers of things out there (planets, atoms, sand).”

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Mackenzie said, “I was with Bruno, Ben, and Quinn. They loved the spinny table with rings. We played there for almost forty-five minutes. Bruno was really into building marble runs in the Tinkering Studio. We returned there twice. They all did a great job taking turns choosing exhibits and sharing interests.”

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We’re really excited to take advantage of the relationship we have with the Exploratorium and get our kids out there more often, interacting with both the big science ideas that relate to our arcs, as well as being a part of the wider San Francisco school community. What an amazing day!

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