Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Never Too Old To Learn Science

Because S likes candy and all things sweet and because I wasn't teaching and because I like museums and sweet things and hanging out with S, we met up at the New York Hall of Science to see the gingerbread exhibit and to, in general, learn things.  Science things.

The entryway was made for me.  So pretty!
Getting up to the cashier was easy enough with not a whole lot of people on line considering it was during a winter break.  Then came the hard part.  The cashier asked if I was a student.  I said, No, but I'm a teacher.  She asked if I taught in public school.  I said I taught in a SUNY school. She gave me a look that said, Nope that doesn't cut it, but in an apologetic way.  So I paid full price, which isn't much when I have all that science to learn.

Gingerbread Lane was pretty amazing.  Some artist created an entire town of gingerbread houses and buildings and other fun winter things.  By the time we saw it, lots of gumdrops had fallen away and some structures were lean-tos, but for the most part, it was intact and looked yummy.  Not many of the people nearby were touching it, which was surprising. It's so tempting to touch (like that song!  you know the one). It was also sort of blocking a fire alarm, but I suppose if you needed to pull it, you would simply knock over the cookie shelters.

Fire! Fire! Or not.

Recreating a Will Cotton moment, kinda

And then came the rest of the museum.  We chose a wing at random and started learning. We learned about life on Mars.  It's cold.  It's sandy.  We learned this by touching the metal ball that was cold and reading the sign above it that explained the temperature.

We also learned it because one of the docents (that's what they're called, right? I don't think I've ever used that word in my life and heard it once in a movie, possibly a Phoebe Cates movie, which is appropriate here because whenever I think of Phoebe Cates, I think of S) came over to us.  She was enthusiastic. She asked, So what do you think of the temperature on Mars?  We were like, It's cold.  She was like, Do you know why?  I read the sign to her.  I wasn't being snarky; I was just answering her question (S will attest to this--it was not a "good for youuuu" moment).

She answered that it's not often people actually read the signage.  We laughed.  That wasn't all, though.  She went on to explain it all to us even though we'd read it on the sign.  We thanked her when she was finished.  I thought maybe she was bored.  S thought maybe the Hall of Science has a secret-shopper program that sends in people to test how helpful the docents are (I'm really impressing myself with all this docent talk).  In any case, she was pleasant and helpful.

S and I came across a comet exhibit.  Dry ice was shooting out of a tube and careening across a pool, much like a comet would go through space.  I knew this because I read the sign.  Also, because the docent reappeared and explained the whole thing to us.  We got out of that wing after that.  We were being out-scienced or over-scienced, I'm not sure which.

Then came outerspace, molecules, and sports science.  The place was filling up with children.  I was well aware that this was a place specifically for children, so I wasn't getting angry that children were around.  I was a bit perturbed when one child cut in front of S on a line to throw a softball.  I was not throwing the ball, so I was not on the line, but I was still annoyed that when the child cut the line, S had to tell the child to go back on the line instead of the child's mom telling him to wait his turn.  Maybe I'd like children more if more parents actually parented in public.  Anyway, there was softball throwing, rock climbing, football spinning, and vertical jumping.  I spun the football with all my might, and that's about it.  We also lit up lights to watch how a power outage happens and watched some balls fill up a giant tank and then fall away.
A sciency looking thing

More science

S on the rock wall before the children accosted it

Good quote

Cool map

Pre vertical jump -- I tested mine in Vegas last year pre-accident--it's about 3 inches

Cool sign
And then, there was this.


We'd been going through the exhibits for over half the day when we came into the room that has stuff to do with lights and bubbles and mirrors. I turned to S and was like, Omigod, I've been here before! She was like, Uh, yeah, of course you were. I've been here a bunch of times, too. I? Have a shitty memory. I have the memory of an elephant. Or wait, is it an elephant that has a good memory? See?!? I don't remember. So I should either eat more peanuts or none. Whatever. But I had this epiphany of making a bubble wall and then I was in real time making a bubble wall. And when the little children came over and tried to take over before we were done, their mom was like, No no guys, you have to wait for the girls to finish.

Two reasons I like this mom:
1. She told her kids to stand down.
2. She called us girls, as if we have any business being in a children's museum without children.

This is right after the two of us realized I'd been pulling the wrong end of the string.
From the opposite side, a rainbow
About as high as I got it to go
Then came the mirrors and the lights and the white wall and the illusions.  The light wall reminded me of Epcot.  The rest was like a weekend carnival.  It was very dizzying, and while we were in the hall of mirrors, little kids were jumping into each other and then one fell down and cried a lot. 
Some very tall girl joined us.

I'm even shorter here.

This is the new way to get skinny.

Mirror cube!  Mirror cube!

Shadow color

A short girl joined us.

Color shadow

We're either dancing or fighting.

Ah, it's dancing.
Oh!  We also did some Alice In Wonderland inspired growing and shrinking, and another docent was kind enough to capture it. She took a bunch of shots so we could choose.
The secret of being a giant: perspective.  Also, we both have devil eyes in this picture.
That was enough of the science.  We grabbed some food and then headed out as the crowd grew (lots of children, so I was getting antsy).  So what's the main takeaway of the day?  Docents.  Or Science.  Whichever.

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