Sunday, August 20, 2006

MN Science Museum Field Trip Highlights

On August 9th our family, along with eight other homeschool families (36 people total) from around the state took a field trip to the Minnesota Science Museum in Minneapolis. The start to our day was early, with breakfast at 5:30am and departure by 6:15am. Compared to some of the other families who lived farther away and had to leave their homes around 4:00am, this was sleeping in! We also had one family come early and spend the night before with us as well as the night of the field trip day since they would have had a 7 hour drive to get to Minneapolis.

We arrived at the museum by 9:15 am and after our group was checked in and all had tickets, bracelets and museum maps we were off on our days agenda. First up was a film titled The Human Body in the museum's omnitheater. It was an educational, yet very entertaining film on how the systems of the body work, complete with amazing film coverage from inside the body. The theater itself was huge with the screen covering the front and side walls as well as a portion of the ceiling. The kids all had a great expereince.

Next was a sack lunch in the cafeteria followed by some free time to explore the museum's many exhibits. Our next group event was in the 3-D Cinema where we viewed a film on African Elephants and the White Rhino. It was amazing to experience the 3-D effects! The kids were continually trying to touch the images in front of them - except for Ruby who sat so completely still with her 3-D glasses on that I often checked to make sure she was still breathing! She was absolutely captivated. After the film, she did not want to remove the glasses and wanted the movie to continue.

After more free time to explore the museum, it was finally our group's scheduled time to enter the museum's guest exhibit BODYWORLDS, which was the main reason for our homeschool trip. This was a once in a lifetime opportunity to view this world-renowned, first ever exhibit of real human bodies. BODYWORLDS, developed by German anatomist Dr. Gunther von Hagens, features 200+ specimans (including entire bodies, individual organs, and transparent body slices) preserved with special plastics that allow views of the interior layers of the human body. Almost 18 million people around the globe have seen this exhibit, and we are so thankful to have been among them - it was definitely an educational experience that could never be duplicated. To view some of the specimens in the exhibit visit:

After further exploration of the museum - fossils, dinosaurs, weather exploration, gift shop and more we hit the city with a couple of the families from the group. We decided to have supper in a nearby Vietnamese restaurant, then we visited a dessert shop that featured numerous flavors of "Italian Ice" - very similar to sorbet. Around 25 flavors to choose from and all vegan - YUMMY! We departed from Minneapolis full and tired and arrived home around 10:30pm. Everyone promptly went to bed except for myself and my friend Wendy (the homeschool mom of the family spending the night) - we stayed up until after 3:00am chatting! Needless to say we were a bit sleepy when 7:30 am breakfast time rolled around!

Even though it was an enormous day we had a great time and experienced much. All the kids did a great job with the busy agenda and had fun together. Even little Ruby was a true gem the entire time, including travel time to and from the city - she was quite the little trooper and we were all so appreciative of it!

Another trip to the museum this fall is on the Amick homeschool agenda. The new guest exhibit will be on birds of prey (an area of interest with our gang) and the omnitheater film will be Vikings: Journey to New Worlds. We were able to watch a preview of the film while there and the boys were so intrigued with it that they begged to return to see it. Therefore, an unexpected unit study on the Vikings is already underway in our household as the kids are studying to prepare a project and demonstration for Mike & I on the topic. The reward of their independant efforts and hard work will be a return trip to the museum in time to see the Vikings film, which I have no doubt will be an awesome ending to their research project.

Family Favorites from the August Visit:

Mike: "Seeing the healthy lungs compared to the smokers lungs, and the healthy heart compared to those that were diseased in the BODYWORLDS exhibit."

Sue: "The female archer in BODYWORLDS and the Hmong story cloths in the Hmong people's history exhibit."

Gabriella: "My favorite part was in the BODYWORLDS exhibit. It was the 2 human bodies in the couples ice skating pose."

Christopher: "The 'Human Body' film in the Omnitheater because it showed the activity inside of the body."

Elliot: "Walking around in the museum looking at things, and the Egyptian mummy was cool."

Ruby: The elephants in the 3-D Cinema for sure!

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