Space Center Houston
Last week, we got to go to Johnson Space Center’s Homeschool Day – FINALLY! We’ve been planning to go for several years now, but they always schedule it close to the end of October. The Texas Ren Fest, Coushatta Pow-Wow, Balunar Fest and Halloween all have fallen within a few days of each other for the past several years, so we haven’t been able to go. But this year, they planned it mid-month, and we made it!
I am so glad we went! It was a really great experience. They hosted several classes and workshops, for the students as well as the parents. I sent the boys to a STEM for Homeschoolers class while I went to a notebooking seminar hosted by Heidi St. John of TheBusyMom.com. She’s a Christian blogger (just to warn you), but overlooking that, she had a lot of great ideas if you’re looking into transitioning to notebooking. We’ve been lapbooking for a long time, but have kind of gotten away from it. The last few lapbooks we did were kind of boring and very ‘stock’. Heidi brought some of her kids’ lapbooks, and they were fun and interesting, so I got inspired! I think that’s one of the keys to combating burn-out; seeing how other moms run their homeschool. New ideas, fresh perspectives – especially when you’re struggling with a bump in the road, listening to something new can help you rediscover your joy in homeschooling.
The boys got to work on several projects during the day. They started out with a STEM class, and got to work with household materials to demonstrate scientific principles. I have yet to get a full report, other than a few grunts and, ‘It was cool’, so I can’t give you many details about it. I walked in just as they knocked over a big tower of steel rods, which was fantastically noisy, but didn’t hear the hows or whys of it.
After STEM and notebooking, we had lunch in the big cafeteria. While we were eating, I realized how amazingly calm and peaceful the environment was. Normally, with that many kids, there’s an element of controlled chaos that rides the line between overstimulation and total anarchy. Inevitably, there are kids running around, babies crying, and frustrated parents trying to get the most out of their money for the day. But this was nothing like that. There were kids of all ages, from high schoolers to babies in slings (and breastfeeding!) and overwhelmingly, the vibe was serene and happy and easy-going. It was a moment that made me really happy to be part of it.
After lunch, we headed to the Silver Moon Lounge for Robotics 101 with Dr. Monique. There were 8 tables with 2 stations each for the kids to work on programming a Lego bot. I would post links to the kits they used, but I can’t seem to find them right now (it’s 2:30AM and I am tired – maybe tomorrow, lol).
After some initial grumbling, they got into the swing of it and were able to create a program, save it, run it with the robot (test it), and make changes to the program in order to get it to operate within specific parameters. The name of the game was ‘Don’t Kill the MiniFig’, and the object was to create a program that made the robot run the length of tape, getting as close as possible without knocking over (killing) the Lego minifig at the end of the line. LBB came closest, but after running a few programs, we ended up leaving a bit early to catch the last tram tour for the day of the grounds.
After a long day of space fun, we were all pretty tired and ready to get back home. But now that we know how close NASA is, it’s definitely something we will keep on our list of activities!
This entry was posted on October 23, 2014 by HT. It was filed under Classes, Community Events, Field Trip, Notebooking, Science, Socialization and was tagged with homeschool robotics, lapbook, Lego robotics, NASA, notebooking, robotics, Space Center Houston.