Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Catching a 'Booster Rocket'

Mr. Jack began class talking about SpaceX. He asks the kids if they knew what it was.  We had seen the SpaceX building and launch pads when we went to Kennedy Space Center in November.  I had even talked to the kids about the Falcon Heavy launch, but they are not like I am - a space geek!  They vaguely recalled some of the things we talked about.  So they could answer a few questions Mr. Jack asked them.  This goes to show you that we all retain information important to us, the individual.  I expose them to many things and they compartmentalize bits and pieces, but they only internalize what holds importance to them.

Anyway, Mr. Jack explained why the Falcon Heavy launch was such a big step for rocketry.  The recovery and reuse of the booster rockets would save millions of dollars for space flight.  He showed them the return on the first two booster rockets and the kids were impressed.  Then he explained the third booster rocket recovery.  It was not a success.  He showed the kids a picture of the drone ship that was to recover the rocket.

This led to the discussion of trajectory and design of a 'rocket catching' drone ship.  He tasked the kids with making a device to catch in coming ping-pong balls.  Of course, he had one he made to show them one possibility.  He explained the parameters they would have to work with and had them work in groups of three to complete the mission.

They busily gathered foil, straws, tape, cups, tissue paper, string, pencils, and paper to build their 'drone ships'.  Each group came up with a different design.

Finally, they all were ready to see which design would work the best.  LM's group's ship caught the most ping-pong balls.

After all the 'drone ships' were tested, they regrouped and talked about the designs and what worked and didn't work.  Mr. Jack always gives them positive feed back and suggestions for how they can improve their designs for the next engineering feet.

Now, maybe they will remember more about SpaceX!

Friday, March 16, 2018

Kings Mountain National Military Park

The kids and I took a detour on the way home from the Schiele Museum to see Kings Mountain National Military Park.  I have been wanting to take them several times and the weather has not cooperated.  Today was a good day to stop and see it.

We loved the movie about Kings Mountain.  It was very informative and refreshed our memory of the battle.

We then strolled through the museum and listened to the recordings as we looked at the displays.  The museum is nicely and done and very informative.  If you missed any information during the video, you can find it in the displays.

Next, we hit the battlefield trail.  It was a mile and half trail that I would rate at mostly moderate.  There are a few steep inclines, but they have placed park benches to be able to sit and rest when needed.  Thank goodness it was a fairly cool day today for the walk!  Along the paved trail, there are displays telling about the battle and several monuments that have been erected.

At the top of Kings Mountain, was the monument to the American Patriots.  This battle was considered the turning point of the Revolutionary War.  Without the Overmountain Men and their rifles, the outcome of the war may have been quite different.

If you are ever in the area, stop by and see this historic site.  It will be well worth a few hours of your time.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Lions, Tigers, Bears, and Dinosaurs?

Our homeschool group traveled to the Schiele Museum of Natural Science.  There were two new exhibits that we hadn't seen.  The first was the new National Geographic photography exhibit of Lions, Tigers, and Bears!  The photographers captured amazing photos of the various animals.  Some of the photographs looked surreal!  They were all captivating to see.  We loved reading the captions and learning more about each picture.  It was also nice to read about the photographer of the pictures.

Next, we ventured to the Dinosaur exhibit.  Life like models of dinosaurs filled the rooms.  Informative plaques hung on the walls telling about the period and interesting tidbits relating to the dinosaurs.  There were ample fossil casts to look at and marvel over.

The kids, though older, loved the Pirate exhibit.  It was a large playground type of ship they could climb on and release some energy.

We then browsed the areas of North Carolina from the mountains to the coast.  They love looking for the different animals in the exhibits.

The Hall of North American Animals is a hit every time.  Taxidermied animals are all over showing the diversity of wildlife in North America.  There is also a wall that has living animals that the kids gravitate to every time we visit.

We visited the Native American Hall to learn more about the rich culture of the different tribes of North America.

Finally, we went outdoors to walk the nature trail and visit the farm.  It was a pleasant day for a walk.  The pigs and the sheep were out waiting for the kids to see and pet them.  Of course, they all obliged!