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March Homeschool Miscellany

posted on: Thursday, 6 April 2023 @ 3:42pm in

We accidentally had two excursions this month. I’m not sure whether that makes us “caught up” due to not having one last month or able to chill next month given that the first and second months tend to be organisational and transitional.

The last time we went to the Gravity Discovery Centre was in 2010. Unfortunately stuff just didn’t occur to J and I, for whatever reason I thought that we were only going for the night thing even though their night things always include entry into the rest of it, so I didn’t cancel roleplaying, and J assumed we’d be roleplaying and didn’t mention it. And it was unfortunate as the kids would have made the entire solar system walk now, before we only managed to get up to Uranus before we had to turn back.

As it was, we got there early enough to have a really early dinner and apparently timed it well as we were warned that they had a small kitchen and a large order coming up and had it been too much later we would have had a long wait.

Everyone had fish and chips (apparently J had done the order when no one was available to give preferences or something and had taken the easiest route) which were pretty good and then we meandered up the leaning tower with water balloons (instructions were to fill up one to about the size of a tennis ball and one a bit bigger) to somewhat recreate an experiment that may or may not have been done by Galileo off the Leaning Tower of Pisa.

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The bigs did try to drop both their balloons down at the same time, but 14yo decided he just wanted to do his one at a time.

We all knew how this experiment ended anyway but they still got a kick out of it.

The view from up there was spectacular.

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As it was getting dark and we still had a bit of time before the presentation, we went inside to play with the displays. There was a spinny “shuttle” thing with a G-force calculator inside and as only two people at a time could go into it, the kids tried different pairings to see which set could generate the most. Apparently the bigs together were able to generate 1.4G, the smalls 1.2 and I think by the time the boys paired up they were too dizzy to keep track.

I did attempt a few photos, didn’t occur to me to take videos, and they were all blurry for some reason.

Aside from that, there was a levitating electromagnetic thing, a wave generator in the form of a giant slinky, an orbit table, scales set to tell your weight on different planets, and microscopes (which everyone loves) in a little curios area.

The event we were there for started and I think even 14yo was interested in the lecture at the beginning as he didn’t fidget too much (he may or may not claim that he was bored and was just being polite). The lecture covered a lot of Indigenous history and culture as well as identifying their constellations. After the lecture and slideshow, we went outside and tried to spot some of the constellations in the night sky with the two guides (the lecturer and another guy) using laser pointers. The other guy was hilariously snarky and apparently had zero patience for flat earthers, moon landing deniers and smokers (the last one violently so as they are in bushland).

After the laser pointers we went into the observatory to look at heavenly bodies through their telescopes, including a massive one at the end. I don’t have any photos from this part of the night due to it being too dark and not wanting to use flash. There were four telescopes pointed at different types of space stuff and a guide on each one to answer various questions each group had. The kids had a lot of questions.

One of the telescopes was pointed at the moon (was so bright we couldn’t study it for as long as we wanted) and that guide helped 16yo and some others in the group get some amazing moon shots.

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The drive back home was interesting, we made jokes about the bravery of the “convoy leader” at the front with the high beams on.

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We caught up with this “convoy” (not actually a convoy, just traffic); earlier in the trip we had passed someone who wasn’t too confident country driving at night as they were travelling very slowly, flicked on our high beams and led the way and that made them confident enough to keep pace behind us.

The following day we went to an indoor shooting range minus 16yo who was too tired form the previous night.

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The boys had a good time, though 18yo said he preferred archery. After one clip I decided I really didn’t like holding a mini explosion and gave 14yo the rest (we had 4 each from memory).

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Afterwards J asked the boys if they wanted another one each, 18yo passed but 14yo took him up. He has since asked to go back. Apparently his favourite part of shooting is reloading.

14yo’s next big project was a “movie” series on Google Slides which I’m not allowed to spoil here because it’s going to be the next big thing apparently. It was very goofy and silly and funny and my next step is going to be to try to convince him to make promotional material for it.

Due to 16yo and I trying to get used to our new jobs I completely failed at getting this month’s assignments out to them and will have to roll it over (and actually write them out).