July 13, 2007

Bulk view

Science North

Today made me *so* wish that I grew up near a large, active science
centre. I’ve seen my fair share of presenters. In fact, I go out of my
way to see good presenters. The Toastmasters International convention,
the Power Within motivational event… but this guy took the cake, and
he probably hasn’t even finished university yet.

Maybe it was the sheer spectacle of propane gas burning in a trough,
or maybe the methane bubbles that flamed into rings in mid-air. Or
maybe it was all of that as well as humor, enthusiasm, passion… The
Bluecoat who did the two demonstrations we watched is named Ben, and
he was good. He was really good. He made me want to go and volunteer
somewhere so that I could learn how to do stuff like that too. He made
me wish I grew up near a big science centre so that I could have done
that as a summer job. Not that I could’ve done it with anywhere near
that kind of flair. Ah, well… that’s okay, I’ll just have to make it
up. At least I have yet another role model!

We also did a few workshops. In the lapidary lab, we polished rocks.
W. and J. just smoothed the surfaces of theirs, but I went to the
trouble of shaping an oval cabochon out of the feldspar and quartz mix
I picked out of the bucket of rocks. I’m happy with the rock that I
polished, and I wonder if I can make it into a pendant or a bracelet.

In the LEGO stop-motion movie workshop, we used iStopMotion to create
our own movies. J.’s was surprisingly well done. Two dinosaurs were
heading for the same gift. They bickered in front of it, then got
distracted by a passing spider, which they chased. Another dinosaur
crept in and gobbled the gift. The first two dinosaurs turned around
and ran after the third dinosaur. I thought that was better than my
short clip of Darth Vader attempting to hitchhike in the desert,
although I did enjoy simulating a bit of a force tantrum.

We all headed back to the toy store for a few more puzzles. I picked
up some 3D block puzzles. Think tangrams, but using segments of four
cubes stuck together. The graded puzzles and hints might be good for
J., although she still needs hints. I thought the cubes might be more
interesting than flat tangrams. Besides, *I* want the spatial
practice. ;) W. picked up some more of those wooden puzzles under the
brant Headstress. They’re fairly well constructed and rather pretty;
the kind of thing you can display in the living room as a trap for
unwary geeks. ;)

Good day. Very good day. I heart science centres.

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