Today was Homeschool Days at Mid America Science Museum in Hot Springs Arkansas. They were charging a reduced admission price and setting up special hands on learning stations that are not part of the "normal" exhibits. We have been to the museum twice before and the children loved it, so we thought it would be fun to go for Homeschool Days and see the special activities that were planned.
The museum set up 10 learning areas.
1. Zoetrope- Create your own animation and watch it move.
2. Wind Tubes- design your own flying contraption and test it out in wind tunnels.
3. Marble Wall- create a roller coaster design for a marble.
4. Circuits- wire up your own circuits, buzzers, and bulbs.
5. Light Painting-create paintings with light.
6. Collective Piece- create a mini mobile out of recyclables and add it to a large main structure.
7. KEVA contraptions- create a race way for ping pong balls
8. Connectors and Tubes- build with connectors and blocks.
9. Science Story Time- Science themed stories told by local librarian.
10. Tesla Theatre- Science of Lightning
Plus you of course could go through all of the normal, fun, hands on exhibits that museum has to offer.
I have to admit, I knew it was going to be busy, but I was in no way prepared for the amount of homeschoolers that were there today. At 10:30 I heard that they count was 440! That is a lot of people! It was pretty loud and chaotic. The special hands on stations were a great idea, but out of the 10 stations, we only got to do 4. We arrived at the museum at 10:00 when it opened and left at 3:00 when it ended. The children had a great time and did a lot of fun stuff, but most of the things they did we could have done on any random day at the museum with a lot less people and chaos. My wonderful husband told me to buy the membership passes so we can just go to the museum whenever we want to (like on a Tuesday morning when nobody else is there.)
Mid America has scheduled several 2 hour workshops throughout the year for homeschoolers in a small class setting. You can find out more information on those here. They are also offering a 5 week series and have science kits available to rent. I signed the boys up for a couple of workshops and since we are buying the membership we will get a discount on those and the rest of us can play in the museum! I wish some of the workshops catered to a wider age range, but I think it's great that they are developing these programs based on the needs of homeschoolers.
In case you looked at the pictures and wondered why my oldest was missing, she ran into some homeschool friends from another town that she met at the 4 H State Competition and spent the day exploring the museum with them.