My Beautiful Wickedness


Trip to the Science Center
November 1, 2007, 5:06 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

I picked Kid up from school at class dismissal and asked her if she wanted to go to the local children’s museum of science and tech. It was a freebie day — the whole family could get in for a donated can of food to the local food bank. We used to go nearly every week for a little bit, to observe the animals or do an experiment or just sit and listen to the docent tell us the story of precipitation. We stopped going when our membership expired and we hadn’t been there for about a year — Kid’s getting bigger and her interests are now more experimental rather than observational (hey, what happens if I do this?) and much of the museum is geared to younger children. Still, she was happy to go and see the changed displays (even if she told me in a whisper that “they don’t have much to do with real science.”

Kid’s favorite part was a motion wall that had planets cascading down. Bumping them with your shadow sent them scurrying off in a different direction. Circling them with your shadow would get the machine to blurt out a fact about the planet. This led to a lot of jumping, conducting the planets, Kid and I playing with Saturn like a slightly deflated helium balloon as we touched it back and forth…it was aerobic and fun.

My favorite part, though, was going to the planetarium. The planetarium there has a few seats, but mostly brightly colored gym mats and slantpillows so that you can lay on the floor with your kid and snuggle them while the show goes on overhead. We had a double-header. First, there was the Astronaut show (narrated by Ewan MacGregor) that was a trippy and uneven look at the promise and perils of being an astronaut. It was content-lite (all the astronauts were white guys, morphing from Columbus-the-explorer and back again….no imperial agenda here, y’all). Then we got an actual planetarium show, where the late fall skies were animated and we got some hints of what to look for when we’re out at night. Kid had been happy last night walking around and looking at the stars (which she usually doesn’t get to see, as we live in a rough neighborhood and we don’t typically go out at night…well, she sees them when we go down to Kentucky at my mom’s, but not so much in the fall). I sort of wish we had done this on Tuesday so she would have known what she was looking at. Having your mom say “and that’s Casseopeia….” is not nearly as cool as being able to look up and say “Hey, Mom! Look! Casseopeia!”

So, hell. My grading isn’t going to be as far progressed as I had hoped, but twenty-five years from now, my students (if I am any indication) will have forgotten they ever had my class…whereas, in twenty-five years, my daughter might be snuggling a daughter of her own, laying on the floor of a planetarium, passing the wonder on.

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