Sunday, March 7, 2010

Explore UT

Because I am like an eager puppy who always wants to be taken out for a walk, the Professor dragged his tired bones out of bed on Saturday to take his wife and children to Explore UT. This is an annual event at our local university campus that offers opportunities galore for kids to experience hands-on learning in a huge variety of subjects, and also to eat lots of sugar. Because as we know, where two or three children are gathered together, there is a candy bowl in their midst.

Highlights included the water-balloon-hurling trebuchet:

The building of "sweet structures" (do I even need to tell you that Caroline did her own hair stunts?):

The playing of Medical Jeopardy (Uncle Peter, you'd be so proud of your niece's performance!):

Checking out some algae up close and deciding to add "microscope" to the Birthday Wish List:

Admiring some stuffed birds and a feather collection (remember our current bird study?):

The crowd favorite -- ice cream made with liquid nitrogen! 

Walking in paint and plotting stride length on a huge graph:

Blowing freezing bubbles:

And getting behind the wheel of a student-designed car:

We were supposed to meet our friends and traveling companions, the Dixons, but since they couldn't tear themselves away from the liberal-artsy side of campus and we were spellbound by the science and engineering end, the connection never quite happened. Disappointing, but less so when you consider the implications: our children were completely entranced by the experience they were having. 

It's easy to see at an event like this that children are naturally inclined to learn. Learning is both their job and their joy. Of the hundreds, maybe even thousands of children I passed or rubbed shoulders with, not one was whining about boredom or casting about for a DS to play with. A little effort to engage them by adults who love their subject material can pay off in evaluations like this: 

"When I grow up, I'm going to bring MY kids to Explore UT." -- Eliza

"That place was JUST LIKE A FAIRYLAND." -- Caroline


Stephanie said...

I am jealous. We came to Explore UT a 2 years ago (we're even in the 2008 Class Photo). We would have been here this year, except for the fact that we were in Houston for another thrilling (and insanely LONG) gymnastics meet. It looks like your kids had a blast. I love Eliza's comment - it is a sweet implied approval of your parenting, which she intends to emulate.

Raji P. said...

oh maaaan, we missed it! I somehow thought it was for older children :(

Jessica said...

It was great to run into y'all at Explore UT! I agree with Eliza - when I grow up, I'm bringing my kids ;)

Era said...

Looks like a lot of fun. I'll have to check it out next year.

Vanessa said...

Wow, Explore UT is like Fairyland. . .UT should quote her next year as they advertise for it! I too thought it was for big kids only. I wonder what the liberal artsy folks offered?

Love your new banner Hannah--especially the typewriter.

Naomi said...

Oh man, I am SO jealous! What a COOL event!!! Maybe next time (or some time in the future) we'll drive down for it or something, cuz it sounds totally worth it!!!