Monday, 3 February 2014

First Day At School - NOT!

Start of the "school day"
There are 2 schools on our road; a primary and a secondary. The Kindergarten students start school today. L is 6 this year and would be starting with them if she wasn't home educated. Our first day at school (NOT!) did start a little earlier than usual, we were up at perhaps the same time as those going to school, woken early by the wildlife on the camp-site. I think the children's expressions show that it's a little earlier than they are used to, no 6am starts to the school run here thanks very much!

Camp breakfast
We were down at Canberra, making the most of school kid free attractions. First stop was the very under publicised Geoscience Australia education centre. At the centre you can visit the foyer with its mineral collection and the outdoor discovery walk any weekday. Visits to the education room are allowed any time they don't already have a school visit - just email and ask when. Best of all the centre has free admission and very friendly staff. Add a cafe and reasonably priced shop and what more do you need?

We knew it was going to be a scorcher of a day, around 40C, so we did the discovery walk before it got too hot. This walk around the grounds of the centre is a little over a km and is in fact a scale timeline from the formation of the earth through to the present day. Modern humans are represented by just a few cm. Along the walk are typical rock types from the era along with fossils of organisms alive at the time. I was surprised just how much L was into this and looking for crystals and fossils in the giant slabs of rock.

Petrified tree

Fascinated by huge mica crystals

Banded iron stone
After the walk we entered the building. There are many cases of beautiful crystals and several large specimens in the foyer. Ask the friendly staff for a treasure hunt sheet.

In the discovery room we touched lots more rocks, minerals and fossils. The children looked at specimens under ultraviolet light and through microscopes. There were some experiments  to do such as floating pumice, finding magnetic rocks and testing for porosity. There's lots of information on display in the room and leaflets, posters and models to take away with you.

A favourite specimen

Jigsaw of the Earth's plates

Testing for porosity

What is sand made from?
After that we tried the cafe which is reasonable priced as it seems to double as the staff canteen. We decided that it would be a great place to work when we saw that they have a board game club every other week!

For more science we headed along to Questacon for some hands on experiments. We also caught the collision show hosted by a mad scientist.

Is the crown made of real gold?

Concentration face

Spin art

Video microscopes
After that it was time to head back to camp for a swim in the pool to cool down. So L's first day of school was full of learning and not a text book in sight!

1 comment:

  1. What a wonderful experience! We must take a trip to Geoscience Australia as well. :)