All posts by waterstreetacademy

Behind the Scenes…

…At the Field Museum! We were so lucky to get the chance to meet with Dr. Corine Vriesendorp who is the director of their Andes-Amazon program. She is a field biologist and a plant ecologist…. and may we say – super FUN! She had just returned from a research trip in Columbia so we were extra excited that the timing worked out for us to go to Chicago (who doesn’t love Chicago!?) and meet with her.

We started our behind the scenes adventure in the Rare Book Room. We saw the Audubon Ottoman, (well, it had a cover on it, but we were able to see one of the 4 Audubon Double Elephant Folio books), a rare, historical piece that was donated to the Museum in 1969.

From there, we went to the bird specimen area. There we learned about the consistent way nature solves problems, how species are collected and how huge the Field Museum’s collection of birds is. We loved seeing all the tiny hummingbirds and the birds of paradise. They are so dramatic!!!

We also revisited the beetle room. The room where hard, detailed, and wildly smelly work gets done by flesh eating beetles, who, for a place to stay, will eat birds and mammals to the bone, ready for organizing and storing by the most patient people on earth! They sort the freshly cleaned bones, some tinier than we could believe existed, tagged them and placed them in boxes to add to their massive collection.

After our tour was complete, we experienced the Specimens exhibit and the rest of the museum, including, meeting another scientist who is an entomologist. We held hissing cockroaches, spiders and a giant millipede.

A SUPER inspiring trip to meet some amazing scientists and hear about their work. A special thank you to Corine for taking us behind the scenes of her workplace!!! IMG_3532FullSizeRenderIMG_3533IMG_3540IMG_3544IMG_3548IMG_3549IMG_3550IMG_3551IMG_3559IMG_3557IMG_3555IMG_3560IMG_3552

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Children’s Day!

Children’s Day in Japan is May 5th. While we celebrated it on the actual date, we have been slow to post our project!

It is a day of celebration in honor of….you guessed it – CHILDREN!  In Japan, cloth carp with streamers, called Koinibori, are flown on poles outside. It is supposed to bring good luck and fortune to the children inside the home. Koi Carp represent strength, and determination and are used as a symbol for the hope that children will also become strong and brave!!

 

We made our own Koinobori. Super fun and easy to make!

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Getting to Know Mike Gallagher…

Mike is the Editor and co-founder of our local Newspaper, the Local Observer. We are working on a civics project to round out the school year (keep your eyes out for our newest adventure coming soon!) and we wanted to know more about how the press is involved in every day life in America.

We were impressed with how brave he is! It was hard to believe how daring reporters have to be and the lengths he goes to get the truth and all the perspectives of a story!! Until this week, we had no idea that a reporter is like a secret agent.

He has lived and worked in many places. We were happy to have had the chance to meet him! A special thanks to Mike for lunch and taking the time to talk with us about his job!

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Move It!

Yesterday, we went to a STEAM exhibit at the Saugatuck Center for the Arts. It showcases some of the work by Sarah and Jon Vanderbeek of Sweet Spot Studio.  In the room there were many dinosaur toys, cars and airplanes, and many work-in-progress toys. The intent of the exhibit was to show the development process and how Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math (STEAM) work together to bring products to life. In the middle of the room, stood a giant word, STEAM and on it was a obstical course for a large orange ball, which once you turned a wheel the ball traveled down a ramp, through a loopy loop, up another ramp, around a large M, down through a large tube and using air under high pressure, rolling across a trigger which made a small foam rocket shoot to the ceiling! Finally, the ball rolled back where it originally started. We did this several times yipping and jumping up and down every single time! It was SO fun!!

Although fun, we only saw gender specific toys, so we would’ve appreciated just a touch of diversity! As you might know from our blog posts, we love science and building and art and math, so this was the perfect exhibition for us!

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Maker Time!

As one of our final end-of-the-year projects, we’re learning to create 3D PRINTS on our MakerBot!!! How cool is that?!?! We’ve been making “simple” things on the computer on a professional design program called SketchUp. We’re designing all kinds of things.

For her first print, Olive created a yacht for her minuscule Polly Pockets complete with outdoor seating, a kitchen and guest bedroom! I started by designing a cute character for my ‘cute character collection’. I have since started working on prostsetics for dolls with lost arms or hands. We are learning so many things about math… scale is a big one (no pun intended!)… when we built our first models, we had no idea that they were actually 64 FEET tall! We reduced them down to a size that would actually work with our toys. Can you imagine a 64′ tall Polly Pocket yacht !?

The fact that your own designs can magically appear in a matter of hours is so impressive! As we learn more about the complex program to create things, the next challenge is to create something that ‘fits together’. More on that when our project gets further underway.

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This is the MakerBot in action!

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This print took about 3 hours to print.

This is Olive’s Party Ship for her Polly Pockets!

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This little baby took over FIVE hours to print!

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Tippity Toppity Top!

As a fun school project involving rotation, inertia, torque and velocity, we made a couple tops! Made out of wood, these laser cut spinners are smooth to the touch and they are easy to put together. Adding color to the patterns was fun and it was cool to see how they changed once in motion. The faster they rotated, the more the colors blended. The tops are made by a company in Texas named Bright Beam Goods. Check them out, they also have cool puzzles!

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Check out these cool videos about SPINNING!

 

 

Make a Wish Cookies!

It is time for the bright yellow flowers across the midwest to come into season o lawns everywhere. It’s dandelion season! Before the flower turns to seed (the ever-fun make a wish stage!), we thought it would be fun to try making something delicious from the bright yellow flowers to accompany the salad we made from its leaves.

Overall, we thought it was fun to make them, but thought the texture was too fiberous. Kind of hairy, if you will. In addition to the ingredients in the recipe below, we added in additional seasoning like cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom and chocolate chips. We shared them with friends and neighbors for the novelty of it, and they each said they loved them. Our crew, on the other hand, will probably stick to apricot oatmeal cookies and leave the little sunny flowers to go to seed so we can make more wishes instead of cookies with them!

This was the recipe we used: https://www.splendidtable.org/recipes/dandelion-flower-cookies

If you try making them, we’d love to know what you think…

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