En route to New York, we detoured by Cleveland. As members of the NASA Passport Program, we have a goal of visiting all eleven sites across the country. Great Lakes Science Center, in Cleveland, Ohio, had the added benefit of being free for us, as ASTC Passport members. (If you haven't looked into the ASTC program, I suggest checking it out. Your family can visit 350+ museums for free with an annual pass.)
Great Lakes Science Center happened to have a Lego exhibit as their special feature, which made both boys very happy! Before learning about space, we took a world adventure with Lego models. The exhibit was impressive, with creations that addressed world landmarks, historical events, and even great works of art. There was also a hands-on challenge to build a load-bearing form of transportation that would carry various objects on a point-to-point course.
After exhausting the Lego exhibit, we headed into the Space Center. Admittedly, we probably should have visited the smaller centers before hitting the big ones in Cape Canaveral and Houston because the kids were less interested in the minutiae than the big rockets. They enjoyed learning about the Apollo capsule, and tried their hands at a moon landing.We learned how to fly an airplane with various forces acting upon it, about wind tunnels and jet propulsion, and about how the air is filtered for astronauts aboard the International Space Station.
We explored some of the new inventions arising from the space program, and learned how to communicate via laser beams and satellites.Directly in front of the science center is Lake Erie, which makes for a fabulous picnic area! Outside, we learned about a historical ship, William Mather, and it's uses on the lake. We also learned about different types of fish that eat the scuzzy stuff (eg, algae) off the boat. My eldest wants to research this more later, and see if there is a Wild Kratts episode about these fish. These boys and their Wild Kratts...!
We left the science center and walked next door to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, and then got in the car for another leg of the trip. The rest of us were quite envious of his ability to fall asleep within one minute of buckling up!
Check out our other recent NASA field trip posts for more space-themed unit studies & lapbooks, and lots of freebies!
Great Lakes Science Center unit