This is part 2 in a three-part series about my trip to San Francisco to visit Maker Faire Bay Area. I also write about our visit at Lick Wilmerding High School and Maker Faire Bay Area in separate posts.
Friday afternoon, we ventured to Pier 15 to visit the Exploratorium. Robin-Lynn, Kristin, and I spent 3.5 hours in this place and only left because they closed.
We played with all the exhibits. Ok, that’s a lie. We missed all sorts of exhibits in our short visit.
Kristin and I joked around with this illusion of flying. From her POV, the effect could be quite convincing. From mine, it was mostly hilarious.
Robin-Lynn and Kristin made art at a huge swinging table. We wondered what it would take to recreate back in Atlanta — could it be scaled down?
The last thing we saw was also the best. A replica of a portable tent-based camera obscura:
This Feynman quote on the wall at Exploratorium belongs on our school walls:
I wonder why. I wonder why.
I wonder why I wonder.
I wonder why I wonder why
I wonder why I wonder!
At the Exploratorium, like at Lick, I made note of a few takeaways for my own practice. Here you go:
- A reminder to always open with the hook, the thing of interest. We saw a gravity-powered calculator that could find square roots and a parabolic mirror that focused heat as well as light. Both would be great demos to show in my own physics classes.
- We can totally build a tent-based camera obscura in August. Meghan and Kristin say they’re down for the attempt. I think we need to use heavy canvas or something like velvet that’s light-tight.
- Exploratorium has a ton of free resources online that I need to explore: Geometry Playground, several iPad apps that I could use in the classroom — Sound Uncovered is one, and Snacks — aa way to create classroom versions of the most popular exhibits.
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