Archive for the ‘Planetarium’ Category

hollywood through the lensbaby

Last weekend my dad flew into Los Angeles and we met him there to spend a couple days in the area. We spent the first afternoon on the hill above Hollywood, visiting the Griffith Observatory. Somehow, despite having been to Hollywood several times as a young adult, I’d missed the fact that the Observatory existed. And that it’s got a little cafeteria called the Cafe at the End of the Universe, a Douglas Adams reference. So we headed up there where we were treated to an incredible view of the Hollywood sign (which may have been Elliott’s favorite part of the whole trip). The kids wandered around the observatory and probably learned some stuff (Margie spent some time opening an aiming a model of a giant telescope) but mostly we enjoyed the views. And then we wandered along a trail – someday we’d like to go back, but it was too late in the day to begin such a long trail.

looking at the hollywood sign


learning some stuff, probably

my boy and the hollywood sign


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In addition to Margie’s usual spelling & math (and swimming!), we made cookies. You see, because of our gluten-free diet, I needed a stand mixer to make bread (bread machines being too unpredictable for GF, IMO). Since mine arrived yesterday I naturally had to try it out. And since I’ve never used one before I had to try it out with a batch of cookies. HAD TO.

my new friend

In the process, we talked about the elements of baking – fats, flour, binders, etc. However, we were working with coconut flour which is, I think, the strangest flour on the planet so you use very little flour and about 400 eggs for some reason. Elliott helped, too, and even when the mixer was on which is a pretty big step for him. It helps that the mixer isn’t too loud.

kids in the kitchen means eggshells in the cookies

my helper

chocolate chip cookies

In the evening, Margie and I went to the planetarium show to learn about the constellations of winter. We learned about Orion, his belt and nebula, about Sirius & Bellatrix, Betelgeuse (which, apparently translates roughly as “armpit of the giant”), about both Canis major and minor, Taurus and the Pleiades. We also learned that there is a 13th zodiacal constellation called Ophiuchus which is actually what Alex should be. Apparently the Zoroastrians felt that 12 was a powerful number so they chose only 12 of the constellations, but this thirteenth one, which is a snake, is connected with the mythological creator of medicine, hence the reptilian symbol of doctors. I imagine a fair amount of this went over Margie’s head, but I found it interesting so I’m writing it down here anyway. On the drive home, we reviewed the story we learned in which Orion was hunting with his dogs and came across the Seven Sisters (who cameoed in the book Mary Poppins, by the way). The Sisters ran from him and tried to hide. They begged Taurus for help, who jumped down from the sky, they climbed on and back up he went. Orion pursued and to this day he chases the Sisters and the bull across the night sky, helped by his two dogs.

One last note. Over the Thanksgiving weekend, Margie’s Hanging Gardens finally sprouted. I’m not sure it’s exactly what Nebuchadnezzar had in mind, but here it is, anyway.

hanging gardens

hanging gardens

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Today was much better in terms of a certain four year old’s mood. Which means my mood also was better. Yay.

~Looked at some pages in The Joy of Math that sort of corresponded with our Living Math lesson.
~Several pages of Singapore Math.
~2 pages of spelling.
~1 scissors practice page
~M wanted more copywork so I found her a quote from Mr Rogers that was also about listening. She worked very, very hard to do all her writing on “regular” lines (as opposed to those big lined writing pages with dashes down the middle). It was her choice (motivated by the dog and cat on the paper) and she did spectacularly. She is very much enjoying this copywork stuff!
~I read another version of one of the Anansi stories from the SOTW book.
~In the afternoon we did Anansi-related projects (photos to come).

~Did a scissors practice page (and then turned it into a puppet)
~Colored an alligator.
~Listened to a story – Alligator Shoes.
~Then he was done.
~But he did join us for Anansi stories and projects.
~Also he played with letters and spelled some things.

he made this

stamper of a sort

spider with many legs

In the evening, Margie and I will dropped E off with Grandma and headed out to the planetarium show. It was, of course, very cool. The guest speaker was a Southwestern College professor (not one I had, but I think some friends did) and he was funny and gave an excellent presentation. He began with showing us why the constellations change through the seasons. They had graphics that showed the sun’s path and the celestial equator and it was very cool to be able to show Margie what Mabon and Yule look like in celestial terms – I feel like it clicked on a new level for her (it certainly did for me). He then showed us some of the Fall Constellations – Pegasus (and Margie was seriously offended that it was upside-down), Andromeda (as well as the galaxy), Cassiopeia, Cepheus, Perseus, Pegasus and Cetus – and he told us the ancient story which ties these constellations together.

sky watchers

After the show, we went outside to the telescopes where we got to look closely at the moon and at Jupiter and two of its moons. I think she enjoyed it and I know I did. Despite her getting a little antsy during the show, I feel like she got a lot out of it and I hope to go several more times this year.

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