Sculpture and Science in Summer 2016


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On Friday we braved the heat and humidity to go on the Sculpture and Science tour held at Anita B. Gorman Discovery Center and Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. This tour combines nature, science and art to get kids thinking about the world around them, and the art they might create, in new and different ways.

We started at the Anita B. Gorman Discovery Center for a tour through the grounds of the nature center. Our teen guides talked to the kids about the different senses we use when we are outdoors, specifically sight, hearing, touch and smell. (We were not supposed to taste the plants.) The various stations throughout the nature center had activities that were multi-sensory – “mystery boxes” that held four different natural items that the kids had to feel and guess what they were; leaf rubbings; building towers with wooden blocks; counting the rings on a large tree stump; and observing and drawing a collection of nature items.

After the nature center we picnicked on the grounds of the Nelson-Atkins Museum, then began our museum tour. We started at one of the giant shuttlecocks with a discussion of gravity and tested gravity with our own shuttlecocks during a game of badminton with the teen guides. The guides led us to one of the sculptures to talk about pattern and movement, and the kids used Spirographs to represent what they saw. After that the kids worked on their stability using balance boards. There was a lot of laughter as the kids teamed up to try and stay upright. We finished our tour by having the kids play with a parachute, taking turns running underneath and then all hiding underneath to create a “mushroom”.

As always, we had a great time on the tour and the kids had fun together. These teen guides did a wonderful job of engaging the kids. Many thanks to our teen guides, and a big “thank you!” to Kim and to Brent for their hard work. We had a great field trip!

Turtle at the nature center pond

The teen guides explaining the mystery boxes

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Trying out the mystery boxes to determine what was inside

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Fish scales from a gar and a carp

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Algae from the nature center pond
Other items in the boxes included a mink pelt and a turtle shell

Several examples of leaf rubbings
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Tree block towers
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Counting rings on a tree stump

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Observing and drawing items from nature

Dugout canoe at the nature center

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A bark “butterfly”

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Teaming up to balance on the board

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Parachute play

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The parachute mushroom

We had a great time on Friday, and look forward to visiting both venues again soon!


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