We started our tour at Nelson-Atkins Museum, and explored the outdoor sculpture garden. The kids learned about the wavelength of light, and used Slinkies to make their own waves. We saw the new installation by the artist Eduardo Chillida, and learned how the artist did not use right angles in the sculpture, and how light and air can move throughout the piece. We also talked about global warming, and used a parachute to simulate the build up of warm air.
We visited one of the Henry Spencer Moore sculptures to learn about how acid rain can erode metal and cause pitting on the surface. The guides explained that outside sculptures and building exteriors need to be made out of harder, more impervious materials, rather than soft materials. The kids also mixed chalk and vinegar to see how an acid (vinegar) can break down a softer material.
The tour at Nelson-Atkins ended when the guides led us over to two more of the Henry Spencer Moore sculptures to talk about the shapes they have, and how they can be interpreted in different ways by different people viewing them. The kids built with wood pieces to create their own sculptures to be interpreted, then built one very large wooden sculpture as a group.
From there we had our lunches and then headed over to the Anita B. Gorman Discovery Center to explore the various gardens over there.
While at the Anita B. Gorman Discovery Center, the kids learned about forest habitats, the sycamore tree (2nd largest in Missouri), and worked in teams to build wooden towers. They learned about lakes and ponds habitats, and played a game to guess what items were hidden in the boxes. They made leaf rubbings, and then looked at different pelts, bones and feathers to guess what kinds of animals they might belong to. After that, we were free to explore the (air-conditioned!) Discovery Center.
As always, we had a great time exploring sculpture and science at both locations. Thank you to the staff and teen guides who make this great program possible!