Journal of Be(e)utiful Pla(y)ces

Outing #29: Written in the Runes

Middle Earth (via New Zealand) EXPLORE Our second Fantasy Field Trip this week took us to Middle Earth, J.R.R. Tolkien’s world of The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings. If you’re not familiar with the tales of Middle Earth, start with an introduction to the pivotal element of the story—the ring. Then, visit the Morgan Library & Museum to learn about Tolkien himself and how he came to imagine Middle Earth. Finally, get a glimpse of the real-life New Zealand landscapes that became Middle Earth in The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings movies. DISCUSS The ring promises the thing you want most. What would you want more than anything else? Which species from Middle Earth do you connect with the most? If you

Outing #28: Mischief Managed

London & Edinburgh, UK and Porto, Portugal EXPLORE After a little time off due to non-coronavirus-related illness, we’ve regrouped for a week of Fantasy Field Trips. We started our adventures with a tour of Harry Potter hot spots. To join in the fun, check out these fun virtual tours of sites in the UK and Portugal that inspired J.K. Rowling's magical world. If you want more, explore the British Library's on-line exhibition with artifacts and stories related to magic and Harry Potter. You can also visit the Museum of Witchcraft and Magic to learn more about the real history of magic in the UK and beyond. DISCUSS Which real life Harry Potter hot spots would you want to visit? Which Hogwarts h

Outing #27: Unexpected Properties

Oregon Museum of Science & Industry, Portland, Oregon EXPLORE To continue our week of Crazy Chemistry, we visited a beloved place in our family: the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry. I worked at OMSI for 12 years, so my kids literally grew up among the exhibits. One of their favorite places in the museum is the Chemistry Lab where people can don their safety goggles and do real experiments at the lab bench. To see for yourself what you can do at OMSI, check this out. To start, we discussed what chemistry is. We used this simple definition: chemistry is the study of matter and its properties. Then, we watched a series of fun OMSI-produced videos about different properties of matter: Dens

Outing #26: One (Radio)Active Family

Musée Curie, Paris, France EXPLORE This week we’re diving into the world of Crazy Chemistry. To start, we’re visiting the Musée Curie in Paris, France to learn about radioactivity and the amazing Curie family. The Curies--Marie and Pierre Curie and their daughter Irene and her husband Frédéric--collectively won five Nobel Prizes in Chemistry and Physics! To join in, check out the museum’s virtual exhibits to learn more about the Curie family and work. This short animated TedEd video also provides a good overview of Marie Curie and the obstacles she overcame to become one of the most famous and decorated scientists in history. Then, watch these short videos to learn more about the uses of rad

Outing #25: Engineering Perseverance

Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California, USA EXPLORE On Monday, we explored engineering around the world. Today, we learned about engineers exploring other worlds. Specifically, we visited the engineers at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. The JPL team is working hard to send a new rover to Mars this summer. They named it Perseverance before the pandemic hit, and it is living up to the title. Check out the sweet photos of the JPL team working from home to keep launch on schedule. To join us on our adventures, start with this short video introducing the Mars 2020 mission and team.Then, check out some of the profiles of the highlighted engineers, scientists, and

Outing #24: Building Bridges

Q’eswachaka Rope Bridge, Peru Meghalaya, India EXPLORE This week we’re exploring engineering in all its many forms. Part of what makes us human is our ability to think creatively to solve problems. That’s engineering. To join us, start with this short video introducing engineering from Crash Course Kids. For today's adventures, we focused on how people around the world have engineered bridges from all sorts of materials. Watch this short National Geographic slideshow and website highlighting spectacular bridges made from everything from stone and steel to grass and living roots. Then, learn more about the traditional engineering techniques behind the Q’eswachaka grass rope bridge in Peru and

Outing #23: What Will You March for?

Civil Rights Institute, Birmingham, Alabama EXPLORE To continue our exploration of young social justice heroes and sheroes, the Adventure Whales visited the Civil Rights Institute in Birmingham, Alabama. The Institute is across the street from the 16th Street Baptist Church and park that hosted one of the crucial events of the US Civil Rights Movement—the Birmingham Children’s March of 1963. To join us, check out BCRI’s Project C: Lessons from the American Civil Rights Movement video series. Make sure that you see these clips: Birmingham Civil Rights Institute The Children's March Social Justice Movements We also watched the trailer for Mighty Times: The Children’s March, which paints a vivi

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