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Category Archives: Field Trips

The Aussie Lego Store

Last week we went to visit the new Lego store at Dreamworld.

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Yes, I have a Lego lover living at our house

(the child, who, while in the US last year,

was bemoaning the fact that Australia doesn’t have any Lego stores,

and who came home to Australia to find out that Dreamworld was building a Lego store).

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Oh and if you don’t have a Dreamworld ticket or pass, don’t worry.

You can access the store from the outside without a ticket or pass.

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Inside the store is all the Lego your little (and big) Lego Lovers could desire.

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It’s a pretty decent sized store.

(And we’re seen a few

– our Lego Lover dragged us into every Lego store he found in the US

on the east and west coast).

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All around the store, there are Lego creations.

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Some with an Aussie flavour,

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and one to remind shoppers that you need a ticket to go beyond the store into Dreamworld

(at least that what we thought it was doing).

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There was even a miniature ‘Lego’ Lego store!

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Of course, there is the famous Lego Pick-a-Brick Wall

(If you plan on filling a cup with bricks, make sure you check out youtube

for the best methods of stacking those bricks to get the most bricks for you money).

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There’s also “Build a Minifigure” stations,

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where you get to mix and match different minifigure parts to create your own combination.

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Of course, we didn’t leave the Lego store empty handed.

Lego Lover left so much drool on one of the new Lego Batman sets,

that I relented and purchased it for him.

Thankfully, the prices were pretty reasonable.

Some of the prices were a bit more than the department stores,

many were the same,

and some were even cheaper (but only by a smidge).

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My little Lego Lover is over the moon about the new Lego store,

especially since it’s just up the highway from our house.

I’m not sure if my wallet is excited about that though.  😦

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Posted by on February 12, 2017 in Field Trips, Technology

 

Hadron Collider Exhibition

This weekend we went to the museum’s Hadron Collider Exhibition.

Have you visited yet?  Are you planning on visiting?

Do you have any idea of what the Hardon Collider is or does?

Initially, I didn’t.

I think I have a basic understanding of it now.

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Firstly, a hadron is a particle which is made up of quarks.

Protons and neutrons are hadrons.

So, a Large Hadron Collider collides hadrons.

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The Large Hadron Collider, or LHC, does these collisions within a 27km circular tunnel,

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which is 100 metres below Switzerland and France.

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Within this tunnel are beam pipes.

These pipes contain protons (remember, they are a hadron) in a vacuum.

One pipe send protons in a clockwise direction and the other sends them in an anti-clockwise directions.

These protons are accelerated around the 27km circular path at incredible speeds.

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Most of the LHC ring is made of incredibly powerful magnets.

These magnets steer the protons around the circle.

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Liquid helium flows through these magnets keeping them at an incredible -271.3 degrees Celcius,

which is only 1.9 degrees above the lowest possible temperature, absolute zero.

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When you cool metal it shrinks, and these pipes shrink about 30 metres when they are cooled.

To compensate for these compressions and expansions,

thousands of flexible connectors are positioned throughout the circuit.

Interestingly, when they first turned on the LHC in 2008,

one of these connectors failed to operate properly,

causing a breech in the circuit,

which led to liquid helium violently venting out and damaging 750 metres of the collider.

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This caused massive delays.

It was 2010 before it was ready to begin collisions again.

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Within the collider, there are also magnets that squeeze the proton beams together

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so they can collide inside one of the 4 large detectors.

(There are also 3 smaller detectors).

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The largest detector is over 25 metres tall,

which is huge compared to the size of the objects being collided,

objects we can’t even see because they are so small..

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When they collide, the protons are smashed into their smaller components.

These collisions create temperatures that are much hotter than the sun.

(Recent collisions have created temperatures 100 000 times hotter than the centre of the sun!)

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Physicists then analyse the data to see what the collision has created.

With 40 million collisions every second, the physicists rely on computer analysis to deal with all the data.

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It was the Higgs Boson that the physicists were looking for in their first experiments at the LHC

and, in 2012, they announced that they had found it.

(Watch the dvd “Particle Fever”, if you want to see what excited physicists look like).

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The Higgs Boson was the final piece of the Standard Model puzzle that physicists had been working on.

This is the model physicists currently use to explain all the basic ‘ingredients’ that they believe make up the universe.

(Nope, it’s not the proton, neutron and electron anymore.)

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Oh and don’t worry.

Just because they’ve found the Higgs Boson, doesn’t mean that all their questions are answered.

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So that’s what I learned at the Hadron Collider exhibition.

It’s very well presented.

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The experience starts with a short video

(but make sure you arrive 15 minutes before your time so you have time to look at the exhibits leading up to the auditorium)

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After the video, you begin your walk through the simulated LHC tunnel and offices.

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There are artifacts from the LHC to see

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and plenty of videos and audios to listen to.

(I really appreciated the subtitles and printed texts on all the audio components).

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As you walk through the simulated halls, pay attention to all the little details.

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On the physicists’ noticeboards, we found this treasure…

(If you can’t read the catchline it says, “Fun Fact: Ex-particle-physicists make the worst biologists.)

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Our favourite funny was this Schrodinger’s Cat one.

(You’ll have to look up “Schorodinger’s Cat” if you don’t find it funny.)

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Within the simulated office, you had to take your time and look around properly.

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There were lots of little details that you could miss if you were in a hurry.

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This was the simulated office of one of the people who were analysing the Higgs Boson data.

Make sure you stay to watch her reaction when she realises they have found the Higgs Boson.

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This exhibit was a visually spectacular one,

with lots of details

and stacks of reading.

We highly recommend it… with a couple of restrictions.

Firstly, I wouldn’t bother taking young children or younger students to see this exhibition.

It is not geared towards younger learners who can’t grasp what is happening at the LHC.

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And secondly, to get the most out of the experience, I would prepare your students before going.

My family read this new release book, “Smash:  Exploring the Mysteries of the Universe with the Large Hadron Collider”

(It’s a graphic novel but beggars can’t be choosers when there’s so little written about the LHC and particle physics for younger audiences)

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We also watched “Particle Fever” which was an excellent documentary

and, if you can only do one thing in preparation, I would watch this dvd.

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With the right audience, who is fully prepared to engage with the information, the Hadron Collider exhibition at the Brisbane Museum is well-worth a visit.

 

 
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Posted by on February 5, 2017 in Field Trips, Science

 

An Afternoon at the Beach

During summer, my boys often head to the beach with Daddy.

But, this week, I tagged along with them to snap a few shots.

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We are blessed to live very close to the most beautiful beaches in Australia.

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I mean, just look at this place.

This is why people flock to the Gold Coast for their holidays.

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We’ve been taking our boys to the beach in summer

every since they were small.

They love it.

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When the suggestion is made to head to the beach,

they grab their boogieboards and run to the car.

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This is PE in our homeschool!

No running laps for us.

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We always head to the beach in the late afternoon

and catch just the last couple of lifeguard hours.

It’s nice and quiet at that time of the day.

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So, for two hours, I sat and watched my men catch waves into shore.

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Just look at them go.

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They love it.

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And the waves aren’t always forgiving

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but they still go back for more.

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On this trip, my men didn’t stay in the water for as long as normal.

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They got tired of dodging jellyfish.

(Do you see the Blue Blubber jellyfish on the beach?

They were washing up everywhere.)

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We counted 5 species of jellyfish that day.

Blue Blubber jellyfish,

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Moon Jellies,

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Blue Bottles (not photographed), Blue Buttons (blue thing to the left) and Velellas (blue thing to the right).

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So, they got out of the water,

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and we took a walk along the beach instead.

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We had to walk carefully though.

The beach was covered with jellyfish and every wave washed more onto shore.

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Check out the habitat we found on this cuttlefish bone!

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We think these are gooseneck barnacles.

Whatever they were, they were still alive and poking in and out of their shells.

We popped their little raft back into the ocean.

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I’ve always lived near the water

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and am glad that my boys do too.

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Posted by on December 17, 2016 in Family Life, Field Trips, Physical Education, Science

 

Wonders of the World

The Brickman “Wonders of the World” exhibition was in Brisbane this past week

and we almost didn’t go.

The price!  Ouch!

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But, at the last minute, we snagged some discounted tickets

and we’re so glad that we did!

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This exhibition was brilliant!

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We spent between two and three hours exploring the exhibits

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and building our own creations.

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The theme, obviously, was Wonders of the World

and there were plenty of wonders to see.

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(It was also amusing and horrifying to listen to people talking about the exhibits.

According to one person, the Christ the Redeemer statue is in Rome.

And here I was thinking it was in Brazil.)

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We enjoyed revisiting wonders we have seen in real life.

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Wouldn’t it be wonderful if the Ancient Wonders still existed?!

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At the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus

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a little Lego sculptor was still hard at work creating the exhibit for us.

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Over at the Temple of Artemis

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we saw a sacrifice to the goddess.

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And if you look closely,

you can see just how much research went into the accurate design of these buildings.

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We were impressed!  🙂

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Many of the exhibits were almost as breathtaking as the originals.

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The Notre Dame Cathedral is a building I would love to see in real life.

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Of course, the Notre Dame isn’t complete without Quasimodo.

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While the exhibits as a whole were impressive,

it was the details of each that appealed to us the most.

Almost all of them were cut-away models,

which allowed you to peer inside.

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Guess what we found behind the Hollywood sign?

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No, not graffiti, although that was included to enhance the authenticity of the sign.

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You’ll never guess.  I’ll just have to tell you.

We found ELVIS!!

He’s living in a subterranean room behind the Hollywood sign!

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“Wonders of the World” is quite a large exhibition with displays in several rooms,

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many of which are simply breathtaking.

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The Arc de Triomph is another wonder I’d love to visit.

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Just look at the detail on this model.

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Such attention to detail.  🙂

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Even the scenes around the models were fantastic.

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But, my absolute favourite model and building

is St Basil’s Cathedral in Russia.

Isn’t it gorgeous?!

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Everywhere you looked, in and around this building,

there was something interesting and amusing.

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If you know your history,

you’ll know whose statue is being pulled down.

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Did you see the fallout shelter under the statue?

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What about the Mutant Ninja Turtle about to collect some pizza?

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For the Minecraft fans, there’s even a creeper to be found,

if you look carefully.

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There’s even another Aussie stripped down to his budgie-smugglers?? (aka swimmers)

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I think the biggest crowd-pleaser was the Titantic model.

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Isn’t it fantastic?

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We spent the most time at this model as there was so much to see –

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people clinging to the decks for dear life,

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crowding onto life-rafts,

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the ultra-rich hogging life-rafts in order to save their treasures,

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and this dedicated postie who continued to sort the mail even in the freezing Atlantic waters.

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There are even scenes that you can see through some of the windows.

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Throughout the exhibition, we were also hunting for Eddie the Explorer.

He’s hidden in many of the scenes.

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We hunted high

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and low for Eddie.

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We found saw strange characters

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and even saw Harry Potter and his owl on a bus in London,

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but, we only found a certain number of Eddies.

No, we can’t disclose that number

as you have to enter the number into a Lego competition.

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There were so many masterpieces at this exhibition,

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as well as lots of opportunities to make your own Lego masterpieces.

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If you are thinking about going to Brickman’s “Wonder of the World” exhibition,

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save your Christmas money and definitely buy tickets!

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It is worth every dollar.

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We loved it!

(P.S.  Brisbanites, tomorrow is the exhibition’s very last day in Brisbane so run, don’t walk, to get tickets!!)

 
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Posted by on December 13, 2016 in Art and Craft, Field Trips, Geography, Technology