February 19, 2010

USU Engineering and the homeschool crew

Well, I have taken almost a week off blogging because it is love week and the time I normally spend typing has been spent on getting the house more in order than usual so that we can have relaxing evenings with no thoughts of housework. Yes, I admit it. It takes a that much time time to keep things clean with all of these kiddos running around all day.

But yesterday we had some fun that is too cool not to share. This week was engineering week up on the USU campus, and a small group of us decided that Thursday would be the perfect day to crash the party with our pint sized students.

It was not at all what I was expecting, mostly just a bunch of lazy college students lounging around the student center popping bubble wrap while watching stand up comedy on the big screen. But there were enough cool activities to get in on that it was well worth the trip.

The first fun thing we did was ride a student made hover craft that was made mobile by a leaf blower blowing into the bubble under the chair. They set up "bowling pens" and the kids could sit in the chair and have someone aim them at the bowling pens and glide them across the lobby. Kind of cool. When the kids are older, we just might have to make one of those :)
I love seeing my boy working side by side with the USU students, even if his igloo didn't exactly win an award! So cool!

Next we went to the ice penguin table. They had those dome shaped lids for icee cups and a range of materials for insulation. The goal was to insulate your "igloo" the best and when you finished, they would put an ice cube under your igloo and place it in a hot box for 10 minutes. Then you'd look and see how well your penguin survived against other people's penguins. Steffanie and I had different ideas about which insulation would work best, and were planning a little mom showdown, but with tots running a muck we decided to fulfill our parenting obligations rather than have an engineering face-off.

I'd like to draw your attention to the guy in the tan shirt who is waiting for his turn to build an igloo. His conversation was going a little something like this...
Look at these kids! What are they doing at our event?!?!

I mean, how am I supposed to look cool building an igloo with a bunch of kids? Who invited them, anyway?

This is, of course, just a paraphrase of his hilarious concerns over coolness!

The coolest event of the day was the edible car races. We stayed thinking we'd get to watch them, but were actually allowed to participate. There was a table of food and participants could use only the same selection of food to build a car that would be sent down a steep incline and evaluated for speed, time, and style.

Hannah Jane was the first of the littles to race her car. Before her about 6 university students raced and although their cars were fast and went far, they all fell apart and their distance had to be measured based on the place where the wheels fell of and the body came to a screeching halt. Hannah Jane's car went fast, although not so far. But everyone noted that hers was the only one not to fall apart! She was so proud as she sauntered over to tell the data man her name. A couple of the university students offered to help her make modifications to her car for distance, thinking that as the only one to hold up, they could pull out a prize using her car, but she simply said, "Nah...I just want to eat a cookie now." She is only six, and her wants are simple...to build a good car and then eat a cookie.

When Aleena's turn came, she wanted to race Hannah Jane's car, but Hannah Jane was too busy snacking to notice. Aleena hung in there and persisted that they race and eventually Hannah Jane realized what was going on and consented to send her car down one more time. Her car squeaked out a couple of extra inches over the competitor, but low and behold both girls' cars survived the run! And Aleena's had a crazy cool bird nest thing coming out of the top winning the style category, for sure. A faculty member who had come to watch had heard me refer to their race as the home schoolers' face-off and when both cars survived, she said, "Wow! The homeschooling kids are putting my students to shame in the durability department." There was no category prize for not falling apart, but they said they are going to add one for next year. They couldn't' have won anyway because prizes were reserved for student and faculty only. Hannah Jane's little friend Kai, also 6 and a participant, said on the drive home, "It's not fair that you have to be a university student to win a prize! If a kid can beat them, the kid should get the prize!" It was so cute to hear that sentiment. They both consented that the glory of being the cool kids at the college event was prize enough!

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