Saturday, June 02, 2007

Couple of pictures as promised. First, here is the finished product of M's efforts in the glass blowing shop. Didn't he pick great colors? This will look so awesome hanging up in his room.

Here is where we have been living the last few days. Its been pretty warm out and our a/c doesn't work. So I bought a pool at Target, C found this great table at Costco and we set up the tent today--mostly because the neighbors set theirs up so we had to, y'know? In the back right side you can see the beginnings of our garden. We lost a melon or two, but everything else is limping along okay I think.

M is taking a class called Math-a-Mania taught by an architectural artist named Alice Cotton. This term the class has studied bridges. So, for the end of the year fun, we all got to go on a bridge tour in Portland. The woman who guided us on our tour has studied these bridges for years and was a wealth of information. In the picture above, she had groups of people stand in a circle and touch toe to toe and hold onto each other's shoulders. This made a triangle. She then demonstrated tension by having everyone lean back and slip their hands down to the elbow and then the wrists of the person next to them. The circle held! Then they reversed and leaned in until they were touching heads in the center of the circle. Very cool!
Then we headed off to the ODOT office in Portland where we got to sit in command central and see some of the 150 cameras in use to monitor traffic in PDX. Their job is to keep all 1 million cars on the move. If they see an issue they can have a truck sent out relatively quickly to provide free gas, battery charge, flat tire service, or help the stalled vehicle out of the flow of traffic. We also had a crash course in bridges. We learned that Portland has all 6 kinds of bridges right in town. No wonder they call it Bridgetown!
Then it was on to the Morrison bridge. Those under 9 climbed the stairs to the control tower and met with the bridge operator. They learned about the history of the bridge, what all goes on in the tower and some of the history of the tower itself. Then we learned about bridge rising procedure. Finally, we got to see the bridge raise and lower with a bird's eye view. It was so amazing!
Adults and kids 9 and up got to go down to the pit to see the inner workings of the bridge. The gears, motors etc. C got to go down and reported that the biggest gear is 36' across and the counterweight is 900 US Tons!
It was a fun tour and then we just hung out and enjoyed the waterfront for a hour. I love homeschooling!

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