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Électrium

Posted by mama on Nov 6, 2011 in Fun things we do...

On the south shore of Montreal, on highway 30, just east of the 20, there is a hidden gem called the “Électrium” that not many people seem to know about…

Really, unless you are going there specifically, or out to one of the towns past the 20 (including where I live) you would never see it.

The Électrium is Hydro-Quebec’s “Electricity Interpretation Centre”… It is full of information, experiments and hands on activities about electricity and best of all, it is free! If you have read my blog for while or looked back in the archives you will see that I have already written about it, but another visit, warrants another post.

Last Friday the boys and I headed to Montreal for Wilhelmina’s Dr. Appointment… (btw… everything is looking good!!!) On the way back I went to the Atwater market to get some veggies and food for the week and then on the ride back home I decided to stop at the Électrium on a whim. Each time we had passed by the boys would talk about it but it was never a good time, so this time it was perfect and they got so excited when I took the exit.When we arrived, there was no else there.

We were met at the door by one of the guides and she asked if we wanted to just go around by ourselves or if we wanted the guided tour… The last time we were there we were with a french homeschooling group, so even though the kids understand french, it takes a bit more effort and were not able to really listen and follow. Of course, it was also more than 2 years ago so the age difference adds much more to comprehension also. So I said that it would be fun to have an english guided tour. We were asked to wait for a minutes in the unlikely event that others that wanted to follow an English tour may arrive, but no one did so we started…

(Waiting for the tour to start)

Waiting for the tour to start

The first part of the tour is watching a series of clips on electricity made by the NFB.

Movie starting... 

They only showed the ones on electricity but the whole set can be watched here… (they are really fun to watch!!!)

 oehttp://www.nfb.ca/film/science_please_1

 oehttp://www.nfb.ca/film/science_please_part_2

After the watching the clips we were led into the next room which is about safety. The guide was great and really engaged the kids… even Willa was interested… well… somewhat…

learning about safety

Because it was just us and the guide, the boys were able to ask as many questions as they wanted and the guide was great at answering them. He was also very passionate about his job and about what he was talking about which made it so much more interesting and informative.

After learning about safety, it was the section on electricity in nature. Our own nervous system, our reflexes, the brain, heart etc… and of course, on of the highlights of the show is the electric eel (did you know that it is actually not an eel but a knifefish?). A blue panel next to the tank has lights that light up when the eel becomes electrified. Pretty cool of you ask me…

Electric Eel lights powered by the eel

The next section is about static electricity and starts with a small film on the Aurora Borealis/Australis and lightening… both natural reactions of static electricity…

(making balls move though glass using static electricity)

discovering static electricty

This is of course a favourite section for all because static electricity means playing with the Plasma ball and the Van de Graaff Generator.

(Wilhelmina loved the Plasma Ball)

Willa's turn

(Van de Graaff Generator)

Khéna

Colin

Xavier

The last section is on magnetism and generating electricity. The boys listed and took in as much as they could but soon started getting restless… they last about 90 min before this so it was actually pretty impressive!

 Listening...Learning about Magnets

Since we were getting the private tour we were able to cut it short at that point and the guide left us alone so that we could go back to the beginning and the we could play with everything again…

playing with magnets

Again, this is a great, free, hands on place to head with the kids… If you are in Montreal it is worth the short ride and will make for a great outing. They do ask for people to call ahead to not be at the same time as a group, it is a small place so if a school group is there, it will be cramped and not much fun but if it a lazy day, like on the day we went, it is a great way to spend a few hours…

the boys in front of the turbine

 
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Colin’s Carebear Essay

Posted by mama on Sep 12, 2011 in Fun things we do...

This is the latest essay that Colin wrote…

 

Colin's essay

Half way through, I casually told hom that his “s” was backwards and he corrected himself for the rest…

Colin wrote about Carebears

 
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Fun with Dry Ice

Posted by mama on Apr 27, 2011 in Fun things we do...

We had so much fun at our friend’s house with dry ice…

I didn’t have my camera, but I did get some video of making the Ice Cream. Not the best video either with the light we had but is was too fun to not share.

In the bowl was an Ice Cream base made with eggs, soy milk, cream etc… The dry Ice was crushed and added to the mixture…

 
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Elenco Electronic Snap Circuits

Posted by mama on Jan 23, 2011 in Reviews, Uncategorized

This came into our home at Xmas time and didn’t come out right away (I kept forgetting to get batteries) But once it came out it has been out almost out every day since…

Snap Circuits

Snap Circuits is all about circuits. You build a circuit by snapping the pieces together (hence the name). You can make a light light up, music come out of a speaker, make a fan go (and fly off) etc. You put resistors in, or add things in different sequences and see what happens… what happens when you add a cup of water to a circuit? I can’t wait to find out! The instructions and explanations are clear and though we just have the basic kit for now, there are so many things that can be done and I am sure we will add other kits in the future.

Snap Circuits

At the moment, it is Xavier that has the most interested since he can read he can read the instructions, though the diagrams are quite easy to read also so slightly younger kids or not yet reading kids with an interest probably will be able to do some of them also…

double checking...

I remember taking electricity classes in High school, I remember not understanding the diagrams. I remember a friend doing the work for me because we were in pairs and he got it and I didn’t and leaving the class most likely as ignorant about electricity and elecronics as before the class, and maybe slightly more confused. If we would have had something like this, I would have understood completely. Even in a tactile sense snapping the pieces together is satisfying and I am looking forward to having a turn too…

 
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Winter Unschooling gathering

Posted by mama on Jan 8, 2011 in Fun things we do...

On the 2nd we left for the Winter unschooling gathering at Oka national park. It was amazing! We were only 7 families which made the gathering the perfect size for talking and sharing and for the kids to play and have fun without being overwhelmed… I stuck to my plan of not taking to many pictures and instead just enjoying and living the moment..

Karen Knitting

We talked and shared, the kids played and played. The first night we got there it was more about settling in, on the second night we had a great potluck with amazing food and great conversation. After Supper the kids, and a few parents, all headed to the playground in the dark and played games under the stars, coming back in with red cheeks and noses and ready for sleep. During the day, they played Sardines (an amazing derivative to Hide-and-seek where when the hidden person is found, the group starts hiding with them until everyone is there) and board games and just hung out in other peoples rooms or outside…

Colin

Simon and Khéna Xavier

In the snow for the first time.. Willa

On the third day the Ice slide was re-opened (it had been too mild for it) and the kids spent part of the afternoon on it and then we headed back after supper in the dark for a few night slides when the park was closed and we were the only ones there… I feels so refreshing to be with people that share the same lifestyle, the same philosophy of learning, the same attitudes towards children. I took the camera out when we went to the Ice slide just before heading home…

Swish....

Ice slide at Oka National Park

The boys and I

Oka Beach...

falling asleep on daddy

I even made a video :)

If you are in Montreal, Oka National Park is a great place not too far away to head for the day for a walk or sliding… Can’t wait for the next unschooling gathering!!

 
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Redpath

Posted by mama on Sep 26, 2010 in Fun things we do...

On Monday we headed to the Redpath Museum in Montreal for a workshop on meteorites…

Last time we were at the Redpath Xavier started getting sick on the way there and we ended up spending a lot of time in the bathroom… This time we got there early and were able to spend some time looking around… what a great museum. If you are in Montreal, it is a great place to stop by and check out :)

We went and looked at the mummies again and then some other curious and interesting artifacts…

Samurai armourearly man...

Anaconda skeletonShrunken head...

Turtle and seal skeletons...

Skeletons… Samurai armour… shrunken head… so many questions…

then of course the the dinosaur skeletons were a big hit… The boys were amazed at the size of them…

This is Gorgosaurus libratus a genus of T-Rex that lived in Western Canada at one time…

Gorgosaurus libratus from above...

Gorgosaurus libratus

Gorgosaurus libratus

I forgot the name of this guy… but I stood next to him fascinated for quite a while…

scary little creature...

The Triceratops skull was massive… It is hard to imagine that they were Herbivores…

So big!

hey look... a crocodile..

Then we met up with the other homeschoolers that were there and the workshop started…

The format of the Workshops given at the Redpath are great. The kids have a short information session… not more than 30 min in all and not all at the same place, so there are moving around  bit… Then a craft session to finish things up…

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Star Wars Jedi Academy: The game

Posted by Simon on Mar 4, 2010 in Uncategorized

[Here is a little game summary by Xavier, transcribed by me.]

First you start in a shuttle

and then you crash on Yavin IV.

Then you have to rescue Rosh;

you will fight human sized Howlers,

weird lizard creatures,

and then you arrive at the Temple.

After the little movie,

you can choose

from a wide selection of missions.

You’ll see lots of cool stuff, like…

Lots of Disciples of Ragnos,

who are Siths (evil Jedis) that you have to fight;

their lightsabers are red

and they hold the handles with two hands;

at the bottom of their lightsabers

is a ball of spikes.

Traveling to a different galaxy, and doing lots of missions with Kyle Katarn…

Lots of cool Force powers that you can use…

A sand planet where you have to find all the parts for your shuttle,

but you have to watch out for big creatures that come out of the sand to eat your flesh…

A sky planet, with a racing tram that you fight on and have to stop…

Another mission where you have to fight your way

through all the Stormtroopers and their boss

— without you lightsaber —

trying to make you way back to your ship in the hangar.

Jedi Academy

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Electrium…

Posted by mama on Apr 24, 2009 in Fun things we do...

Yesterday , the boys and I headed to the Electrium...

The Electrium is in Ste-Julie on the south shore of Montreal and is a place run by Hydro-Quebec to learn all about electricity…

Electrium

The tour starts out with a few minute long films that were fun and held all of the kids attentions…

then they learned about safety,

learning about safety...

then electricity/magnetism in Nature with electric eels and other fish, the human body, static electricity, power and circuitry…

It was really quite informative and most of all it was a lot of fun…

The boys loved it especially because everything can be touched and tried…

Khéna

Xavier learning about how a circuit works….

trying the circuits...

This of course was a big hit…

Colin

Xavier

But I think that this was Colin’s favourite part… the guy who was showing the tour let him go up even though he was a bit small… he told Colin not to take his hand of the ball and Colin listened so well that it was hard for him to hear when it was safe to do so… he just stayed so still and didn’t move…

hair raising experience...

If you are near or in Montreal the Electrium is on the south shore not too far away from the Island. It is free and though it is not a big place it is a lot of fun and even for little kids…

 
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Our outing in Montreal to see the butterflies

Posted by Simon on Apr 24, 2009 in Fun things we do..., Things we like

We got up early on April 10th. We got to the Jardin Botanique just a little before ten. Mommy dropped us off, and went for her own day in the Big City. Grand-Papa and his girlfriend Chantal were there, and had already bought the tickets, so we went in right away. Khéna was shy at first, sitting in the carrosse [stroller], hiding his eyes with his hands and not looking at anything.

We had to make our way through the greenhouses to get to the butterfly area, seeing all kinds of plants along the way.

The minute we came in the butterfly area, we started seeing them everywhere, flying around, landing on plants and flowers and people. Some of them were dying on the ground, having been stepped by accident.

Here’s Colin, looking at one from up close:

At the botanical Gardens...

Here’s a nice green one:

At the botanical Gardens...

Here’s a baby-plant, growing like a tentacle:

At the botanical Gardens...

Here’s a big brown one, holding on to the coccoon-ropes.

At the botanical Gardens...

And another one just next to it:

At the botanical Gardens...

We made our way through. There was a lot of people in there!

After that we made our way back to the beginning, seeing all the plants again. Then, we had lunch in a little restaurant. It was good to eat, and it gave us a lot of energy. Khéna even sneaked his way out of the restaurant, and made a run for it outside before Daddy caught him. That was funny.

After lunch we walked a bit and took the subway. Xavier and Colin were really happy to take it again for the first time in a long while, and for Khéna it was like the first time. He was really impressed.

We got off after a couple of stations and walked to Daddy’s Grand-Mother’s house. We stayed there for an hour or so, exploring the backyard while the grown-ups talked. She gave us chocolate.

After that, we said goodbye to everybody and played a little bit in the park in front of the house. Colin found some pods that had fallen from a tree, and some rocks, which he put in the stroller for his “collection”.

We took the subway again, this time for longer ride. When we got out, we walked a bit and got to Le Valet d’Coeur, a cool store full of toys, games and Dungeons & Dragons stuff. We got a four-sided die that Daddy was missing, and some miniatures.

Xavier was hoping to get the beholder that was on the cover of the box, but he didn’t. He was still happy with the ones he got, including a big minotaur.

After that we walked on St-Denis street, looking at everything. It was a great day to walk, warm and sunny. Not long after that Daddy got a page from Mommy, he called her, and she picked us up maybe 20 minutes later.

We then left Montreal and drove to the Promenades St-Bruno (AKA: The Big Mall). Mommy went to her fabric store, and we went in the Mall to have some supper. After that, we went to Zellers to look at the toys. Mommy met us there a little later. Xavier got a IG-86,

Colin got a General Grievous,

and Khéna got a truck that he liked.

We left, and drove back home. Khéna fell asleep, but not Xavier and Colin, still too excited. Back at home, they played with their toys for a little while, and finally fell asleep really late for them, after ten, very tired from their long, fun day.

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Colin’s Joke (?)

Posted by Simon on Jan 21, 2009 in Uncategorized

We’re sitting at the supper table, eating and talking.  At one point I say something outrageous, don’t really remember what, to which Colin replies: “Are you joking daddy?”

– Yes.
– Why do you always joke?
– Because I’m the Joker.

He thinks for a moment, and then:

– No you’re not.  You’re a fan.
– A fan?
– Yes.
– What does that mean?
– You’re a fan.  It means you blow.

Parental hilarity ensued.

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