A Geodesic Experience

One of the advantages to living where we do is the wealth of museums, many of which offer homeschool classes.

One such class was the Geodesic Dome class that Jason took at the National Building Museum. This the second class that we took and it was a lot of fun. The class was for 5th-8th graders, so Kyle spent the day with his friends Sean and Ray. They ended up going to the Natural History Museum which, being a major animal-lover, Kyle simply ate up. (Did I mention we have tons of great museums around here?)

It was actually kind of fun to be one-on-one with Jason. We grabbed a bite to eat afterwards and drove through Chinatown.

The class was a lot of fun…the Building Museum has a great history. It was built in 1881 and served originally as the Pension Bureau. It was also used to host the many Inaugural Balls.

One of the things that always hits me when we visit Washington DC is that it was a good thing that many of the federal buildings were built a long time ago, because if they were being built today, I do not think that they would be any where near as grand.

I don't think in this day and age you would be able to justify that kind of elaborateness for a federal building. The architecture of the buildings is just incredible. Even office buildings like the IRS (in my working days I used be an IT consultant and worked downtown in the IRS building) have grand exteriors, sweepingly wide hallways and tons of marble and pillars and gorgeous accents.

But I digress. The class started out with a bit of lecture about the history of the building as well as a discussion about different roof types and the pros and cons of each.


Some of the kids demonstrated a"dome ceiling"


Then came the fun part! Building a geodesic dome in the lobby of the museum.


The dome got higher…


And higher…


And definitely took a team effort.


Until finally…


The dome was complete!


A few more pushes to make sure it was stable (and to see how strong it became once all the pieces were in place)…


Finished up with a little bit of lecture (made more fun because it was in the dome). And we were done!

It definitely does not get more "hands on" than this. Jason really enjoyed himself as did I. I have even more pictures of the class up over at flickr if you want to check them out.

After the class we walked around a bit and I took more pictures of some neat buildings outside the museum. I hope to have time to work on them and get some up soon.