by Phoebe Peckham; a 6th grade student at the Mansfield Cooperative School
The Mansfield Cooperative School started their amazing field trip to the Fairbanks Museum and Planetarium in the huge Planetarium, where the students learned about the planets stars and constellations from Mark Breen. The students learned about the constellation Orion and his hunting dogs which follow him in the sky. Then the Cooperative students learned how to locate the north star and they got to see the sky over the next few days along with a close up on Saturn and Jupiter. After lunch the students broke up into groups. The older group went downstairs to learn about simple machines and complex machines. They had to figure out how to bring a grand piano up one floor and also how to balance out two students who weighed very different weights on a seesaw. They learned that putting the fulcrum on the side with the larger student would allow them to weigh about the same amount. Then they started building a Rube Goldberg contraption (a complex machine) so that they could get a golf ball into a flower pot. It started with a marble raceway down a ladder. Then it hit a round block, which hit a bunch of blocks set up like dominoes. These dominoes hit a block with the golf ball on top. Although they did not manage to get the golf ball into the flower pot, they did manage to break the flower pot!
The younger group moved through the museum on a scavenger hunt. They had a lot to choose from, but the one they picked was a piece of paper that had adjectives like sharp, wet, fuzzy and other descriptions and they hand to find examples of each one using the taxidermied animals in the museum. After the scavenger hunt, the kids explored the other exhibits and loved the typewriter the best. Then they went downstairs to learn about simple machines. They explored a bunch of simple machines like a wheel,and a pulley,and a ramp and a few other objects and they had to make complex machines by combining the simple machines.
Everyone also loved eating outside and playing on the grass and the lion statues. It was a great day.