Monday, April 27, 2015

Down Periscope

We headed off to the Nautilus museum bright and early this morning.  I've been wanting to bring the boys to see the submarine and the museum for quite some time (OK the whole three years we've been homeschooling!) but we just never seemed to make it there.  There's nothing quite like learning history through fun field trips!

Yesterday, I made plans with a few friends to meet us there and knew that would, not only entice the boys to go, but would prevent me from backing out or changing my mind.

With Ian and Evan so gung-ho to get their math workbooks done this week I did remind them that they could bring them in the car and work on them during the nice long drive but I assured them we could finish them next week instead if they'd rather listen to the book on CD.

At this point I've given up on waiting to take a break from our "real" schoolwork when the weather turns nice; it just doesn't seem like it's ever going to get nice!  We've had a few really sunny, warm, nice spring days but mostly it's felt like bitter fall weather here in New England.  The wind seems to be in full force with lots of cold spells, clouds, and rain.

I determined this weekend that nice weather or not it's time to get back out into the real world and start up on our field trips. We've made a list of all the indoor and outdoor places we'd like to see before summer and we're going to try and start crossing them all off our list.

Alec did not want to put his book down to go to bed last night and walked down the stairs with his nose buried in his book.  He brought it in the car with us too and made a deal with his brothers that they could all listen to the book on Cd in the car on the ride to the museum and then turn it off for the ride home so Alec could read some more.  I just love to see any of the boys so wrapped up in a book.

We arrived and had a great time searching through the museum.  

They loved the control room replica where they could play with the buttons, pretend to lower and raise the sub, and pretended to order pizzas to go!  They also had fun looking through the periscopes and spotting our cars in the parking lot as well as turning them around and seeing the water, the submarine, and the sights of Groton.

We walked around the rooms reading various signs and checking out things like torpedoes, mission logs, personal effects and more.  We eventually made our way out to the submarine and each received listening devises for self- guided tours.

There are 5 different pre- recorded messages about the various components of the ship.  We learned about the living quarters, the mess halls, the control rooms; it was great.

Once off the ship they went right back to the control room replica and played for quite some time.

We finally got them all to the other end of the museum and we learned about modern submarines and torpedoes.  Ian was drawn to the ones depicting World War II and we talked about the changes in technology over time.

The kids were getting antsy and hungry so we started heading out and they played outside for a bit longer.  They took turns manning the gun and we walked around to see the various submarines that were placed outside.  We learned about small piggyback submarines and got to see a Japanese submarine too.  It was a fun way to learn a little bit about history.

We arrived! 

The control room 

With lots and lots of buttons 

checking the view outside through the periscope 


Getting to see inside a sub with explanations of each room 

Looking out the window onto the water 

Reading about the secret mission of the Nautilus 

Manning the guns 

An elevator made for Kennedy to get on and off the submarine;
he had back injuries that prevented him from using the ladder 

Inside the sub-- officer's mess hall 

We saw these same flags at Mystic Seaport! 

The first stairs installed in a sub in place of the traditional ladders 

Ian was amazed at how cramped the living quarters were 

The crews mess hall was multi- purpose! 

Back in the control room playing with buttons and levers 

Another model inside a newer sub; each station lights up

Learning about long range missiles 

Looking at the missiles and technology of World War II

Comparing that technology to the cold war

The kids had a ball on this gun; raising and lowering the cannons

Sometimes on each other! 

A SEAL submersible for secret missions 
The long black submarine in the very back is a Japanese sub like the one used to
bomb Pearl Harbor-- I made sure to draw all three boys attention to that one! 
The kids were finished with the museum in just an hour and a half.  

I'm sure there was a lot more we could have learned but with few hands on "things" to keep their attention they eventually got bored.

I don't force my kids to pay attention to everything when we're on a field trip.  I look to see where their interests lie and I'll occasionally bring their attention to something I found interesting.  Mostly, though I just follow their and figure that something new will catch their attention each time we visit a place and that they'll build up a larger pool of knowledge over time.

The kids were not nearly so excited about saying good-bye to one another though so we all went to a near-by park and spent the next 4 hours visiting, playing and having fun.  

One of the families brought their new puppy and all the kids had fun playing with her.  They made up games, ran around, climbed, jumped, and slid all around.  They even got a special treat once the ice cream truck showed up.

It was a fabulous day.
Taking the puppy for a walk 

Running around tired everyone out! 

Playing on the playground 

They had fun discovering a new park with new obstacles 

Nap time! 

Ian wants a puppy-- he just loved Libby! 

 Evan had fun and giggled a lot over Libby's playfulness 

Swinging and snacking on ice cream!  What a great way to end the day!

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