Friday, December 02, 2005

Field Trip

Today was Ian's field trip with his first grade class to the Adler Planetarium. Unfortunately when Ian was in kindergarten I was unable to go on any field trips with him. So this year when Brendan offered to take the day off to stay with the girls, I jumped at the chance to go with Ian on his first field trip. We got to the school a little before 8:00 AM and headed in to wait in his classroom with all the other parents and kids. Ian has 16 students in his class. Thirteen parents attended the field trip. We boarded the yellow bus with all students accounted for and headed downtown for our hour long ride. When we got to the planetarium the kids were excited and anxious. Once we stuffed our coats into a locker (it cost $1 for a locker, so we got eight coats into one half locker), and stowed our lunches on a cart for us, we headed into the planetarium.

There were several schools there today, and our first graders were definitely the youngest there. I think the rest of the classes ranged in age from sixth grade through high school. The kids ran around and touched every button they could get their hands on. They spent only a little time at each exhibit, but thoroughly enjoyed the exciting things they were seeing. There was a lifesize replica of a training space capsule that the kids could climb into and get a real feeling for what the astronauts went through. Ian loved the centrifugal "ride" as the kids were calling it, where he and three other classmates got strapped into two boxes that spun around in circles so they could experience a little of the g-force that astronauts experience during space travel. He also enjoyed the Atwood Sphere, which is the oldest planetarium in Chicago. It was built in 1913 and is still available for people to go into. Another exhibit that impressed Ian was the room that appeared to have no floor or ceiling, but just stars. The kids were really hesitant to walk into it, because it appeared that they were walking on air. I actually had a pang of jealousy for the kids, because after a few seconds and gaining my bearings, I could see the mirrored floor and ceiling. After that the magic of walking on "really clean glass" as Ian put it just was kind of lost on me. There was a great 3-D movie that lasted about five minutes (the perfect length for 6 year old boys!) with stars and planets that appeared to come right at you. Another fun exhibit was a crater maker where the kids could push a button that would blow a puff of air out and into what looked like fine moon dust powder.

When it was time to leave, Ian didn't want to go. He loves outings like these, and despite his flitting from one exhibit to another, he really absorbed a lot of information. He wants to go back sometime, which I assured him we would do.

The trip back to school was a little hard on Ian. His best friend wanted to sit with two other little boys in Ian's class. Even though there are still two other boys in Ian's class who didn't have anyone to sit with, he didn't want to sit with them. He sat with me and by the time we got back to school was his old self. It is so hard to watch your child be hurt by things like that, but he has to learn to accept that people can have more than one friend. And his best friend wasn't being mean to him, he simply wanted to sit with some other kids.

After a spelling test, school was dismissed and Ian was invited over to his best friend's house for the afternoon. I let him go, knowing it would help heal the hurt from the bus ride. He had a great afternoon at his friend's house, and a good day all around.

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