Tuesday, April 26, 2011

2011 AES Science Fair!

by HouseBoy

Audrey and Evan both participated in the elementary school's Science Fair this year. The Fair is sponsored by Lockheed and is in the memory of one of the mom's from Evan's Cub Scout pack who passed away unexpectedly last fall. 
The fair had over 180 participants and over 100 elementary school science projects.
Audrey worked on a project with her friend Emma.  The project included research on food groups, and healthy eating and involved collected and analyzing data on people's eating preferences. At the fair, the girls had people do a taste test using 2 recipes for banana bread - one made with butter the other with apple sauce. This was correlated with the healthy eating habits survey.
The results were inconclusive, but the girls had fun and learned a lot about the foods we choose to eat. The also learned about the difficulty of writing and completing a survey.
Evan chose water as the focus of his project. He researched facts about water and decided to try two experiments.
One to demonstrate water pressure and one to illustrate water surface tension. For water pressure, he used a large container that we cut 3 holes in, each deeper than the other. When the container was filled with water, it proved the presence of increased water pressure at the bottom of the container (the water jetted out of the hole much farther than the top hole).  Water surface tension used a small plastic boat and a tray of water and a drop of dish washing liquid. Both tests were a success and he learned some unique facts about water, and conservation. We learned that still, in 2011, 1.5 Billion people are without access to clean water each and every day.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Fun in Vietnam

By HouseBoy

Audrey and Evan had quite a blast during our recent 11 days in Vietnam. Too many temples and too much sight-seeing tend to be a little dull when you're 9 and 10, so I'll give you their version of our trip...
The Indira Gandhi Airport was all about stumbling onto the world's largest cricket bat and ball.
(Of course it helped that India had just defeated Pakistan and Sri Lanka to win the 2011 Cricket World Cup...)
The best moment during our unexpected 24 stop-over in Bangkok was finding a stash of baby kittens in a tree on the grounds of Wat Arun..
In Hanoi, for Evan it was trying to coax noise from a giant drum at the ancient Temple of Literature. The drum and the Temple are about 1,000 years old. Audrey had an ear-ache at the time, so you can guess what she'd say about her time in Hanoi's Temple of Literature.
Our 14 hour night train from Hanoi to Danang was all about getting the top berths in the cabin. And, of course the can of Pringles and package of Oreos we ate for breakfast.
The central Vietnam town of Hoi An was all about the shopping. Trying on hats, checking out the souvenirs, and having custom clothing made were definitely some of the highlights.  Oh, and riding bikes to the beach in busy Vietnamese traffic. The BIG waves and sandcastles we made at the beach were also pretty good.
Vietnam, by the way, was not about exploring local food. The noodles and fresh spring rolls were okay.
It was really the pizza that made it all worth while. A slice of pizza and a cold bottle of orange Fanta - definitely Nirvana.
We spent a morning exploring the 4th century Hindu ruins of My Son. Evan's burning question? These all centered around B-52's, shell casings and bomb craters left over from 1968.
The highlight for Audrey in Hue was definitely her horse ride. She spent 20 minutes solo riding within the 200 year old walls of the Forbidden City from the Imperial Nguyen family. 
And for Evan it was riding on a Dragon boat up the Perfume River.,, Pagodas, Schmagodas.
And our last stop - Halong Bay? The Beautiful UNESCO site made up of over 2,000 towering limestone islands? That was all about the kite flying on the top deck of our house boat...
Vietnam was cool.