Tuesday, October 21, 2008

some highlights

Firstly i would like to say that you should always visit a city right after one of their sports teams has made it to the championship cause everybody is happy and friendly; Philly was aflutter with baseball fever the entire time I was there. Secondly, if you go to Philly, be sure to get your picture taken with Ben Franklin and see some Mummers. Both pictures were taken at the conference kick-off on Saturday. It was definitely a trip full of hard work and hardly working. Like all conferences there were good sessions, sessions that were less than helpful, and sessions that were so unappealing that i skipped them all together and went on a hayride around Reading Terminal Market: thank you, harvest festival The all-day pre-conference session on Friday was most useful; it is the one day a year when the members of NEON (National Education Outreach Network) get together in person, instead of over the Internet. It is really great to be with people who do what i do, people who understand my professional joys and frustrations. We learn about new things, like these cool magnetic Lego DNA kits and hear about programs that are different or outstanding in some way, like the traveling festivals in Brazil that basically build a temporary science center in the middle of rural towns. There is a bit of workshopping, some useful roundtable discussions and normally some sort of theatrical craziness and/or singing (there were both this year). In the middle of the day i took this picture; you can draw your own conclusions: (the plush is a GIANT microbe of Scabies mange) The NEON session is run by my friend Jonah and it is always nice to spend some time with that faker. There aren't pictures from the weekend sessions cause who wants to see pictures of people talking or Power Point presentations? Monday was Outreach Live, where people sign up to go into a school and watch their fellow outreachers perform their actual shows with students; it is always a highlight of the conference for me. It is enlightening to see other people do my job; i always come away with a few good ideas to utilize and the confirmation that my team really are some of the best performers out there. This year i only got to see one show because i was one of the featured performers - team member Miriam and I did 2 presentations of our classroom program about polymers to the second grade. They went really well and I am proud of us. Other highlights (both work and non-work related) were exploring a new museum (to be discussed in a future post), seeing a performance of Bella Gaia at the Franklin Institute with violinist Kenji Williams having a hot pretzel wrapped hot dog from Fischer's Pretzels in the market the Pirate exhibit at the Franklin (the wax figures were so life-like they were kinda freaky and i got to touch some pirate treasure) and this harmonica player at the harvest festival who was holding a corn cob over his harmonica so that it looked like he was playing the corn (he was a real pill). One of my personal favorite parts of the annual conference is the Saturday night party : the hosting institution throws a giant shindig that highlights their city, state or history. The Franklin Institute went with an American Bandstand theme; different galleries were different musical decades and we were welcomed to the museum by their executive director dressed like a greaser on a real motorcycle in their foyer. The food was yummy and i think old Ben would defiantly approve of disco balls :


Megan said...

the hotdog pretzal looks like the yummiest part - JK - what a fun conference!

Scopi said...

So sad that all of the city's happiness is sure to be crushed by the Rays.

Anonymous said...

Other highlights: the best lecture ever about cholera, and the most bat-shit crazy demonstration... ever!!!

I shall blog more about this soon, once I upload photos (see Niki's link to Mr. Science Theatre).


Melanie said...

Awww, wish we were there!!