Wednesday, November 2, 2011

quick conference redux

Two weeks later and i'm mostly recovered from the national conference that my museum hosted. It was really fun, in that challenging, stressful, frantic, no-sleep kind of way. The only real downside for me was that I did not attend any sessions where i wasn't speaking or volunteering; there just wasn't time.
I spoke at an all day workshop about educational outreach basically highlighting the 2 outreach programs at my museum because we were the hosts. There was a session on physics demonstrations (that fTM Jonah titled May the Forces be With You. Really) where i shared our zipline CO2 demo for Newton's Third Law and TM Chris' amazing portable version of a periodic wave machine (though a standard thing in museums, i've never seen one for outreach before; he did such a great job):

There is a showcase of coolness on Sunday every year in the Exhibit Hall called Live Demo Hour and the host museum normally does something. Along with co-worker Chris i shared our Squirty Sphere and Ping Pong Cannons:

From those pictures everything looks well and good, but i have to admit that i totally screwed up on stage. I was nervous as 300 of my peers from around the world, as well an informal science education celebrity (yes, there is such a thing and we'll get to him in a minute) were watching plus I was the first act, so i misspoke one of my explanations. I know the right explanation, i just said it wrong.
You know when you say something wrong and you don't even realize it until someone points it out later?
That was me.
Was the person who pointed out the error my boss?
As soon as it was posted to YouTube did people immediately start commenting on the error?
Will i let this haunt me for the rest of my life?
BUT, before i humiliated myself in front of the entire science center community, i got a chance to meet Steve Spangler. He's like the Bill Nye for educators instead of the public; you might recognize him from the Ellen Show. When you meet someone that you admire, you're always afraid that they might be a jerk in real life, but Steve was friendly, down-to-earth and genuine. He was also in the Live Demo Hour show and after rehearsing all morning with him, I finally had to ask to have a picture with him; the exchange went something like this:
ME: Steve, I've waited all morning, but can i please have a fan-girl picture with you?
SS: Of course, but we have to take it with my camera first.
ME: Why in the world would you want a picture with me?
SS: You're the one doing the show; i'm gonna post this on Facebook.
ME: You're awesome and cool and nice and give us geeks a good name.
(that last bit was luckily only inside my head)

On Monday, i was the session leader (along with fTM Miriam who is the other supervisor) for an all day outreach session in local schools; presenters from my team, Miriam's team, Seattle, Hawaii and Boston did programs with kids where other educators could observe. This year we had the largest attendance in the event's history.
And in a rare moment of personal growth I decided at the last minute not to perform myself, but to have TM Chris (who built several of the props) and TM Sam (who designed the show) do our new show for the group. Here they are causing fire with refraction:

The whole experience was amazing and something i have been looking forward to for a long time. But as with many big events, i was happy to do it and am equally happy that it is over.


Brenda*Nery said...

Great Pics!

Anonymous said...

sounds like lots of fun!

Anonymous said...

Heck, I named a session about electricity after the Jane's Addiction album Nothing's Shocking.