Seattle Trip

  • Seattle

     

    Every year, fifth graders at Farnsworth PreK-8 look forward to being selected to travel to Seattle, Washington.  They spend three days of rigorous STEM training at the Museum of Flight and they get an all exclusive tour of Boeing in Everett.


    Read a day by day account of the last trip from our own Ms. Spears


    What a great trip so far.  Going through the airport couldn't have been easier.  The students were eager to begin their journey to Seattle and boarded the plane as though born to flying.

    The flight itself was smooth and although it was mostly overcast many pictures were taken by the students to document their big adventure.  A touch of turbulence marked our landing and we were off to collect our luggage and board our bus.
     
    First stop was breakfast/lunch, unfortunately Dave's Dinner was too busy to accommodate our large group but Ms. Lovestrand found that Denny's was nearby and more than willing to help us out.  Everyone ate a good meal and we went back on board the bus to take a short drive up the freeway to the Seattle Aquarium.
     
    What a wonderful place the aquarium was, we not only got to see all sorts of sealife not found in Minnesota but also spent a great deal of time at the touch pool experiencing the sea anemone, sea cucumbers, and starfish which we were allowed to gently touch.  The kids were also amazed at the antics of the three sea otters, one of which was a still a baby.  An unexpected treat was the oyster eating bird.  This fairly large bird with a bright orange bill spent at least 15 minutes conversing with our students.  The bird would make a sound which the students imitated and the conversation was on.  While neither side understand the other, it proved to be great fun. The kids also learned that because these birds are in captivity they have to have their beaks to filed down to prevent them from overgrowing since they don't use them as they would in the wild to crack open oysters.
     
    From the aquarium we took another short bus ride down to Pike's Market where we got to watch fish tossing at the famous fish mongers.  The kids were so focused on the men tossing huge fish back and forth that when one fisherman crawled under the fish stall and popped up with a fish head the kids were really caught off guard.  We then had about 30 minutes to wander the famous shopping area which resulted in many of the students hoping to come back another day with their families.
    Our last activities before dinner and the hotel was to the top of the Space Needle.  Although a bit chilly and overcast the view from the top was spectacular.  We got to see many cargo ships coming into port and ant sized people playing lacrosse. 
     
    Finally on to dinner at Red Robin and then to the hotel.  It's been a wonderful first day and with everyone good and tired, not a peep was heard from the kids about the early bedtime. 
     
    Mild Monday: 
    Today's experience in Seattle began with a 7:15 a.m. wakeup call followed by a great breakfast at the hotel.  The kids were impressed with the variety and amount of food available especially the do-it-yourself automatic pancake maker.  Even the most inexperienced student figured out how to get themselves a pancake or two!
     
    After breakfast we were happy to see our 'real' bus having had a replacement bus yesterday. We also had Dave the bus driver who is great at telling us the sights we're driving past.
     
    Shortly after boarding the bus we found ourselves at the Museum of Flight where the students participated in two activites in the morning.  One was to create straw rockets and parachutes which were then tested for accuracy and their ability to fly or gradually float down.  The other activity was to build a robot capable of lifting and storing or at least moving a plastic object.  In that activity everyone worked as teams, including the teachers.  While the teachers felt they had a great, functional robot it was actually a student team that won the competition!!
     
    Suddenly it was lunch time which had been preordered while back in MN.  The kids were starved and enjoyed either hot dogs or macaroni and cheese.  Then they were off to the Mars Mission and I'm happy to report that even though they faced some (staged) problems, the mission was a success and all students made it to Mars and back. 
    As the end of our time at the Museum, everyone was hopeful that we'd be able to visit a B-17 bomber that was on tour and parked in front of the museum.  Unfortunately the weather didn't cooperate and it was pouring so instead we watched several interesting short videos on Mars, Opportunity, Spirit, and Curiousity.  From there we went back to the bus for a short stop at the hotel before heading out again for dinner at an all you can eat buffet called Zoopas. 
     
    Zoopas proved to be a big hit.  Students could choose from pizza, pasta, soups, and salads.  I'm happy to report that Farnsworth students eat nutritionally balanced meals with each student starting with either fruit or salad without any prompting by the adults.  Many students were pleasantly surprised that the resturant had a 'make your own' Pho soup area. 
     
    Our last event of the day was something completely different, a friend of Mr. Carver's came and played flutes for us.  The students sat in rapt attention as Paul played the most beautiful songs.  Nearing the end of his playing he asked if the students would like to try playing and surprised everyone, students and staff alike, with our own flutes.  Suddenly the hotel lobby was alive with the sound of 38 flutes.  We quickly learned two important concepts:  a soft breath produces a better sound and if you don't like the sound you're making, don't make it again! 
     
    Following our introductory lesson many went outside to practice for a few minutes until it was time to go to bed which came much too quickly.  With reminders not to play their flutes in their rooms and instructions for the following morning everyone retired to a well deserved rest.  Tomorrow we're headed back to the Museum of Flight to see the planes and other things on display followed by a baseball at night.  We're all having a great time here in Seattle and yes, the sun does shine here ~ or at least it does for a few minutes:)
      
    Terrific Tuesday: 
    Today was another great day in Seattle, if only the weather would clear off for more than a half hour it would have been perfect!  We spent the day at the Museum of Flight in the Aviation Learning Center.  After dividing the class in half, the two groups participated in either the ground school where they had to plot their flight plan and check over their plane prior to getting in the simulators and 'flying' from Boeing Field up to Plaine Field and back or they learned about different aspects of flying before switching and doing the other activities.  Even with the differences between the Farnsworth simluators and those in the museum our students were very good at navigating their way and almost everyone had a successful flight.
     
    Lunch was at Wings, a resturant in the museum.  Everyone agreed, whether you ate a hot dog or macaroni and cheese, the food was really good. 
     
    In the afternoon the students broke into their smaller groups and toured all areas of the museum and went across to the Sky Park to walk through a real Air Force One.  Besides the history that the plane represented, the kids were tickled to find a dog door between the executive office and bathroom.  It seems that many presidents brought their dogs aboard with them.
     
    Prior to going back to the hotel everyone went outside to view the B17 even though it was raining.  Were we ever glad we did!  Not only did we get to see the plane up close but we were invited to go through it!  Wow, what an experience.  Imagine climbing a ladder up into the cockpit of an actual WWII plane, then walking a skinny little beam through the bomb bay area (with the bomb bay doors open) and on through the navigation and radio room to finally exit the tail of the plane.  It was an experience none of us will likely forget for a long, long time.
     
    A short time later we found ourselves back at the hotel for a brief rest and then back aboard the bus to a Seattle Mariner's baseball game.  It might have been May but it sure was cold, luckily almost everyone brought along a warm sweatshirt or jacket.  We arrived right as the game started and since it was misting lightly we got to watch the roof roll back over the field which took hardly any time at all.  Even though the Mariners lost the game we had fun cheering the home team.  Mrs. Norrie did her best to get the Wave started but try though we might we couldn't get it past our own section.  Maybe doing the Wave is not as popular at Mariner games as it is at Twins games.
     
    Just before the game officially ended, we boarded the bus and drove back to our hotel for our last night.  Tomorrow we're up early and getting on the bus for our visit to Boeing which is north of downtown Seattle.  The kids can hardly believe the trip is fast coming to a close and even with the rainy weather wish we were staying longer.  But at least we all have the wonderful memories to share with our families and friends. 
     
    Wonderful Wednesday: 

    Our last day in Seattle and another fine, serve yourself breakfast in the hotel.  Then time to pack everything up and board the bus for the ride up to Boeing which was about 25 - 30 miles north of downtown Seattle. 

    Upon arrival at the Boeing plant we toured their introductory area where several students used computers to build their own planes.  Unbeknown to most everyone, except Ms. Norrie, students could print off their final products, but everyone enjoyed it none the less.  We also went through the two big gift shops although by this point, almost everyone was out of money.  On to the tour ~ which started with a movie explaining Boeing and then we boarded buses to begin our tour. 

    The Boeing plant is huge, just getting to the actual building it seemed like we were driving for a long time.  Along the way we got to see the Dream Lifter (a modified plane with a hinge in the middle that transported parts from other locations) and the new Dream Liner 787, both are extremely large.  When we got to the plant itself we left the bus, went into the tunnels under the plant and walked and walked and walked just to get to the observation area.  From there we were able to look down on the manufacturing floor and see how the planes were moved from location to location as they were assembled.  Another bus ride and walk took us to the far end of the plant where we saw the Dream Liners being assembled.  Finally it was back on the bus for a trip to Ivars, a very elegant seafood restaurant right on the Sound.  After our delicious meal we again boarded the bus and drove back to SeaTac airport and flew home.  
     
    All in all our trip to Seattle was great but everyone agreed there was certainly more to see and do in Seattle and we all hope some day to return.