Frontier Texas

Frontier Texas in Abilene, Texas, is a great educational experience. In fact, it has made the New York Times. When our family visited it, I thought it would probably be the average historical type of museum but I was mistaken. It’s an impressive museum where one can experience state-of-the-art technology. I won’t tell you too much so you can discover it for yourself.

Abilene, Texas, is located in west Texas and has a charm all its own.  Not only is it home to Frontier Texas but Abilene is also the Children’s Storybook Capital of Texas as designated by the 84th Legislature of the State of Texas.  This west Texas town is off I-20 and is definitely worth visiting!

Museum: National Mining Hall of Fame

The National Mining Hall of Fame which is located in Leadville, Colorado, is a museum that educates the public about mining and the history of mining.  It commemorates miners and those that work with natural resources.  This is a great museum for kids with lots of hands-on exhibits along with lots of interesting history lessons.

We visited this museum while on vacation, and I was surprised how much we enjoyed it.  It takes a minimum of an hour to go through it, and I’m sure we spent much longer than that. You get to walk through several old mining replicas that are realistic and fun for kids of all ages.  They have a huge rock collection, and those who collect rocks would enjoy this section.  The museum is located in an old mining town in an absolutely beautiful part of Colorado and is well worth the drive to get there!

For those who are interested, you can take a quick online tour of the museum.   You can also read a biography of each of the inductees to the Mining Hall of Fame.

Free Unit on Texas Weather


Credit: Free pictures from acobox.com
Here is an excellent free resource for teachers.  This is written to go with exhibits at the Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum, however, it can be modified to use in the classroom without visiting the museum.  If you live close enough to Austin, Texas, to take a field trip then I highly recommend this excellent museum.

The “Wild Texas Weather” Educator Guide (from the Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum) includes free printable worksheets for students covering weather in Texas:

  • Weather changes (temperatures & precipitation)
  • Air masses
  • How weather impacts people
  • Droughts
  • Floods
  • Tornadoes
  • Hurricanes
  • Forecasting weather
  • Additional Web Sites
  • TEKS objective

Special Exhibit at the Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum in Austin

A special exhibit called the Tango Alpha Charlie: Texas Aviation Celebration will be at the Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum from September 12, 2010, through January 9, 2011. There are educator resources available to go with this exhibit. In the educator’s guide below, there are 11 lessons that tell about the history and science of aviation in Texas.  These lessons are aligned with STEAM and TEKS objectives.  There is also a student log book available too.

There is more information available about the Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum.

Also, here are great free printable Wright Brothers worksheets along with an easy-t0-read story, pictures, and games.

Dallas Museum of Nature and Science – Dinosaur Exhibit

We went to the Museum of Nature and Science in Dallas during summer break this year and had a wonderful time!  Our whole family was impressed and highly recommends this museum.  On the first weekend of the month,  Bank of America offers “Museums on Us,” and so all three of us got in free since we each have our own Bank of America card (our son just finished his freshman year of college).

If you notice on the building below, it says the “Dallas Museum of Natural History,”  and that’s because the Museum of Natural History, The Science Place and the Dallas Children’s Museum merged together to form the Museum of Nature and Science.  This museum has a lot of hands-on activities and is great for children of all ages, even those of us who are still young at heart and enjoy learning.

The exhibits are both educational and entertaining.  The dinosaur exhibits are fantastic! I would like to go back and spend more time in this section of the museum.

It was so amazing to learn that these creatures once roamed the area where we live (the Metroplex area of north Texas). If I were standing right up next to the dinosaur in the picture below, my head would be even with its knee joint. That’s how tall this creature was when it was alive!

Here are the bones of another huge dinosaur in the picture below.

On the bottom basement level, there is an active paleontologists’ lab.  Visitors can view their work through windows and see first-hand what goes on in the lab.  This would be a great experience for young, would-be paleontologists or anyone with a scientific mind to observe as paleontologists work with real fossils.

Here are some bones the paleontologists were working with in their lab.

If you have a smartphone, you can get more information that’s available only through your handheld phone as you tour the dinosaur exhibits.  For those without a smartphone, you can access printed information through your computer when you get home.

*

Have your own “Dig the Dinosaurs” at home or school.

HOME SCHOOL DAY @ Space Center Houston on October 6, 2010

Space Center Houston, the Official Visitors Center of NASA’s Johnson Space Center, is closed to the public on October 6 for Home School Day.   Home School families only will have a day of educational fun!   Here are some of the fun experiences:

  • New Blast Off – experience the effects of a shuttle launch
  • Martian Matrix – climb over five stories
  • NASA Tram Tour – see behind the scenes
  • Space Center Theater – the largest giant screen in Texas
  • The Feel of Space
  • Starlab Planetarium
  • Great Wall of Physics
  • Rad Rhonda’s Ultimate Science Lab
  • Combustion Show

Order and pay by September 27 to get special ticket prices of $9.95 per person.   Tickets are $11.95 after that.   They have the schedule and an Informaton Packet online also.

If you can’t make it on Home School Day, there is a coupon worth $5 off general admission on regular price admission of $19.95 for adults and $15.95 for children ages 4-11.   This coupon expires on December 31, 2010.

Museums Tell Powerful Stories

Long-term learning for students is one goal of teachers, right?   Well, according to the Abraham Lincoln Museum site, museum studies show the following:

  • The museum experience brings students out of the textbook in an exciting way.
  • The people in history come alive!
  • Exposing students to things they can see, hear, and touch greatly increases their long-term learning after being presented with new material in the classroom .  Experiencing exhibits and artifacts reinforces what was learned.
  • The social experience that occurs on a field trip greatly increases the learning that happens in the museum.
  • The exhibits appeal to the many different learning styles of students, and they also appeal to all ages. (I can testify to that!)
  • The powerful stories told by the exhibits and artifacts help the students to remember their experience for a long time.

Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum

Austin, the capital of Texas, is home to the fairly new Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum.   The building is impressive on the outside and inside, being three stories tall.  It contains interactive exhibits, an IMAX Theater, and a great Cafe for meals and snacks.  We thoroughly enjoyed the exhibits and theater and eating in the Cafe.  This is a museum we definitely recommend.  They have great resources as well for teachers and home schooling parents.  There are links to these resources below:

National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame in Texas

The National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame, located in Fort Worth, Texas, is one of the museums we have visited.  It’s a fairly new museum that is architecturally beautiful.  It is very informative and lets visitors see, hear, and experience what life was like back in the early days of cowboys and cowgirls.  I definitely recommend this museum.

Cowboys and cowgirls are part of our national history, an important part in  teaching Texas history.  What better way to make that history come alive than to plan an educational trip as part of a vacation.   That’s something that our family has done on many occasions and has greatly enjoyed!

Educational Trip to the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum

Springfield, Illinois, is the home of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, a great educational travel destination.  Our whole family, grandma included, took this educational trip together, and we all loved it.  This state-of-the-art museum is truly fascinating, makes history come alive, and reveals Lincoln’s life in an unforgettable way.   Be sure to allow plenty of time to tour the entire museum!   (There are other things to do in Springfield, too, such as touring the famous Frank Lloyd Wright Dana-Thomas House which is amazing.  Also, the old “Route 66” goes through Springfield and there are all sorts of relic eating places and memorabilia.)

Educational Trip to the Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum

texas-rangers-museum-7-24-08

What better way to make history come alive than to travel to learn at a place like the Texas Ranger Hall of Fame in Waco, Texas.  Our family visited the museum on our vacation and really enjoyed it.  The museum gave the history of the Texas Rangers along with artifacts, and it also memorialized 30 Texas Rangers who served with great distinction.   The movie about the history of the Rangers made it even more real.  It is truly a museum worth visiting!