Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Road signs and markings

Sebastian is, oddly, really interested in intersections and road markings and so forth lately. He makes endless drawings like the one above, with stretched-out writing to mimic the elongated font they use for words like "stop ahead" on the road, and different variations on lane configurations and freeway entrances etc. There is a feeder road to the freeway where they have those variable lanes (the ones that can go one direction at certain times of day, and then the other direction at other times of day) and every time we go anywhere, he wants me to drive on that road so he can check out the interesting lanes. So, of COURSE we had to learn more about road signs and markings during our car unit!

I thought one of the coolest things we learned about was the Interstate Highway numbering system. You can tell whether an interstate runs north-south or east-west based on its number, and beltways are always three numbers with the number of the "parent" route plus an even-numbered prefix. (So, in Utah, I-215 is a belt route around I-15, and if there were another big city that needed a belt route, it would be I-415. Interesting, huh!) If the branching-off route is not a belt, but just a spur to a city, the first digit of its three-digit number will be odd rather than even. U.S. Highways or Routes have their own numbering system too. It's all fascinating—this is the sort of thing I love knowing! We learned more about this here and here.

This street sign guide is great! Tells all about the different categories of signs and what they mean.

Sebastian is still skeptical about this one. He thinks the lines are more like eight feet long. I promised him someday, late at night or when a road is deserted, we will pull over with our tape measure and see for ourselves. Until then, you just have to believe the article: Those lane divider lines are longer than you think!

You didn't realize how great it is to know the name of these things, but it is.

We learned the name of these things years ago, and still remember fondly how little Junie would call out, as a baby, when we drove onto one: "Ah-bip!" That meant "rumble strip."

Pavement marking guide. Sebastian is super into this, as seen here.

More about road lines.

Another pavement marking and sign guide. Sebastian wanted a copy of this printed out for himself. :)

Very interesting: this tells about the reflective sheeting they use on road markings.

This is fun; you can take a practice driver's license test. I was really confident that I knew everything on it, but there were a couple I missed!

Monday, November 28, 2016

Car-related field trips

Abe by a rare LaFerrari, or the Ferrari The Ferrari, as they always call it on "Top Gear."
I wanted to take the children to a junkyard so they could see the wrecking machines and how cars got stripped down for parts, but unfortunately we couldn't find a place that would let us come. Apparently everyone is too worried about liability to allow anyone under 16, blast them. It's a shame because I know lots of people who used to love visiting the junkyard with their dads when they were kids. So I was sad about this.

We did, however, visit the Ferrari dealership in Salt Lake (Ferraris are Abe's favorite car), and they were really nice. I called ahead to ask if they'd be bothered by a bunch of kids showing up, and they said not at all. So that was really fun.
This picture is so great. I have no idea why they're shaking hands; I think they thought it made them look professional or something. :)
I also took the children to a gas station and showed them how to fill the car up with gas.

And at the end of the unit, Sam took the boys to a Go-kart racing track. (The girls aren't tall enough yet to do it.) They LOVED that. It was expensive, but fun and memorable for a culminating activity.
We considered going to this Classic Car museum in Salt Lake City, but never made it there. Maybe another time. We did go to a Car Show closer to home, though, and saw many classic and vintage vehicles there, so that was fun.

Here is a calendar showing the dates and locations of Car Shows in Utah.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Car Design and Logo Design

Sam taught the children about car design and how designers often use existing chassis to make designing easier. He showed them how to take the basic body shape of a car and change it to make more interesting shapes, and how designers have to take engineering requirements into account as well. The children had fun trying to design their own cars!
On another day, Sam talked about marketing and how designers think about branding and advertising. He showed us how to use shapes and archetypes to suggest certain qualities, and how to focus our messages on just one or two main concepts that could be expressed visually. He also talked about propositional density (how many visual concepts are being conveyed in an image—the goal is to have a high propositional density for maximum effect).
Sam gave us an assignment to design a logo that conveyed the message "Fast, but friendly" (or something like memory of it is uncertain). It was really fun to attempt!

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Teaching children to change a tire

I wanted the children to learn how to change a car tire, as this felt like one of the most practical things we could teach them. I've never been totally confident about doing it myself, so it was a good review for me too! Sam showed them where to find the jack in both cars, and how to use it, and how to loosen the bolts and so forth. They thought it was cool to see how the car raised up and to peer under the chassis behind the missing tire! The boys even did some good working of the jack and the wrench, and the girls did it too with a bit of help. Those lug nuts and bolts are really on tight!

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Roadster rides

My friend's dad loves old cars and has rebuilt many different types in his garage over the years. We went over to her dad's house and saw his old Model A, and he even let us take some rides in his cute little red roadster! We loved it!

Some people enjoyed the backyard slide even more than the roadster rides. :)
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