2019- Fall Roadschooling trip to Chicago

We stuck a little closer to home this fall and hopped on a quick 45 minute flight to the big city of Chicago for our Fall Roadschool trip.  We stayed in a perfectly-located rental apartment (right near Museum Campus) and used it as a home base for our daily adventures.  Chicago was a destination BECAUSE we were studying Ancient Egypt, and the collection of artifacts found in Chicago is tremendous!

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Day One:
Travel Day!
CTA - using public transit

Life Skills:  Map reading; sign reading; how to get around an airport and big city!
After a full day of school, we headed out to the airport to catch our flight to Chicago.  After arriving at O'Hare International, we took a shuttle bus and then the CTA train all the way in to the city.  We came in so late that it was already dark on our trip out, so we didn't really get to see the city on our way in.  After transferring once, we found our station and made our way to our apartment, which was conveniently located on top of a Subway restaurant (dinner!) and next to the Museum Campus.

Day Two:
Shedd Aquarium
The Oriental Institute(University of Chicago)

Science: Marine Biology (otters, beluga whale, pacific dolphin)
               Ecosystems (rivers vs. oceans)
Paleontology: Ancient Sea 'Monsters'
History: Ancient Egypt (mummification, funerary rites)
We woke up early in order to get to the aquarium at opening.  After some donuts for breakfast (what a treat!), we met our chaperone/Chicago expert Miss Cathleen and she escorted us to the Shedd Aquarium.  We completed our river vs sea study in the upstairs galleries, and then got a chance to observe some of the marine mammals for a while before catching a 4-D movie about Ancient Sea Monsters and the Dolphin behavior show.  

Lunch was authentic Chicago-style hot dogs from a cart outside of the aquarium!  Yum!  Then we played a little on the rolling green fields of Museum Campus before heading back to the apartment to rest for a few hours.

Following rest time, we jumped in an UberX and headed to the University of Chicago to check out the Oriental Institute.  Founded by the archaeology professor who inspired the tales of Dr. Henry Jones, this museum has an extensive and impressive collection of artifacts.  We chose to focus on the Egyptian gallery, and completed a scavenger hunt that taught us all about ancient funerary and mummification rituals.  Then we ambled through the rest of the space, awed by the collection of antiquities.

We were TIRED after our full day, so dinner was another Chicago staple-- deep dish pizza from Giordano's!  The kids all gave it at least one thumb up, and we went to bed happy and full.

Day Three:
The Field Museum
Willis Tower

History: Ancient Egypt
Paleontology: Dinosaur gallery; SUE the T-Rex
Architecture: Willis Tower- design and build
Life Skills: 'Face your fears' and walk on the ledge
Again, we were able to simply walk over to the Field Museum, and took advantage of the opening lull to have the 'Inside Ancient Egypt' exhibit completely to ourselves.  We had a worksheet that guided our visit, but it was still amazing to see a life-size model of a shaduf (we had all built miniature ones a week earlier) and lots more real mummies (both human and animal).  After we were done in that amazing three-floor space, we headed to see "SUE", the T-Rex in the Dinosaur Hall.
We lunched and rested until it was time to head to Willis Tower, where we stood in line (for a LONG time) to go up to the 103rd floor and take in some spectacular views of the city.  Also, we faced our fears and stood on "The Ledge" over Chicago!  A celebration in the form of a fudge feast was much called for.  Then we went to Maggie Daley park to get some energy out after all that standing.  We loved the playgrounds and play spaces.
A visit to the Cloud Gate (aka The Bean) before hopping back in our Uber and going home for some movies and take-out.

The kids LOVED playing at this sculpture right across the street from the apartment.  It was the perfect place for hide and seek before bed!

Day Four:
Museum of Science and Industry
Travel Day

Science: Space Travel- Henry Crown Center
Engineering: Maker Space project
Science: Technology/Art- "Wired to Wear" exhibit

We have one student who is obsessed with space and space travel, so it was a no-brainer to head to the Space Center at the Museum of Science and Industry first.  Once we looked around a little, it was time for our entrance to "Wired to Wear", a gallery space about technology and clothing of the future.  There were lots of interactive exhibits (we got to try on a 'spidey sense' vest to feel sonar-like vibrations).  After that, we had a snack and then had tickets to the "Maker Space", where we each constructed our very own LED bracelet.
After lunch and playtime at a nearby playground, we used our last tickets of the day to tour the "Coal Mine" and see what working in a space like that is like.  It was loud and dark, but very educational.

Then it was time for our trip to end.  We took an Uber to the CTA station and smashed onto a commuter train for the hour ride back to the airport.  It was such a fast trip to the city, but we managed to get a lot of great experiences in!  We learned to navigate and live in the city and decided that it would be a great place to come back and visit more (there's so much more at the museums alone!!!)