Friday, May 16, 2014

Auckland's Mind Lab

This week the children had the opportunity to attend some courses at The Mind Lab in Newmarket, Auckland. These were organised by Homeschool Outings and so rather than pay the full price for the course which is well over $100 per child they obtained a school rate which made it more affordable.
I am a fantastic mum as I had to drag my sorry but out of bed at some ungodly hour (it was still dark people ... dark!) to make sure we arrived in Auckland by 9am and despite getting into the car at 7.30am we were still 5-10mins late ... Auckland motorway traffic is not for the faint hearted!!! By the way, same trip took us just 50 mins to get home not during peak hour... grrrr!
The courses ran from 9am to 1pm and unless your child was 7 (the minimum) you were not required to stay. So first stop for myself and another one of the mums that I know, was the café that is also situated in the front of the building for that richly deserved hot chocolate. Knowing that I had a big drive ahead of me meant that I made sure not to have a drink before I drove into town ... as I didn't know if my bladder could survive the long journey. Such is the life of an over 40's Mama. After our drinks,  Mrs S and I took a walk down through the very trendy shopping streets of Newmarket and did a power shop in one store then headed back to sit on one of the many sofas around The Mind Lab. It was hard peeps ... being able to chat with a fellow adult and wander into a store without kids for a change. I took it all on the chin though.
Now back at The Mind Lab Agent Smelly was doing a science course. She started in one room (walls were glass ... tre trendy) and spent approx. 2 hours making a calculator work using a lemon, potato, wires and nails. Then they made a "wobble bot" with a little battery and some Styrofoam, and toothpicks. Apparently there was a small break for morning tea and then they headed into another area for a couple of hours to do some physics. They built some things (I am sooo technical ey?) which had cogs and then they connected them to some robotics gear to see how their parts worked. (That's AS in the apricot pants getting down to business; she's teamed up with Miss H, in the hat, who is a friend of ours).

The Fashionista at 12 had the opportunity to attend the science course or join the older group of 12-15 years olds who were doing the film making course, which she chose of course. Their 4 hour course included storyboarding, camera work, lighting techniques and green screen effects. They made a wee movie taking it in turns to take certain filming roles and also act out their story of course. The movie is going to be put together by the "teacher" and some music added, etc and then a link will be emailed to the group so they can watch it. TF could NOT stop talking about her course on the way home. She was on a natural high and apparently if real schools could learn and teach like that she would be there in a minute. (TF is in the cowboy hat filming her part, and caught me with the camera taking her picture, hence "the look" ... haha)

If you are in the Auckland area I strongly recommend you check out some of the STEM courses on offer by The Mind Lab. They have weekend and school holidays courses also. The girls are looking to go back and do a few more, the next ones will be more computer related though. They can't wait and I will get four hours to myself again ... yeah!


  1. Sounds like Melbourne traffic! Yeah, I have the same over 4o problem(that I have had since 32), and am very careful about what I drink before a journey. It sucks!! Glad to see you all had fun :)

  2. Yes I was telling the girls about driving (or rolling) to work each day in Melbourne. I actually think whilst there was MUCH more traffic in Melbourne that it flowed better. There aren't enough big roads to get into Auckland, and it's just chaos!


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