Cleveland Museum of Natural History, Museums, Nature, Uncategorized

Built to Survive: Biomechanics at Cleveland Natural History Museum

We went to the Cleveland Natural History Museum on Sunday, October 21 to view their newest exhibit – Built to Survive: Biomechanics.

Many (if not all) scientific inventions, ideas and theories originate because scientists have observed the incredible way nature functions around us.  This exhibit left me with a feeling of wonder and amazement and both girls came out excited and ready to continue exploring the museum.

20181021_125601When we walked in, there were four display cases that explained how nature works mechanically to push (i.e. snot pushes out dirt and germs from your body), distort (i.e. gravity distorts the discs in your spine but lie down and they expand), bend (collagen, cellulose and/or keratin in nature gives strength to hollow objects in nature like feathers) and press (i.e. coral can withstand pounding waves because it’s made of very hard calcium carbonate).

Near this area was a game called,“PUSH THEM TO THEIR LIMITS!”.  My 3 year old loved this area!  She could select two objects and then decide which one would win in compression, tension and bending tests.  Then she was able to push a button to run the test and see how each object performed for each test.  I personally loved this game too because it brought me back to my materials engineering roots.

 

20181021_130413Next we moved on to learn about the “circulatory” systems in various animals and also in trees.  Did you know that trees use xylem in each ring of the tree to pump up nutrients to the rest of the tree?  We were able to see through a microscope what the xylem looks like.

The highlight in this area for the kids was pumping “blood” from the heart of a giraffe all the way up it’s neck – it helped explain the concept of blood pressure and how hard a giraffes heart must pump in order to get blood all the way to it’s brain.  I personally was shocked at how hard I had to pump the heart to get it to reach the top.

We learned about why the size of a deer ranges depending on the climate it lives in, we watched a video on how animals survive in the dessert, learned about ‘levers’ in the human body and how they function mechanically, I was able to test my own grip strength (no wonder I need my husband to open those jars for me… haha…), gain more insight into prosthetics (and robots) and we were able to become birds and flap our wings!

They also had a neat area that explained heat loss and insulation of the body and we were able to stand in front of an infrared camera to see how “hot” or “cold” we were.  Check out this “HOT” couple!  Haha!

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There was SO MUCH to explore and learn in this exhibit!  I know if I made another trip, I would find even more to learn and understand.

At times, it was a bit of a challenge to make it through the exhibit with two very young children – 1 and 3 years old – but we managed ok.  I would recommend that if you have more than one young child, to be sure that you have another adult with you and try to choose times when the exhibit won’t be too busy.  Sunday afternoon was perfect for us.  The girls were so excited to play with the interactive pieces and they seemed perfectly spaced throughout.

This exhibit will be available at the Cleveland Natural History Museum until April 28, 2019!  So you will have plenty of time to plan your trip.  Admission to this exhibit is included with general admission and members get in FREE.  There is so much more to explore in this museum!!  Check out their admissions page on their website for more information on hours and pricing.

We have a membership to the Cleveland Museum of Natural History and attended out of our own interest.  This post was not a request from the Cleveland Museum of Natural History and I received no compensation for this post.

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