Thursday, May 28

Roadschool Trip to Cleveland

I LOVE music, especially classic rock.  I even took "The History of Rock" as a college course (Best. Class. Ever.).  So when we showed up to see the NASA Cleveland site (see below), and found the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame was right next door, my husband knew that it was going to be a long day!
This museum is six stories tall and very comprehensive.  We started in the 'Roots of Rock & Roll' theater, and learned about how gospel, Motown, rockabilly, blues, western swing, and 40's pop (think Perry Como) fused into this new beast.  Interesting fact : the phrase "rocking and rolling" originally used as a sexual analogy by the African community.
The boys had a chance to listen to examples from the root origins (eg, blues, swing) and then to see what bands were the result of mixing certain roots.  Below, they are researching the Beatles and Rolling Stones.  It counts as music theory class, right?
We headed into the 1950s with Elvis Presley...easily the most crowded exhibit in the museum.  The boys had a chance to participate in an on-air radio show for the SiriusXM Classic Vinyl station!
We learned about several types of guitars, drums, and pianos that gave various bands their unique 'sound,' including the twelve-string guitar used by Roger McGuinn to give The Byrds that "twangy, jingle-jangle."
Further on in, we saw the 1960s and 1970s broken down into it's 'styles,' including the British Invasion, Punk Rock, Garage Bands, Psychadelic Rock, etc.  The museum has great visuals showing  how the roots of rock continued to intertwine to create each of these genres. 
The highlight of my tour was getting to see the Allman Brothers piano and Janis' Porshe, and my husband made sure to rag me about it for the rest of the visit!
Of course, then we went up one level and discovered one of his favorites, Pink Floyd, in a larger-than-life-sized (and somewhat disturbing) rendition of The Wall.  If you've never gone psychedelic, try putting on the soundtrack to The Wall while watching the Wizard of Oz .  Remember to start them at exactly the same time...

On the very top floor is one, loud, continuous rock concert.  You can't go through all of that history and not want to just rock out, and the museum is happy to comply with that need.  We happened to show up during Woodstock, but you might also see Lollapalooza or a FarmAid show.  The first cd my dad ever bought me was the Woodstock soundtrack , and I was happy to share the show with my boys (but only the music portion).
We ended the day by taking the kids to (where else?) Hard Rock CafĂ© for dinner and a show.  Rock on, y'all.

Rock & Roll History Resources

Dive back into time to discover rock & roll’s roots and see how the music developed along the way. These lessons begin with the various origins, discuss how they intertwined, and proceed through the new millennium. Writing assignments, listening exercises, and videos are included to enhance the learning experience!

  • Introduction
  • Origins
  • Pre-Natal Period
  • Birth of Rock & Roll
  • The Sixties
  • The Seventies
  • The Eighties
  • The Nineties
  • A New Millennium

nullMusic Throughout History is just one of the MANY music courses offered over at SchoolhouseTeachers.  Did you know that you can find courses for elementary through high school, including instrument-specific instruction, such as piano, guitar, and violin?!

But BEFORE I could go rockin' & rollin'.......I had to be a good mommy first!!
En route to New York, we detoured by Cleveland.  As members of the NASA Passport Program, we have a goal of visiting all eleven sites across the country.  Great Lakes Science Center, in Cleveland, Ohio, had the added benefit of being free for us, as ASTC Passport members.  (If you haven't looked into the ASTC program, I suggest checking it out.  Your family can visit 350+ museums for free with an annual pass.)

Great Lakes Science Center happened to have a Lego exhibit as their special feature, which made both boys very happy!  Before learning about space, we took a world adventure with Lego models.  The exhibit was impressive, with creations that addressed world landmarks, historical events, and even great works of art.  There was also a hands-on challenge to build a load-bearing form of transportation that would carry various objects on a point-to-point course. 
 After exhausting the Lego exhibit, we headed into the Space Center.  Admittedly, we probably should have visited the smaller centers before hitting the big ones in Cape Canaveral and Houston because the kids were less interested in the minutiae than the big rockets.  They enjoyed learning about the Apollo capsule, and tried their hands at a moon landing.
We learned how to fly an airplane with various forces acting upon it, about wind tunnels and jet propulsion, and about how the air is filtered for astronauts aboard the International Space Station.
We explored some of the new inventions arising from the space program, and learned how to communicate via laser beams and satellites.

Directly in front of the science center is Lake Erie, which makes for a fabulous picnic area!  Outside, we learned about a historical ship, William Mather, and it's uses on the lake.  We also learned about different types of fish that eat the scuzzy stuff (eg, algae) off the boat.  My eldest wants to research this more later, and see if there is a Wild Kratts episode about these fish.  These boys and their Wild Kratts...!


  1. What a fantastic field trip! I've never been to Cleveland, and you make it look really interesting. The Rock & Roll museum looks especially interesting.

    1. It was so much fun! I want to go back, especially now that the kids are a bit older and my farmboy is very into the whole 'dress in black, listen to AC/DC' phase of life. :)


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