Saturday, 11 November 2017

Discovering The Science Behind Pixar

We’ve had a crazy busy year with our youngest daughter’s wedding in January, the arrival of our second grandson in April and, finally, our girls moving into their new home. There is one thing about being busy, time seems to pass by quickly (well, except for the eight months it took for the house to be built - that seemed like an eternity!)

With everything going on it was suddenly the middle of October and we hadn’t done half the activities we had planned for the summer. At the top of our list was a visit to the Science Behind Pixar at the Telus World of Science in Edmonton, Alberta. Seriously, Pixar + Science, who wouldn’t want to see what this was all about.


As luck would have it, hubby had a couple of days off (sounds odd I know but he works for the railway - 24/7 operation - no scheduled days off - it’s an interesting profession) and was able to make the three-hour drive with us.

EJ couldn’t wait to get there and see what it was all about. The ads had promised some of his favorite characters so he was pretty pumped. Arriving at the center we were greeted by giant banners featuring Woody & Buzz from Toy Story and Sully & Mike from Monster's Inc. This was going to be a fun afternoon.

No doubt about the current exhibition
After getting our tickets for the exhibit (at a discount, one of the benefits of membership) we headed down the hall, following some interesting large blue footprints, and arrived at a theatre where we learned the steps it takes to create a Pixar animated film (and reminded of the rules for the exhibit by Roz...who else!?)

Who wouldn't want these two for classmates
Entering the main exhibit, you are greeted by Mike and Sully in the Rigging area. Here you learn that in order to make a character move you have to...well...move their skeleton...and deform their skin (deform their skin, sounds awful but the workstation is a lot of fun.)

Somewhere after rigging I managed to lose the two fellows I was with as EJ led his papa through the big room of displays and activities. I heard several aw cool's and awesome's as they moved from station to station learning about the math and science involved in this amazing animation.

How can she move her arms like that?
There were stations where you could create stop action video.

Budding filmmaker at work
Another where you could play with color and texture to change the appearance of surfaces.

Lots of fun changing surfaces in Ramone's garage
And a very hands-on table where you could build model robots from a variety of pieces.

So many choices how can you choose
These are only a few of the activity areas in this entertaining (and educational) exhibit. There is even a free educator guide that can be downloaded from the Telus World of Science website. It contains some fun activity sheets that we used as a homeschooling family but, I think, any parent could use depending on the interest level of their children. 


The Science Behind Pixar runs until January 7, 2018, at the Telus World of Science Edmonton so there is still plenty of time to visit. I'm not sure where it runs next but I would absolutely encourage you to chek it out if it comes to your area.