Friday, November 19, 2010

Our eleventh and twelfth weeks in review: November 8-19

Two weeks for you to peruse this time :)   I missed posting last Friday's wrap up as Mike's up-to-that-point-uncomplicated knee surgery recovery became complicated with a blood clot in his calf!  We spent all day Friday in various waiting rooms and various offices.  I hope to never experience that again.

On to the fun!

We mixed up the math during the past two weeks.  Daisy spent several days with Challenge Math for the Elementary and Middle School Student, working through various sections on problem solving with venn diagrams, charts, and other methods.  She also reviewed the addition and subtraction of negative integers, order of operations, and the associate property.  I found some worksheets on that she really enjoyed---she asked for me to print more one day!  Weirdo.

We missed our Patty Paper Geometry day last week due to the clot.  Yesterday she worked through the Guided Investigations for chapter 1----intersection of two lines, finding the shortest distance between a point and a line, vertical angles, adjacent angles, and linear pairs---and completed one of the exercise sets.  Next week on our geometry day she'll complete the other four exercise sets.  I took a picture to show exactly what is produced in an investigation.  Since the first chapter is really basic, the picture isn't that exciting LOL  The left paper is finding the shortest distance from a point to a line (Daisy drew on the folded paper with a sharpie) and the right is discovering that opposite angles are equal.

Finally, last Thursday was the first homeschool competition day for MOEMS (Math Olympiad for Elementary and Middle School).  Daisy was a bit nervous heading in, hoping she'd be able to answer one out of the five problems correctly (only 50% are able to answer the first one! The percentages decrease with each successive problem.)  She answered the first three correctly and would have gotten the last one correct had she not made a silly addition error.  Yippee!  One other kid of the 20 or so there also answered three correctly.

Last week we covered Chapter 6: Weather and Climate in CPO Earth Science.  In addition to the usual reading and discussion of each section, Daisy watched two Bill Nye DVDs, Wind and Storm.  We totally skipped Investigation 6B as it relied completely on a set of radar image plates only available as part of CPO's lab package.  I didn't have enough time nor energy nor motivation to replicate the plates.

This week we finished Chapter 6 with reading of the Chapter Connection (hurricane scientists) and completion of the Chapter Assessment.  Daisy had a busy science day on Tuesday----we did the first lab for Chapter 7: Oceans (you can see the separate post for our not-so-much-of-an-adaption of Investigation 7A) then met with the other Elementary Science Olympiad homeschool team members (grades 4 and 5) for the first time.  She handed in her event choices and should learn today which events she'll be doing and with whom, in the case of partner events.   This week she also covered the first section in Chapter 7 and watched a very hilarious Bill Nye Oceanography dvd.  This afternoon we'll do Investigation 7B: Wave Speed using our adapted "GeoBox."   If I can get good pictures, I'll make a separate blog post for that lab.

Last week Daisy studied ancient China with the addition of a few resources to the reading from Human Odyssey:

This week we've done a quick comparative run-through of world religions with foundations during ancient times, Confucianism, Hinduism, Buddhism and Judaism.   She read relevant chapters from Human Odyssey (unit 2, chapters 3-7) and associated chapters from the Oxford Press series The World in Ancient Times

From the K12 Student Pages for the History Odyssey textbook, Daisy filled out a chart comparing religions and philosophies for Confucianism, Hinduism, Buddhism, and Judaism.  She will add the information for Christianity and Islam once she gets to those chapters.  The various categories include founder of the religion/philosophy, date of founding, principal beliefs, principal sacred texts, geographic regions where the religion/philosophy predominates today, and current number of followers.

English/Language Arts
NaNoWriMo continues!  Older Sister estimates Daisy has written about 2000 words.  She's writing longhand in her notebook and Older Sister is typing it up in chunks.  I hope she makes 3000 words by the end of the month :)

We finally finished Chapter 3 in Galore Park's So You Really Want to Learn French 1 (aka French Prep).  Now we can converse about all kinds of food and all sorts of rooms in a house LOL

Other fun stuff
This week's Earth Explorers class at the local state park was historical, the everyday lives of boys and girls during World War II, held at a local historic estate.  There were lots of girls this time, including two from the previous classes Daisy had attended :)

Girl Scouts met on Tuesday for a fun meeting.  The girls made apple pies for their families, as they did this time last year.  We put Daisy's pie in the freezer to be baked for Thanksgiving.

She's been crafting up a storm lately.  You may have seen her fingerknitting obsession or her interesting take on Thanksgiving turkeys.  She also decided to do some of the activities in the Klutz sewing book.  This was completed, from cutting out the pattern to finishing with floss, without any help from me (except for knotting the thread occasionally):

Isn't that the cutest little mouse?

Ballet continues with a ramping up of Nutcracker rehearsals.  Oy.

I attended a homeschooling "teacher in-service" night this week, with workshops on topics ranging from early elementary language arts to the college process.  I didn't really learn anything new, just looking on the few hours as a networking possibility.

The best of the week(s): the ability to adapt Daisy's schooling to a destroyed schedule.  Even on the absolute worst days, we've done history and math and she's read and read and read.  And <drumroll please> Older Brother finally submitted a college application!!!!!!!!  He swears the rest will be submitted by the end of Thanksgiving weekend.  I sure hope so as I don't think I could take this stress much longer...

The worst of the week(s): Mike's complicated recovery, duh, followed by sleep deprivation in both of us and a mysterious rash on Older Sister's face.  Just back from the allergist now---possiblity an eczema flare or something viral.  I would like to go a few days without a trip to a doctor or to the pharmacy!

Looking ahead to next week:  Thanksgiving!  We're hosting as usual.  Daisy keeps adding desserts to my meal plan---if she had her way, we'd have 4 different types of pumpkin pie, her apple pie, a cheesecake tbd, a spice cake and cookies.  For 13 people!

I hope you all have an enjoyable weekend, leading to a fabulous holiday :)

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Not-much-adapting of the Global Winds and Ocean Currents lab (Investigation 7A)

Almost all the supplies for Investigation 7A are household supplies, so not much adapting was needed.

We used 4 clear plastic cups, 2 foam cups, 2 pipettes (called for 1 eyedropper and 1 pipette), salt, 1 tsp measuring spoon, smidge of cardboard, a pencil, staples and food coloring (the paste-type as that's what we own)-------in addition to hot and cold water, of course LOL

Salinity-dependent layering:
Daisy first made some green salt water.
We created a pouring stick by pushing the tip of a pencil through a small cardboard circle.  The cardboard was held under the liquid in the cup while plain cool water was poured down the pencil, so that no uncolored water splashed into the colored water.  I couldn't get a picture of this process as I was the pourer.  After the water was poured in, we could see two distinct layers simulating two ocean layers separated by salinity.
Then Daisy took a piece of foam cup and added staples, one by one, to it.  It took many, many stapes for the piece to eventually sink to the boundary between the two layers.  I didn't get a picture because my silly camera ate the batteries.  By the time I had changed them, Daisy had fished the foam piece out to add more staples so that it sank all the way to the bottom of the cup.

Temperature-dependent layering:
Using the pouring stick technique, Daisy combined cool blue water and hot red water to simulate ocean layers separated by their temperatures.

Creating an underwater waterfall:
Daisy began with cool water in a clear cup.  Hot, salty red water was mixed up in another cup.  She carefully filled a pipette and squeezed a layer of red water onto the surface of the cool water.

The red layer began to form tiny "waterfalls" within the clear water as the red layer cooled.  At first, the hot red layer was less dense than the cooler clear water but became more dense as it cooled.

Observing underwater springs:
We needed really salty water for this demonstration!

Daisy used a pipette to carefully release same-temperature blue water at the bottom of the cup.  The blue water traveled upward within the cup, simulating an underwater spring.  The blue water, being less salty than the clear water, was less dense and created a upper layer in the cup.

After 15 minutes or so, the layers of the underwater waterfall demonstration (red, third from left) had pretty much disappeared but all others remained long enough to show off to Older Brother after school.

To quote Bill Nye, "Science rules!"

Wordless Wednesday----that poor turkey!

Yes, he is being strangled...  I assume that's why the turkey in the center is giving thanks!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Friday, November 5, 2010

Our tenth week: November 1-5

Good gravy, ten weeks?!?!

This has been a week of good (Halloween fun) and bad (the one year anniversary of my mother's death).  Right now I'm writing this in a sleep-deprived fog after waking at 4:30am to drop my husband off at the hospital for a knee reconstruction.  The next  few weeks will be a little challenging to us both, I expect!   For now he's doped up on the couch after successful surgery :) 

I ended last week with uncut fabric on the dining room table (Friday afternoon)

and miraculously was done before the neighborhood Halloween party at 4pm Sunday, despite the almost debilitating neck/shoulder pain I woke with Saturday morning.

Mike went to the party and trick-or-treating with Daisy dressed as The Mouse himself.  Daisy doesn't yet care how he's dressed----the teens on the other hand...

I stayed at home to hand out the candy and nurse my neck and shoulder.  Older Sister went trick-or-treating with friends one neighborhood away and Older Brother went out with a friend across town.  The weather was clear and dry, perfect for costumes and jack-o'lanterns.  This year's offerings featured FrankenPumpkin, a cat who swallowed a mouse, and a classic face.

Mike really enjoys creating fantastic creatures each year.

Of course, we had to admire the haul!
But alas, the fun was all over the next morning when it was back to school...

We covered a mix of topics this week starting with unit conversions (single and multiple steps as in converting gallons to milliliters), then moved on to a variety of  worksheets solving for x in the forms ax=b and a/x=b and then ax+b=c etc.  Daisy has internalized the steps yet I insist on seeing her work, as I know when she reaches more complicated equations it will be very easy to forget a sign or miswrite a coefficient. 

One day was spent on contest-type problems in

which she is enjoying immensely, more so than the MOEMS (Elementary Math Olympiad) materials, mainly old tests, that we've been using.  I think the amusing cartoon characters interspersed through the problems and solutions really help!

We officially started Patty Paper Geometry after just messing around with the patty paper.  A box of 1000 sheets is a lot of patty paper LOL

The first section introduced/reviewed various terms and techniques

(Sorry about the poor quality of the pictures!)

And one afternoon, Daisy organized her Halloween candy by type, then created a color-coded table and bar chart for the candy.  No one will be able to snitch anything from that bag!

I still haven't posted all the labs we've been doing.  I hope to get to that this weekend.

This week Daisy finished Chapter 5: Earth's Environment in CPO Earth Science-----specific heat of land vs water (including Investigation 5B), the Chapter Connection on crazy hurricane hunters, an activity demonstrating Bernoulli's Principle with cheeseballs and bendy straws, concluding with the Chapter Assessment, done orally still.

Ancient China was the main topic this week.  She read from K12's Human Odyssey, from Oxford Press The Ancient Chinese World (chapters 1-5) and from the April 2008 Dig issue on China's Hidden Caves.  Daisy filled out a map detailing the area around the Yellow and Yangtze Rivers and discussed modern-day geography of the ancient civilizations studied thus far---Mesopotamia, Egypt, Indus Valley and the Yellow and Yangtze Valleys.  With that, she finished Unit 1 of Human Odyssey!

Today (Friday) while at my sister's house during Mike's surgery, she began reading about Confucius and Confucianism in both Human Odyssey and The Ancient Chinese World (Chapter 10)
English/Language Arts
On hiatus for the month of November while Daisy works on her NaNoWriMo story!  She's writing it in longhand in a spiral notebook and patient Older Sister is typing it all up for her.  So far, so good!

Never learn French words for foods and eating before lunch.  A growling tummy is very distracting.  We've started Chapter 3 in Galore Park French Prep (So You Really Want to...) which so far has introduced eating breakfast and a bunch of regular ER verbs.  We're been doing a page or two each day and reviewing every fourth or so day.  Fridays are now Flashcard Fridays when we go over vocabulary, writing flashcards for the new words of that week.  Daisy has asked for quizzes/tests so I'm going to purchase the Galore Park assessment CD through an online bookseller next week.  She was able to practice speaking French with my sister today :)

Other Fun Stuff
At Girl Scouts on Tuesday night, the girls made a Thanksgiving craft and started making ornaments for a local nursing home.  They'll be working with the nursing home as part of their Bronze Award this year.  Daisy's Earth Explorers class at the local state park was rescheduled due to rain.  It's kind of difficult to teach map reading and orienteering in a downpour.

The Best of the Week: Halloween!  Chocolate!  Fall foods like butternut squash!

The Worst of the Week: getting through the anniversary of my mother's death :(

Looking forward to next week:  It will be interesting while Mike recuperates from his knee surgery to repair his meniscus and reconstruct his ACL.  I hope he's cleared to drive before Thanksgiving!  Older Brother's very last regular season high school marching band performance will be next Friday, at the end-of-season major rivalry game versus Older Sister's school.  I hope I don't cry and embarrass him at the Senior Ceremony LOL

I'd like to publicly thank everyone who visited the blog and commented this week.  Your thoughts truly helped during this difficult time.  Thank you all so much!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Our ninth week in review: October 25-29

Report cards anyone?  LOL

Another great week of school for Daisy!  However, the weather is messing with her seasonal allergies (frost last Friday, pouring rain, unseasonably warm temperatures--up to near 80--for a few days, with a high of only 60 today) so she's ending a great week by feeling cruddy :(

On Monday we enjoyed our long-anticipated field trip to The Franklin Institute in Philadelphia.  We visited the traveling Cleopatra exhibit  (see my report with oodles of fascinating pictures right here) then spent a few hours exploring the other exhibits.  Please excuse the cellphone pictures.  I managed to forget that I had the proper camera in my bag---only flashless cellphone pictures had been allowed in the Cleopatra exhibit.

Most of our time was spent in Sir Isaac's Loft "where art and physics collide."  Among other activities,  Daisy compared the energy needed to lift herself with the help of a few pulleys vs many pulleys:


She explored pendulum motion by viewing patterns created with sand (I swear this exact pendulum display was at The Franklin Institute in the 1970s):

She set up gigantic domino relays--check out the stairs they had!

We then moved to the bioscience exhibit, home of the giant walk-through heart.  Daisy does not enjoy the heart experience (just a smidge claustrophobic!) so we skipped it as usual.  Instead she explored the Health and Wellness section and the Blood section, learning exactly how much blood is in her body based on her mass:

After a foray through Electricity (I miss the old electricity exhibit with all of Ben's equipment, sniff sniff), we returned to  Changing Earth to see what we had missed before our Cleopatra ticket time.  Daisy spent a long time selecting times in history to see how coastlines and sea levels have changed.  The little Statue of Liberty model was either submerged or exposed with the sea level changes.

Daisy was struck by how the coastline of the United States would change should the ice of Antarctica and Greenland melt.  Yikes, that's a lot of water!

Unfortunately, we had to leave after Changing Earth.  Our 5 hour validated parking time was at the limit and rush hour would be starting soon.  No time for the planetarium, Franklin Air Show and Flight Simulator, for the Train Factory and for a visit to KidScience.  We'll see those next time!

For "regular" school this week we covered

Pre-algebra review this week covered word problems involving ratios, rates, unit rates, and proportions.

I had tried to find patty paper locally but the kitchen store was out of stock for two weeks so I finally ordered a box from Key Curriculum Press, the publisher of Patty Paper Geometry.  Their price including shipping was considerably less than other online sellers and shipping was incredibly fast (2 days from NYC).   The proper paper will be much easier to use than the differently-sized origami paper we had been using.

Today (Friday) we'll do some competition math assuming Daisy's sinus headache doesn't reappear by math time.

We started chapter 5: Atmosphere in CPO Earth Science, finished the ground water and wells project (homeschool FAIL--separate post), watched Bill Nye Atmosphere, and built our own barometer (Investigation 5A).  Topics included the composition of Earth's atmosphere as compared to nearby planets and the layers of the atmosphere.

Last week I managed to upload all the pictures for a bunch of science posts yet neglected to add any text, so the posts still sit in draft mode.  I will get them posted today.

It was a history-filled week with Cleopatra, regular history and the state park Earth Explorers program which focused on local history this week, specifically local agriculture.  The kids pressed their own apple cider!  This week only two other kids, one boy and one girl, were there for the oldest group time (9-15yr).  They were both around Daisy's age and got along very well, if the amount of chatter and laughter at pick-up time is any indication :)

We've moved from Egypt to the ancient Indus valley.   The Human Odyssey devotes a whopping five pages to the topic, so I added the first ten chapters of The Ancient South Asian World and the Jan 2008 issue of Calliope: Spark Along the Indus 2600-1750 BC.  I adapted a mapping activity from the K12 Student Pages (p 118-119 for those playing at home).

Next week we'll start ancient Chinese civilizations.  The Human Odyssey also devotes only a few pages to this topic, thus she'll be reading from The Ancient Chinese World in addition to some other library resources.

We've stopped making a timeline.  Daisy felt like it was busywork, essentially duplicating the very good timelines between each section in The Human Odyssey. 

English/Language Arts
Daisy's gearing up for the start of NaNoWriMo on Monday!  She finished adjectives in grammar with adjective phrases and a chapter test.  No more grammar until December.

She worked more on the NaNoWriMo workbook and spent many hours writing on the computer.

I usually don't keep track of Daisy's free reading, but this week's book list is notable.  She (re)read The Hobbit, The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers, and The Return of the King!

We finished Chapter 2 in SYRWTL French (Galore Park French Prep 1).  Now we can discourse on important topics like what school supplies are in our school room and who is in our class LOL  Today (Friday) Daisy is going to make flashcards for all vocabulary up to this point.

Other Fun Stuff
It's been a slower week for outside events, just the usual ballet classes and Saturday Nutcracker rehearsals.

The Sunday Halloween parade downtown and trick-or-treating down Main Street were so much fun.  Mike wore the Nutcracker head at the ballet studio's table while Older Sister handed out the candy and coloring pages.  The weather was perfect, too.  I forgot the camera.

Older Sister has Arsenic and Old Lace performances tonight, tomorrow night and Sunday afternoon.  No rest for the drama weary---A Christmas Carol rehearsals begin on Monday afternoon!

Older Brother spent much time and effort this week honing his college list and writing his applications.  There is light at the end of the tunnel.

The Best of the Week:  the day spent at The Franklin Institute!

The Worst of the Week:  my mood :(  I've been very short and snappish with the entire family as next week is the anniversary of my mother's death.  Last Halloween I spent the day holding her hand as she slipped in and out of consciousness.  I really wish we could just skip to mid-November.

Looking ahead to next week:  It will be a tough week emotionally.  On top of that, Mike is having knee surgery next Friday to repair his ACL and to fix other issues related to surgery two decades ago.  For fun, Daisy has a Girl Scout meeting on Tuesday.

Sorry to end on a down note.  I hope you all had a great week and will enjoy a very fun weekend!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Wordless Wednesday: Cleopatra at The Franklin Institute

Read a complete picture-intensive review of our fantastic field trip right here!

Cleopatra exhibit at The Franklin Institute

On Monday, we completed our Ancient Egyptian studies by visiting the traveling Cleopatra exhibit at The Franklin Institute.  I had missed being a chaperone to the King Tut exhibit while it was there in 2007 so I was happy to finally have the opportunity to view ancient Egyptian artifacts.

The tickets are timed-entry.  We arrived at The Franklin Institute at 10:30am and were given 11am tickets for the exhibit.  If you are familiar with FI, the traveling exhibit space is one floor up from the ticketing level, off the atrium, above the gift shop.  Some special exhibits in the space are open to the atrium but this one is not, presumably to protect the artifacts from light and to preserve the slightly mysterious feel (background music, lighting) in the exhibition galleries.

We each were given a wand-style player for the audio tour (included in price).  A group in line behind us complained that they weren't headsets, but I definitely preferred the wand to a headset.  It was much easier for Daisy to listen to the audio commentary this way than through a headset.

We waited almost half an hour after our entry time.  Ahead of us was a large group of middle-school students.  With their chaperones, they were separated into three different groups to be let into the exhibition.  Our group consisted of Daisy and me, a mom and a 10/11yo boy, a mom and two teens and a lot of senior citizens!

We first entered a small theatre for a four-minute film.  Here's the description from the exhibition website :

Introduction Theater

Leaving the theatre, we walked through a hallway which appeared to be over water, representing the underwater ruins of ancient Alexandria, lost after an earthquake and tsunami "centuries ago." Underneath the clear floor were various artifacts from the 5th century BC such as

The first exhibition gallery featured


Another submerged city discovered near Alexandria, Canopus had a dual personality. It was a religious center as well as a decadent playground for Alexandrians, comparable to modern-day Las Vegas. This gallery focuses on the city's identity as a site of religious pilgrimage. Artifacts include representations of Osiris, god of the Afterlife, and ritual implements used on the boat procession from Canopus to Heracleion that was held annually in his honor. This gallery also contains artifacts that illustrate the indulgent side of Canopus

These artifacts were used in temple rituals

A stone (diorite) head of an unknown Pharoh from the Saite Dynasty (26th Dynasty, 664-525 BC)

We saw real hieroglypics, right in front of us!

A representation of the city of Canopus, based on underwater archeological evidence

Items that would have been used in rituals---the handle-like item is what remains from a musical instrument.  Bells would have been attached at the top.

Statues of Osiris

I was fascinated by the bronze situla, a pot about 18 inches tall and 12 or so inches in diameter.  Near the bottom left side of the handle (at the 10 o'clock position) you can barely make  out a Greek inscription.  The situla is dated from the Ptolemaic Period (332-30 BC).

At various locations in each gallery were audio hotspots.  If you stood on the indicated section, you would hear the audio to go along with video playing on a nearby screen.  People not standing on the hot spot would not hear the audio, but would instead hear their own audio tour narration.

We spent so much time in the first gallery that four more groups emptied out of the theatre before we moved on!

The next gallery was


The most dominant artifacts in this gallery space are two 16-foot tall colossal figures of a Ptolemaic king and queen from the Temple of Amon at Heracleion. Each new pharaoh, including Cleopatra, was crowned in the ancient city of Heracleion. This gallery highlights the city's role as the place Cleopatra and all of Egypt's rulers were invested with the power to rule the empire and its strategic position on the Mediterranean coast, where various war objects on view illustrate how it provided Egypt's main line of defense against foreign invasion.

A picture with Daisy showing the size of the statues!

On the rear size of the collosi was a gigantic chart of
Daisy explained the relationships between  those listed on the bottom two lines---Cleopatra VII's siblings and children---to me and to some older adults.  I was very impressed at the details she remembered from her readings.  Thanks go to the Oxford Press The Ancient Egyptian World and the Cleopatra VII Royal Diaries book :)

A smallish (12-15" in length) Greek sphinx confused some little girls as they were expecting it to be part lion.

Daisy found the various gold coins on display to be quite interesting
The level of detail was amazing!


Visitors journey into the ancient city of Alexandria, where Cleopatra's palace once stood. Featured objects reflect everyday life in Ptolemaic Egypt. Key pieces in this room include a statue of the High Priest of Isis and a sphinx with a head that represents Cleopatra's father, both from her private temple at her palace. Also on view is the massive stone head of Caesarion, Cleopatra's son.

Displayed in the Alexandria gallery were beautiful gold jewelry and trinkets.  These were an example of Egyptian "tryphe" or ostentatious extravagance which was in great contrast to Roman's austerity.

The Beauty and Power of Cleopatra

Here, visitors gaze upon a larger-than-life headless sculpture of a female body, dressed as the goddess Isis that represents a queen from the Ptolemaic period. They also see the only known example of what scientists believe to be Cleopatra's own handwriting on an original papyrus document.

What did Cleopatra look like?  No contemporary portraits survive, though there are official portraits of her on coins.  These are believed to be conventional images of  royalty, not true-to-life images.  On coins, she was not at all attractive!

The lighting in the display case made for a very difficult no flash cell phone picture, but I just had to capture the ancient writing.  Of all things, this document granted tax exemption from sales of imported wine!

Search for the Tomb of Cleopatra and Marc Antony

Entering this gallery, visitors are transported to the temple complex at Taposiris Magna, about 30 miles west of Alexandria. Here, Dr. Zahi Hawass, Secretary General of the Supreme Council of Antiquities of Egypt, is leading a search for the tomb of Cleopatra and Marc Antony. The gallery introduces artifacts recovered from this ongoing search, including an alabaster head believed to represent Cleopatra.

We viewed religious objects, masks, coins showing Cleopatra and jewelry that had belonged to worshippers at the temple complex.  Daisy found it amusing that Dr. Zahi Hawass was featured in this gallery as he had appeared in several National Geographic DVDs used in our Egyptian studies.

The Legend

The final gallery is devoted to images of Cleopatra through the years in art and popular culture. Artists have tried to capture the essence of Cleopatra in a multitude of art forms throughout history, from paintings to films. But so far, the real last queen of Egypt has eluded everyone.

It was interesting to view the various portrayals of Cleopatra through the years.  To the Romans, she was a wanton seductress.  She was always pictured in medieval portraits with snakes, symbolizing Satan.  Renaissance artists showed a pleasure-seeking Cleopatra who ultimately committed suicide with an asp.  During the 1800s, her exotic sexuality was the focus.  Cleopatra was a ruthless aristocrat yet a tragic beauty who was driven to suicide.  By the movie age which coincided with the fight for women's suffrage, Cleopatra was shown as an emancipated modern woman, most possibly the closet portrayal to actual reality.

In conclusion, this special exhibit at The Franklin Institute was well-worth the admission price ($26.50 weekdays for adults, $19.50 for kids 2-11---I had a small value coupon) and the parking garage fee (validated for up to 5 hours $12).  The visit was the perfect capstone to a month spent reading about and discussing ancient Egypt.  

The exhibit will remain at The Franklin Institute through January 2, 2011.  Additional information, including ticket pricing and hours, may be found here.
A four-minute movie opens the exhibition. Visitors are introduced to the parallel stories of Dr. Zahi Hawass and Franck Goddio, who are leading searches for Cleopatra VII from the sands of Egypt to the depths of the Mediterranean Sea.

As soon as the movie ends, visitors encounter a statue of a Ptolemaic queen, perhaps Cleopatra. Visitors also begin their audio tour, provided to every guest as part of the exhibition experience and narrated by the "voice of Cleopatra," who leads visitors through her life and times.