In Los Angeles, the Petersen Automotive Museum is a go-to destination for us staffers at Automobile, and there isn’t one of us who hasn’t wiled away an afternoon there immersed in all it has to offer. While the museum is understandably closed until at least the end of March, it hasn’t taken long for it to begin a schedule of live streaming events and other educational activities from its avant garde headquarters in downtown Los Angeles, all offered for free on its website.
If you have bored kids at home, you’re in luck. The events are mostly geared toward children, though no doubt parents will enjoy following along as well. So far, the schedule is as follows (all times are PST):
- Tuesday, March 17, 10 a.m. – Force and Motion
- Cars are about motion. While it may seem simple to press a pedal and move forward, there are dozens of forces interacting that must be balanced to produce motion. From Newton’s laws to different types of energy, students will learn the simple physics behind the automobile.
- Tuesday, March 17, 1 p.m. – Balloon Cars
- For a car to move, a force must be applied. Students will explore propulsion and Newton’s Third Law of Motion by making their own balloon cars.
- Wednesday, March 18, 10 a.m. – History of the Car
- Cars have been in existence for more than a century (or longer, depending on when you start counting). Join the Petersen as it explores the evolution of the automobile.
- Wednesday, March 18, 1 p.m. – License Plates
- License plates identify vehicles as properly registered with the state, but may also serve as a canvas. Students will create their own license plates and decorate them to show off something about their home state.
- Thursday, March 19, 10 a.m. – Storytime Featuring “Go, Dog, Go!” By P.D. Eastman
- Students will read the beloved tale about dogs and their cars.
- Thursday, March 19, 1 p.m. – Animal Cars
- Students will make a car of their favorite animal with materials found around the house.
- Friday, March 20, 10 a.m. – Design Process
- Utilizing the car, students will explore how things go from idea to finished product.
- Friday, March 20, 1 p.m. – Car Models
- A critical part of automotive design is creating a model. Students will create car models to show how the modeling process can help to explore design choices.
- Future lessons will cover propulsion, aerodynamics, racing and a host of other topics.
Also, head to the Petersen Automotive Museum’s Online Education area. There, kids can download and print a virtual automotive coloring book, with drawings of everything from a 1932 Ford 5-Window Coupe to a 1966 Volkswagen Beetle to a 1989 Ferrari F40. Or there are several other downloadable activities: you can build your own Cars movie character and a road to drive it on, make your own license plate, build a hot rod and challenge your brain with automotive trivia. Website visitors can even download and print a tape-together map of the Nürburgring Nordschleife, Le Mans, Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and other famous racetracks.
We extend our gratitude to the Petersen Automotive Museum for developing ways for the public to interact with cars from the safety of their homes in the coming weeks and for continuing to educate automotive enthusiasts of all ages, even in the midst of a shutdown. One thing is for certain, we can’t wait for our next visit to the Petersen Automotive Museum when it’s safe to re-open.