• Maxwell Yun

Day 29 and Day 30: STL means St. Louis!

Updated: Jul 13

Maxwell Yun here sharing our two days in St. Louis!

Wednesday, June 29 -- Rest Day!

On most days, our legs propel us tens of miles through rolling country hills and barren plateaus. Today was different, however. We were on rest day in St. Louis, and we spent the day exploring the various attractions and foods that the city had to offer.

First, our legs pushed us through the labyrinthe network of tunnels at the City Museum of St. Louis, a "jungle gym for adults" as Simone described. The City Museum, built out of the old "International Shoe Factory", boasted floor-to-ceiling slides, a serpentine tangle of crawlable tunnels curving through the air, and some toys that would fit in at a Chuck-E-Cheese's. We "drove" a school bus dangling off the rooftop of the 10-story building and received a natural manicure from a tank of doctorfish nibbling away at our hands' dead skin cells, among other things.

Next, our legs ran through some lush grass fields outside the St. Louis Arch, carrying the body through an impromptu game of ultimate frisbee. We went into the Arch museum, learning about the history of Missouri and the Louisiana Purchase. We realized that the Arch marks the divide between the Eastern and Western US, as much as it does for our trip.

Next, our legs needed to refuel after a long day of... resting. We intended to grab dinner at Pappy's Smokehouse, but found out that they were only open for lunch. (Stay posted -- we had their legendary ribs!) Instead, we went to the trendy Delmar loop and got some delicious Korean barbecue bowls, as well as authentic Chinese food that Franklin approved of.

We went to the gorgeous Washington University of St. Louis campus, where we found a sculpture very similar to The Alchemist sculpture at MIT. We played yet another game of ultimate frisbee, then dozed off for the night.

Thursday, June 30 -- Learning Festival!

Our sixth Learning Festival was at Ferguson Middle School in Ferguson, MI. We watched school bus after school bus pull up by the school dropping off students; they were part of a summer school program put on by the school district. We were teaching a small subset of the students who were in a gifted program. In middle school I thought that teachers disappeared off the world during summer; here I was teaching at one.

The schedule had three classroom periods, each with three workshops that students would rotate through. I taught my 3D-printing workshop as usual, talking about the applications and inner workings of 3D printers, but I noticed that my content was probably above the heads of the middle-school students. I asked students if they could guess what STL stands for (Standard Tessellation Language, the standard 3D file format), and they immediately said St. Louis. Also true!

The next session, I pivoted towards teaching the basics of CAD for 3D-printing, with a greater emphasis on middle-school geometry. We CAD'ed an Among Us Impostor together as a class, and students requested an extra-long visor, backpack, and hat that looked "more like Perry the Platypus". The second workshop went better than the first, and I may offer a separate CAD-focused workshop for future middle-school groups.

Also, Ferguson Middle School posted about our workshop on Instagram! @fergmiddlecomets.

Following our post-learning-festival tradition, we grabbed some delicious ice cream at Clementine's Ice Cream. They had some booze-flavored ice cream flavors that were barely alcoholic, as well as other creative flavors. We grabbed some Pappy's for a late lunch -- Pappy's was voted the best smoked ribs in the US by Food Network, and their ribs and burnt ends met that expectation. The ribs fell off the bone and tasted delicious, and the burnt ends were from another planet. We didn't eat much, as we had an upcoming feast.

We ate dinner with our host Noah and his church friends, and feasted on a delicious homemade potluck. We played a new icebreaker game where people guess if the person opposite them is a youngest sibling, oldest sibling, middle child, or only child, which led to good conversation about sibling dynamics.

After dinner, we went to Noah's neighbor's house, where he had a full-scale F-15 fighter jet cockpit hooked up to a simulator, in his garage. We "flew" past MIT's campus at Mach 2, then through the Grand Canyon, then attempted to land the plane on a highway in Germany (and crashed). We then floated around in his pool, packed our bags, and got ready for another day of cycling!

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