Throwing stuff at the internet to see what sticks
Sunday, April 03, 2011 Science Fair to Middling
I remember the science fair of my fourth grade year as something that loomed large and intimidatingly in my mind, and took up so much time, that sometimes I forgot that M. Edium's own kindergarten science fair didn't have to be the same way. For either of us, even.
It actually ended up falling to the moms to take care of it all, which worked out well for the kids and for me. Trash brought the model mountain for the avalanche, and his lab partner's mom brought the water utensils and the instant snow, because we thought it best to keep those two items separate until it was time, lest both all the fake snow and all the water get used up before the day of the science fair even came. And by all the water, I of course mean all the water in the city.
Trash and the other mom had to bring it to the school to set it up early in the morning for whatever reason. There are all sorts of requirements, like you have to say if your project is potentially messy (yes) or could spill (yes), but M. Edium's must be relatively tame, because it didn't even press the envelope of things that weren't allowed, like open flames, live animals, body parts, germ cultures, nuclear waste, or captured demons.
I have to say, for a couple of kindergartners, they did a great job. They pretty much did their own research, and most of their own writing, although the moms did help a little with some of the actual lettering. While they were setting up -- in a gymnasium full of other projects by fifth-graders, fourth-graders, and one other kindergartner, another parent came up to Trash and asked, "How old?"
Trash, expecting to have to be defensive, started explaining about how it was two kindergartners working together, but how they did 98% of the work themselves. "Huh," this other parent said. "Better handwriting than my fourth-grader's."
Most parents didn't actually get to go until after school that day. And even after that, because for some reason the science fair coincided with the "Celebration of Learning," in which we got to visit M. Edium's classroom and look at all the work he's been doing, most notably his books and stories whose primary moral appears to be that he doesn't have a Nintendo DS yet.
But after that was over and done with (and we had gotten the message that he really, really wants us to buy him a Nintendo DS), it was time to adjourn to the gymnasium.
I don't want to spend much time describing the other kids' projects, out of respect for their privacy and that of their families, but there was a surprising number of really cool projects in there. Lots of them were illustrated with photographic lab notes, and most had fun little demonstrations. For the most part, it was a pretty impressive display. Which is not to say that there were a few projects that made me feel a little surprised that there was only one other kindergartner participating.
But M. Edium and his lab partner each got to run through the miniature avalanche demonstration several times, and without any pressure of the goal to make it to the next level like I had in fourth grade, he simply had a good time. He and his lab partner both got their little green participation ribbons, and when we left, he was happy to just bring the avalanche kit and leave the poster board display behind.
And of course he's looking forward to next year's science fair. And if I have to do as little work next year as I did this year (it would be impossible for me to do less), I am too.
posted by M. Giant 7:33 PM 0 comments