I’ve spent the past 10 years of my life raising children in elementary school. I have successfully avoided the science fair all 10 of these years.
Does this make me sound like an uncaring parent? Perhaps.
Do I hate science? No way. I spent 6 years of college focusing on science – I still love it. (Except microbiology, I’ll always dislike that.)
I have avoided these projects for one simple reason: I don’t want to do a science project. I had enough practice during my own education and, therefore, cannot bring myself to do one for my children to present as their own.
Because you know that’s how it works, right?! My child is NOT the one thinking of the idea, buying the supplies, working out the actual science, building or creating, and then designing the poster board on their own. No chance. It would be me, their mother, who studied science in school and who has deemed the “creative one.”
So this year, as the neon colored sheet came home detailing the Science Fair, I was poised to throw them away immediately. But the kids stopped me. NO! Mom, we really want to do it this year. Dad said he would help us do it.
I tarried for the slightest second envisioning my husband working out science projects and poster boards while the kids played. It seemed amusing enough so I kept their sign up forms to see if he did indeed make such a promise.
As the deadline to sign up neared, I kept my eye on those neon sheets magnetized to my white dry erase board, the centerpiece of my kitchen and dining room. I wondered if everyone had forgotten about their initial enthusiasm in the Science Fair. But then one day, I looked up and the sign up sheets were gone.
I asked my husband about it, “did you sign the boys up for the science fair?”
“Yeah, I told E and Peter I would help them do it.”
“You are such a good Dad. Good luck with that.” I chortled.
Because this wasn’t “my baby” I didn’t give Ryan a countdown of days he had left before Science Fair. I didn’t even consider how little time was left between sign-up due date and actual science fair. So when he made mention on a Monday about working on the projects “this coming weekend” I frantically informed him the Science fair was “this Thursday!”
While I wanted to laugh, I didn’t. Mostly because I knew, with such little time left, I was bound to be helping get these projects out the door. Which was no laughing matter for me.
Ryan and the boys opted to both work with Newton’s Law of Motion. Ryan got to business with E building their contraption out of Legos. Because, in case you don’t remember, Legos rule my house. Still to this day.
When I saw Ryan working on the Lego contraption during the day while E was in school (and Ryan should have been working) I knew we had hit desperate times. I made my offer to begin working on the project boards.
The Science Fair day arrived and we still had a ridiculous amount of work undone. When the kids arrived home from school they immediately set to work tracing my penciled writing on their project boards. Then I had to take pictures of the contraptions in use, download, edit, print and mount onto the board.
This was happening at 530pm in order to make our 6pm departure time for the elementary school. And wouldn’t you know the boys were going too slow so I had to move them out of the way and finish it myself.
X laughed and chided our weakness in doing the project for the boys. “Aren’t you glad I listened and never made you help me with a science fair project” she proudly proclaimed amidst our haste to finish on time.
In the last minutes before walking out the door I had a genius-Mom-idea: the boys needed to wear their tuxedos.
They weren’t happy but since I had just finished their projects for them, they had no room to argue. I sent them up to their rooms and within 5 minutes I had myself 2 super handsome boys ready to present their projects.
Here’s a look into E’s project:
And what happens when you bring a Lego contraption to school?
The girls flock to you…..
Maybe it was the tuxedo 😉
And Peter’s was essentially a “gauss gun” using magnets and a metal ball bearings.
His brought lots of attention, but no girls.
As we stood around for the hour long science fair, I couldn’t help but feel happy the boys got to experience this at least once. E felt accomplished and cherished his “participation” ribbon. Peter, on the other hand came home and threw his ribbon away.
I have 2 years of elementary school left to live out. Science teachers, I love you, you know I do. But we’re done. We had our first and last – the Alpha and Omega – Science Fair project.