Sunday, January 18, 2015

The school district science fair. AKA, what was I thinking?

K came home months ago talking about how Mr. H was talking about the science fair.  A kiddo who loves science, she was excited to participate.  We encouraged her.  She heard nothing.

And nothing.

Oh wait.

And nothing more.

When we had a teacher conference in December, I asked about it.

"None of the kids seemed interested."

"I know that K and C were both interested."

He hunted for the paperwork, which took him a week to find.  When he finally gave the paperwork, he told the kids that they had to come in the NEXT day to let him know what project they'd be doing. Since we had no time to research more creative projects involving the parameters set before her and her original chosen project of earthquakes, we settled on growing beans in different light, with different growing medium and at a lower temperature than normal.

They registered her bean project and she was off.

She planted the beans on Christmas Eve.  She wanted to do them on the 21st, but she was ill with the viral respiratory thing that gave her a fever and general unwellness, so we delayed.  But!  She's been growing and logging in about these beans since 12/24.

She's been working on the district assigned science fair workbook.  It's for 5th - 12th grade.  I want you to know, there is nothing 5th grade about it unless she is Sheldon Cooper and I assure you that in smarts, my kiddo is just a good average kiddo.  I'm college educated with a degree, consulted with my equally degreed spouse and we had to look things up to explain them to her.  My husband's degree is in science.


K and I spent 8 hours in front of the computer today.  We researched together and I acted as her scribe.  We worked through the workbook together for the research paper requirements, my typing her very words and explaining things as we went along.

8 hours, y'all.  It is 15 pages double spaced and we still have an abstract to create and a reference page with a minimum of 5 references-- ALL FOR GROWING SOME BEANS!

Long gone are the days when you simply busted out a project overnight with a poster.  Nosiree.

Planting her seeds. 

The box that she drilled the holes in.  She had a lot of fun with the drill.

The box for the red light.

Plunking them up into the window.

A nice sunny day.

The best plant we have is the bean planted in the sterilized play sand. 

She has one decent plant in the red box.  The others are tiny.

One decent plant in the cardboard "shade mimicking" box, but she's tall and spindly.

Soon, my window will be mine again.  

I look at it like this.  This is an experience that I can give my kiddo.  She will not be getting graded on it, but she will also not be getting extra credit.  This is all on her own and she is one of four 5th graders who elected to work on the science fair projects.  The other three are working together in a group.  Their chosen project is biofuels and they have not created said fuel yet, nor tested it, nor written a word for a research paper.  Methinks that they are a hair behind.  My thought with K?  Give her something age appropriately more simple.  Give her a project that she can reasonably monitor and have the specific parameters met.  We were able to do that.  She'll be able to log this in as experience that she got in advance for a science fair in the future that will most definitely be for credit.  

Until then, this mama is tired.  But!  I can tell you the details of water crystals and their carcinogenic nature, the down falls of growing plants in sand and some further background on chemical plant foods found in bagged soil.

1 comment:

ChupieandJ'smama (Janeen) said...

We've been working on M's project. It's required for 6-8 graders to do it. We started it during Christmas break and are still going strong analyzing data. All I can say is Ugh.

I'm glad K enjoyed her project. She'll gain so much than a grade from it. Good for her!

Next year I'll have 2 kiddos required to do science fair. I should start gearing up for it now.