Friday, January 21, 2011

Science Project

Tell me I am not alone here. How many of us parents dread the "family projects" and homework that is sent home with our children that is really homework for the parents? I really don't mind helping my kids with their normal homework. Actually sometimes I even enjoy it. I enjoy teaching my children things they didn't quite understand fully in class or showing them different ways to look at a homework problem.

But I am not crafty. I don't like projects. I didn't like them when I was young. I think my mom, who is artsy and crafty, helped make anything I took to school look presentable. And now that I am grown I am seeing how much more I dislike them as they are multiplied by the number of children I have. Projects!!! AHHH! I have one waiting for me to do currently to make something out of 3D shapes for Lauren to take to school.

But this post is not about that. It is about how about 2 weeks ago Sabrina mentioned in the car on the way home that I needed to write her a note to tell her teacher we couldn't do a Science Project. This was the first time I had heard her say anything about any Science anything. She got out some papers from her backpack about a Science Fair and Project including a time line for turning things in. The papers were dated Dec. 10th. It was Jan. 7th. We had missed several lab check deadlines already.

I wondered if perhaps this was an optional thing. So I emailed the teacher that night (it was Friday.) I heard back from her Monday morning that the Science Project was in fact required and that she was shocked I had not heard about it from Sabrina as they had been talking about it lots in class. The final lab book check was due Wednesday according to the paper Sabrina had given me. The teacher said in her email that we should just do the best we could but that Sabrina probably wouldn't be eligible to go to UNLV with her project because she hadn't had a lab book check.

So I had Jon pick up a lab book on his way home from work that night. Sabrina and I brainstormed about what she could do as an experiment. She came up with trying to dissolve packing peanuts with common household chemicals. She got this idea from a friends birthday party that featured a "Mad Scientist." It sounded easy enough to me and not too messy.

So Jon brought home some packing peanuts and that night we got 5 household cleaning agents and wrote up all the steps to the Scientific Method in her lab book and performed the experiment. I must say that the actual experiment part was kinda fun. We enjoyed watching the packing peanuts dissolve in acetone nail polish remover and turn into a goo. And at least she had her lab work done for the final lab book check.

The part I really dreaded was making the display board. That means lots of typing and printing for mom and dad. The final project was due on the 18th. The 17th was Ann Marie's birthday and I had sick kids to take care of and take to doctor's appointments all weekend. It was a crazy weekend.

We did manage to type out all of Sabrina's lab book work and print it out big and put it on the Science Project board I had Jon and Sabrina go buy. I left the pictures for Monday. Tuesday morning about 15 minutes before school I remembered we hadn't gotten to the pictures. I didn't even have them printed out. Luckily I had a spare ink cartridge and could print them out quick at home. Then we quickly used all the rest of the glue in our house to apply them to the board.

We got to school with the completed project just a minute or two before the tardy bell rang. Whatever. I was just glad we got it done and it was out of our house. Whew!

Imagine my surprise yesterday when Sabrina told me she won 4th place in the school's science fair and her project would be going to UNLV to compete in the city wide competition! I was shocked. I was happy for my little girl who was very excited to win a ribbon. Apparently she tells me they judged it based on how well they liked the idea and the experiment and not on how pretty the board looked. Hallelujah.


Apron Appeal said...

Every time science project time comes to our house my 7 year old thinks building a rocket to the moon is an expectable experiment...If I had the option.. I'd write a letter opting out.

Judy said...

I am SO glad to hear that I'm not the only mom that dreads Science projects!! My daughter did have an EXTRA nice teacher last year & they did the majority of their projects at school & she had lists & kits for all of the projects on the list already!! I'll tell you what that is the BEST way to do a project!!!

Emma and Dan said...

I wanted to thank you for going above and beyond in reaching out to the Nygard family. I first met Jenny 10 years ago at BYU, and she is the most amazing woman - as you now know. :) I appreciate your kindness and I know that she does too.

Cardalls said...

I too hate the family projects! My son just turned a book project in...we did everything that was asked and only got 43/50 and I am convinced it was because it wasn't "cutsie" enough.

Anonymous said...

Kelsey was so excited that Sabrina got 4th place. CONGRATULATIONS!!

Nikki K.

Kim Landrum said...

I am laughing as I read this! When my son was in elementary school (he's 23 now), we were leaving for school one morning when he told me he had a science project due THAT DAY! It was to make a volcano. I am horrible at crafts (my mom did my projects), but we managed to use potting soil, some soda, and a lot of luck and it actually "spewed"! Believe it or not I miss those times!

Your Texas Friend,

Dean and Sheri said...

This post made my pulse rate increase....I remember those days! Congratulations to your daughter AND YOU!

Tournesol said...

I too always felt these were more parent projects than kids! One year my son failed to inform me about a project (he's 22 now) but he had already turned in his topic which was comparing plants growing! We went to the nursery and bought plants at various stages of growth the day before it was due and he wound up getting an A. Felt a little guilty about that!

Jenny M said...

LOL - I loved this story, plus the above stories. My son just finished his. He's known about it for months, but began it the last 2 weeks before it was due. Thank goodness, he's really into science and Dad helped him with the actual construction of the project (Water purification).
He got a first place ribbon, but he said lots of kids got first place ribbons, so whatever, great for him!