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.