Wednesday, March 03, 2010

a brief photo journal and note

I like Science Fairs, really, I do. I love taking a question my kid has been curious about and turning it into a learning opportunity. An 0pportunity that happens to take at least TEN HOURS of preparation over the course of a few weeks per kid. I like that. Really, I do.

I like how the living room and kitchen turn into a work zone - and even the dog knows it. Glue and scissors and rulers and spoons and legos show up on any available surface; the computer has files up all the time -- like YouTube's "Catapults: Mini-Weapons of Mass Destruction" and googled responses for "Catapult history" and "How come mountains are cold when they're close to the sun?"; and spiral notebooks flop open to pages that list "Questions," "Best Guess Answers," sketches of air pressure on the earth, and all kinds of doodles.

I like how I get to practice my multi-tasking skills as a talking dictionary, penmanship coach, cookie baker, dinner maker, phone operator, Word tutor, research guide, diagrammer, and mom-trying-to-be-nice.

And I like that my kids, who usually have zero or minimal homework, have to roll up their sleeves and get committed. I really like that. I do.

But sometimes it's overwhelming.

And sometimes it makes complete sense to me that Wise Uncle Rod once toyed with recommending that his kids' school solicit money from parents rather than Science Fair Projects.

I like that, really, I do!

In the end, though, I know the Science Fair projects will give my kids a healthy approach to science, homework, curiosity, and presentations. And it will give them a good sense of accomplishment -- already, last year's displays on "Baking Powder to the Rescue!" and "COB: The Magnificent Mixture" are meeting rave reviews from their creators.

Perhaps some years it just won't work for our family to commit to the Science Fair, but for now it's coming together.

I might be crabby and shaking my soup ladel and stepping on legos and tape dispensers and pencils - but I'm also laughing and smiling and hugging for the other times. The times when someone says, "Oh, I get it!", asks another interesting question, admires their own penmanship, or jumps for joy when they've laid out their display and pasted it.

See? I like Science Fair Projects. Really, I do.



Anonymous said...

I'm rather exhausted, really I am, just reading your enthusiastic thoughts, Anjie.
Know you all will make it through this eve.
Can't wait to have Dane and Aubrey present their projects to GrandDad and me - very soon.
Are your cousins doing Science Fair projects this year?
Is it voluntary to participate at all grade levels?
Did I guess right? - is it 'catapults as ancient artillery' and 'why is it cold on mountains when they're closer to the sun'?
I really believe you REALLY DO LIKE these yearly science projects. Your thoughts were right on, Anjie.
We feel like we're there amongst the markers on tables and floor, paper crumpled up as rejected ideas, stepping on plastic tape dispensers.

Have a ball tomorrow, Aubrey and Dane, as you present your projects. People will learn lots from what you've learned and are cleverly presenting to them. Break a leg.

Grammy Jan Jan and GrandDad

anjie said...

Hi Jan,

The projects turned out great. And you understand their topics perfectly. Will post about them soon.

I saw Barritt's display this morning. It looks like she and two classmates investigated the process of molding bread. Ew!

Indi and Jude opted out this time, but maybe we'll see them at the Fair tonight.

You'll be getting the full presentations from Dane and Aubrey next week, I'm sure.


Anonymous said...

Oh, my. Lots of HARD work, and it appears Aubrey had to take a break to restore her energy.
Please be sure to keep them handy so we can see them up close.
Mema & Papa
Hmmm. It looks like Sharly has two kids who really love her. She is one lucky dog, I'd say.