Science Fair Projects


Let me quickly clarify this for those of you who are completely baffled by the notion that an elementary school science fair project might actually make me happy.  It is only the science fair project that is complete, turned in and out of my house (and, more importantly, mind) that makes me click my heels and wave my jazz hands in the air. 

I had the chance to visit my daughter’s school and view her finished project alongside those of her classmates.  I mingled with parents who, murmuring out of earshot of the teachers, confessed that the final hypothesis and conclusion paragraphs were crazy-glued on just before the bus showed up to transport said project and child to school.  Been there.  I perused the room and felt grateful that my daughter did NOT choose an experiment that involved growing mold on cheese or bread or any other food.  I don’t want to knowingly grow mold on anything, anywhere in my house.  I was awed by the kid who built this contraption with three light switches that he successfully attached to three different sets of working lights.  Overachiever.  I was dazzled by the boards that had blinking lights as their border.  What was that project about again?  And I made a mental note to encourage my younger daughter to grow crystals when it was her turn to choose a science fair project.  Do crystals require more than one day to grow?  If so, we’re out.

Fortunately, my incredibly wise daughter chose an experiment that required very little assistance from me.  Of course, being in 5th grade, she doesn’t drive and she really has no money of her own, so I was responsible for going to the store and purchasing the supplies needed for the project.  As a self-admitted procrastinator, I confess that I was really the only thing standing between my daughter and her finished project.  Why is it always the mom’s fault?

Of course, when I finally do quit procrastinating, I have this tiny control issue that I am working really hard to…..well….control.  

I had so many ideas for the layout of our display board, the information we should include in our journal, the way we could show off our….  


My daughter interrupted my flurry of ideas with her head-turning squeal.

“This is my project!”

Ohhhh.  Right.  I’m supposed to guide not do.  Got it.  So, in reality, this project is a devious plan developed by the teachers of the world who are testing the parameters of parental guidance and self-restraint.  I’m on to you teachers!

I am happy to report that, even with me as her mom, my daughter successfully completed her project on her own.  Of course, I cringed when she cut out text to place on her display board and it had uneven, rounded edges.  I bit my tongue when the headers were all written on imperfect rectangles and her journal had spelling errors in it.  Did I mention that the journal was an old composition notebook that she ripped the used pages out of and re-purposed for this project?  Ouch.  That one really hurt.

In the end, we did it.  She handed in an excellent project, I managed to keep my crazy under control and we can now think back fondly on our first science fair project.  Oops. Did I say ‘our?’







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