Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Science Fair

This is our first year dealing with Science Fair. It's not my favorite. I'm not a big fan. I'm a lazy parent and I don't understand how choosing a random project or experiment enriches or reinforces what is being taught in the class room. If there was an assigned subject that related to one of the units being taught at school, and the supplies were provided, I might be a little more inclined to think Science Fair is a valid part of learning. And why make it mandatory? Let the kids and parents who are interested go for it and have a great time, I'm happy for you.  As it is, I feel like it's homework for parents. And I'm not talking about doing the project for the kid. I know this is the wrong attitude to have but, WHY DO I HAVE TO BE THE ONE TO MAKE THIS HAPPEN? Besides Sam's other homework, that we do and take seriously, but which plagues our life, WE HAVE A LIFE AND OTHER THINGS GOING ON BESIDES ACADEMICS. And I only have one school aged child. I don't know how other parents do it.
So, Sam came home with a packet that had all the rules and what not to do and a list of projects to avoid (because the judges are sick of those ones... Who cares? Get some new judges, or even better, cancel the science fair.) There was also a list of websites that had project suggestions. Not included in this packet: any dates, dead lines, or any other type of specifics like when the actual fair was or where. Seriously aggravating for this mother who needs it all layed out for her. I'm sure they were telling Sam the dates and what not but he cannot be relied upon to remember and relay this type of information. Especially since he was really concerned that he didn't have a partner. That's all he could say was that he didn't have a partner and he needed one. After a few weeks of waiting for the rest of the info to come home I finally started calling around. Found out that no more info would be coming home and that the Science Fair was in three weeks and the project was due in the day of the Fair. And he didn't need a partner.
We got on one of the Websites with project suggestions and decided on a simple project involving starch and water. Not too complicated. We were going to find four starches and see if they took the same amount of water to become a colloid.Sam came up with his hypothesis. We added some color and took pictures of the experiment, which Sam really loved doing even though he was just using a medicine dropper and dropping water into starch and stirring. Then we got the pictures developed and typed everything for the board up. Then he set everything out in a few different arrangements on the board and eventually taped it all down. Hallelujah! I just had to go to the Fair the next day and we would be done.
 This part was surprisingly fun. I liked seeing him take pride in his project and he was enjoying being with his friends and I liked walking around and looking at the other projects. And what a relief to be done.
 And then Sam's project was one of 13 from his school to go onto the district level science fair... UGG!
So we saved the project for a few weeks and then last night we spent four hours at a high school while his project got judged. It was a long night and again I was feeling relieved to know this was it.
 And then his project advanced to the Regional level and he was invited to participate at the Science Fair at BYU next month... UGG! Again...

 Of course Sam is thrilled. And after sleeping on it, I decided that I am excited for him too, even though this Science Fair ordeal is never ending.

 Sam got a medal, which he loves and he stared at it all through a very late dinner. He commented more than once that it had some weight to it, which I think legitimized it for him. And he got a packet for registering for the next level. And, of course, he wore the medal to school today.


The Yuan Fam said...

Each time you wrote he adanced to another level, I laughed!! I'm with you, who cares about the Science Fair. But after seeing those pictures of a proud Sam, I'm interested to see how my kids feel. Did he get a cash prize?! ;-)

Holley, Dane Brien & Wesley Berry said...

I miss so many things about my boys being school aged, but Science Fair is not one of them. It is a total pain in the patoot. Brien one year advanced all the way to the State on a really simple project about how rockets are launched against gravity. The month of Feb. & March seemed never ending. We choose the simplest project we could and it went all the way to state...I think it was because it was pretty obvious a kid had done most of the work and not a parent. Did you have some really intense projects that no way could have come from a 4th grade kid? Congrats to Sam...he's a science genius...get used to it!

Kathy said...

So awesome!!! That is exciting. Good for you Sam.

Jeanna said...

I happen to know a few things about the BYU science fair, since the school of ed. funds it. Let Sam know there will be a rock climbing wall for contestants to play with while judging is going on.

Can't wait to see you guys on campus!!!

Sandy said...

I can't wait to see you on campus too. This reminds me of girls soft ball. We had a daughter who played city. While we were so happy to go to her games, there is always that nagging feeling, well what if they win the tournament and have to go on. And then we have to travel. Just thinking back.

Becky said...

Hilarious! SO proud of Sam! I wish I could heft his medal! And I wish I could go to the BYU science fair...sounds fun!

Heather said...

Congratulations, Sam!!!!!