Wednesday, January 27, 2010
You know what the hardest part about having six kids is (besides cooking for eight, cleaning for eight, laundry for eight, shopping for eight, and noise)? Science fairs.
Our kids start school in July since we have year round school here. Starting around August, we get these giant science fair packets for each child. Each packet has its own rundown of due dates for each component of the project: the big question, hypothesis, research, bibliography, experiment, materials, variables, results, graphs, conclusion, and display board. First off, honestly, how many BIG QUESTIONS do kids have that can be tested? My kids' big questions range from what boogers are made of to how the Holy Trinity works.
For five school years now, we have had the painful task of coming up with good science fair questions. We have had plants listen to classical music. We have had our cats eat those plants before the results were charted. We have had memory tests. Tests on which food makes tortoises gain weight faster. Tests on how much 8th graders know about the dangers of crystal meth. Tests on how much 6th graders know about the dangers of cigarette smoke. Tests on which type of leavening makes the fluffiest chocolate cake. Tests on how our sense of smell determines our ability to guess the correct flavor of a tic tac. Tests on how quickly beans grow if you read them different types of literature. Our cats ate the beans, too.
This year, Ashton tested which brand of diaper holds the most liquid. We started pouring in about 10mL at a time, but those things would NOT leak. Finally we started pouring in about 30mL at a time. They held 900mL in the end! On the DAY BEFORE Ashton's display board was due, he forgot the money to buy one from the school office. I drove the $4 over to him. He bought the board but then forgot to bring it home that afternoon. Unbelievable! We bought another one, finished it up, and turned it in yesterday. So ends the 2009-2010 science fair season.