One of the many things I love about my son’s school is the Science Fair. Everyone – from kindergarten to fifth grade – is required to participate. While K-3 graders do an in-class project, the fourth and fifth graders have to complete their own project. On their own. Supposedly without parental assistance. As we walked through the auditorium last week, I said more that once “You did this ALL ON YOUR OWN?”
I don’t believe it for a second.
I remember my three science fairs in fourth, fifth, and sixth grade at Encinal Elementary in Morgan Hill. In fourth, we did a class project to see which liquid would grow the biggest plants. Turns out milk and soda just kill the plant. In fifth grade, okay – I don’t remember my fifth grade science fair project. In sixth grade, I remember springing the Science Fair on my mom the night before it was due. We stayed up hours past my bedtime testing the acidity of all sorts of household products (my mom was in nursing school at the time and had all the materials handy). When my eyes wouldn’t stay open, my mom finished the project for me – typing it up on our giant IBM computer and printing it out on our DOS printer. She even glued it all to the poster board for me. When I woke up, I had a gorgeous project to turn in. I got Third Place in the Science Fair that year. So I know a little about parent participation. Heck, I benefited from it.
The girl with the fancy powerpoint presentation? Her parents helped.
The boy who used expensive farming equipment? His parent helped.
But my absolute favortie was the girl with the project about what keeps guacamole freshest. Whether or no her parents helped, I’m sure that her dad loved trying that one. Especially if it came with a Corona.