If it’s Spring it must be science fair season

Posted on March 22nd, 2010

Spring has sprung, the grass has riz, I wonder where Junior’s science fair project is.

Woo-hoo, it’s spring. Yes, I know most people are admiring fresh blooms, mowing lawns and listening to the birds sing. And me? Well, I’m a parent. So that means I am celebrating the official end of the Science Fair Project from Hell.

If you have a child in school, you are no doubt familiar with the dreaded science fair project. Parents all over the country tremble in fear whenever it’s mentioned. Oh, it always starts with good intentions. Sometime in November or so, the teachers start peppering students with contracts and forms and ideas for projects.

And your little Sally or Sam comes home from school excited and happy. After all, science fair projects are just great big bundles of fun! Yeah, no. They aren’t. In fact, they are actually an instrument of torture designed by teachers to get revenge on parents for not teaching their little darlings manners before sending them off to school. Although you know, I could be wrong. But just in case, I would like my son’s science teacher to know that I did try to teach him manners. I’ve even seen him use them once or twice.

Anyway, as I said, the kids come home bursting with ideas for the Best Science Fair Project Ever. Most involve the use of radioactive materials, a few James Bond-like gadgets, quality time at Lawrence-Livermore Labs or the topic title: “Broccoli, the Silent Killer.” I once spoke to a mom whose child seriously wanted to do a project called “How long will my smellies smell if I seal them in jars.” Yeah. Science fairs are THAT fun.

Of course, once Sally or Sam has finished arguing with the parents on a topic, the teacher has to approve it. Look, let’s be honest. Some parents just give up trying to convince their children to do something normal. And that is why the teachers listen in growing horror to little Sally or Sam as they propose sending an animal into space on a rocket borrowed from NASA and then say, “Yes, Mrs. Science Teacher, my parents think this is a great idea.”

And then the parents have to write an email explaining that basically Sally/Sam has stopped listening to them and they’re leaving it to the teacher to tell Sally/Sam that NASA has a policy against renting the space shuttle to 12 year olds. And the parents usually add a PS begging the teacher to suggest a more realistic project like freezing salt water or watching plants grow. You know, something a parent can handle.

After the emails have flown and the project is approved, the actual experiment can begin. This is where the science fair project escalates from annoying to truly the project from hell. You see, little Sally or Sam will have specific ideas on carrying out that experiment. Usually these ideas involve the most complex way ever designed to measure how fast salt water freezes. In fact, Sally or Sam will insist on new freezers, fancy salt that costs approximately $5,000 per ounce and fresh water gathered at dawn from a rushing river and stored in non-reactive buckets.

And trust me, you don’t want to know how complicated the whole plant growing thing can get. I mean, it’s a science fair project, for pete’s sake. Sally and Sam don’t want to just throw some plants in a pot full of dirt. Where’s the fun in that?

During the actual freezing, measuring and growing, the parents will take many, many pictures. And those pictures will be lost, thus ensuring that the night before the project is to be turned in there will be a photo session in the kitchen requiring elaborate costume changes and extensive use of Photoshop so that nobody knows that Sally/Sam’s parents are idiot parents who lost every single picture of the science experiment.

And finally, the day of reckoning will come. Sally and Sam will drag their science fair boards to school. They will present them to the class, who will take notes on the presentations that say helpful things like, “science sucks” or “plants grow.”

And the parents will know it is truly spring. Because there aren’t any more plants being killed in the backyard and the new freezer is no longer full of salt water. And NASA isn’t sending people to your house to find out why you haven’t returned their space shuttle.

Laurie’s note: Yes, this is a repeat. But enjoy this “Manic Monday” complete with repeat performances of my writing ;)

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9 Responses to “If it’s Spring it must be science fair season”

  1. pixielation Says:

    This is a concept that is totally alien to me! I’ve seen it in movies (er, well – in Meet the Robinsons, anyway!) but never in real life! I think maybe I am glad we are spared that nightmare!

  2. Laurie Says:

    You are so lucky! The Science Fair is really months of horror! Lat year Junior did plants. But could he just grow them? No. They had to be exposed to different lengths of sunlight. He had graphs. He had charts. And at the end, the plants died. It was horrible.

  3. ninja 650 lady Says:

    Madness takes its toll. Please have exact change.

    Sent from my Android phone

  4. Melissa Avery Says:

    I’m still mad at a judge from my 5th grade Science Fair who wanted me to prove the starch I had squeezed from a grated potato was starch! Grrrrr….

  5. Laurie Says:

    Melissa, really? WTH else would it have been? What a crazy judge!

  6. Tanya Ernster Says:

    Good blog!

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