Saturday, January 31, 2009

The Misadventures of The Science Fair Project

In December (?) Ben brings home paper for science fair project. Ben must turn in idea for science fair project by Jan. 9th. Mom encourages Ben to think of idea and turn in ASAP. Ben looks at his mother askance. He would never consider turning in anything before it was actually due.

Ben decides to do an experiment on what will sink and float. Mom reminds Ben that he is no longer in kindergarten and must think of a science experiment that is more in keeping with being in fourth grade. Ben is stumped.

Knowing that Ben loves cars and has learned how to measure angles in math this year, mom suggests some type of experiment where Ben will measure the difference in how long it takes a toy car to go a certain distance and whether or not the angle of the track affects the time it takes. Mom wonders aloud if the greater the angle will always make the car go faster. Ben likes the idea and quickly writes down project idea for teacher approval. This is done one week before due date. Ben refuses to turn in paper early.

Ben takes paper to school on Jan. 9th. Mom discovers paper on Jan.13th in Ben's assignment folder and asks him if his teacher has approved the experiment. Ben looks confused. Mom determines that Ben has forgotten to turn in paper to teacher. Ben loses computer time and promises to turn in paper the next day. Ben remembers with help from a note from Mom and gets approval.

Four days before project is due, Ben remembers he needs to work on his science fair project.
First he takes a picture of the cool car he will use in his experiment. He bought it in NYC.
With help from Dad, Ben measures the angle of his ramp. He starts at 5 degrees and increases each run by 5 degrees. Note $10.00 protractor. Okay, the protractor was only $2.99 if purchased alone, but Mom decides to get the kit with a calculator, compass, other rulers and a handy carrying bag for $10.00.
Now Ben waits for the signal to let go of the car.Here is mom with her cell phone. Note that it has a stop watch. Mom does not notice this until after she spends $10.00 on a stop watch at Target. The very same day she is waiting for her children to get off the bus (it was a single digit day and Kate was sick) in her warm van and decides to play with her phone. She discovers the stop watch. Mom goes back to Target the next day, returns $10.00 stop watch and buys $80.00 of other stuff.

Experiment commences. Kate starts to fuss. Claire continues to run into track. Mom is about to lose her mind. All decide track is too short. Ben is sent to look for more track.
While looking for more track, Ben loses his car. At this point it's 5:30 and mom needs to start dinner. She sends Ben to find the lost car or at least get another car. Mom starts the pasta and bbq beans on the stove. Gets hamburgers ready to broil in the oven. Gives Kate a graham cracker to keep her happy. Ben is no where to be found. Ben has forgotten we are working on his science fair experiment. Mom pounds her head against the wall.
Ben gets another car and a picture is taken for science fair portfolio. Extra pieces of track are added and experiment recommences. Claire jumps on track. Kate loses graham cracker and begins to fuss. Pasta water begins to boil and beans are bubbling. Mom picks up Kate, pours in pasta and turns down beans. Ready, set, GO! Unfortunately everyone else says GO!, but mom. Mom is the one holding the stop watch. Mom threatens anyone who even thinks of saying GO! other than her. Room is once again quiet.

Mom says GO! Ben lets go of car. Mom starts stop watch. Mom stops stop watch. No she doesn't. Mom hits internet browser button on phone. Ben must repeat the run. Pasta is starting to bubble over, mom turns down stove. Everyone starts again. Mom hits the wrong button again. Will this ever end?

Soon all runs are completed and recorded. Dinner is ready. Mom is looking forward to working on Science Fair portfolio with Ben tomorrow. Or maybe not.


Mary said...

Too funny! Makes me glad our science fair is OPTIONAL.

Paul said...

This is a great story, Micki. Katherine left doing her poster to the last possible day, but at least the data was done before. I now know how fortunate I should be for that. BTW, any chance I could still return the $10 stopwatch I bought at Kmart for last year's science fair? Guess not. Hang in there.