Sunday, March 16, 2008

Pushy Science Fair Mother

My boy finished his science project today for Thursday's Science Fair. Job well done. Except that he had forgotten to take pictures of the actual experiment on the day it was done, what with HH running off in a fit of peevishness, and the partner being an hour late, and the boys doing their task without supervision. Yeah. That was HH's deal, not mine. Anyhoo, once their experiment was completed, they did not save their materials to display at the Science Fair, but instead drank some, exploded some, and shot some.

Perhaps I should clarify...the project was about cooling Pepsi with ice, ice water, and ice saltwater. I have no idea what possessed them to destroy 36 Pepsis. Not that I actually care, because I'm a Coke kind of gal. But it is just wasteful. My idea was for #1 to use Mountain Dew, because it is the kids' drink of choice. He said, "No, actually, just as many of us drink Pepsi." Then he declared that he would not drink the leftover Pepsi, because it is in cans, and he only likes the Pepsi in plastic bottles, even though he freely admitted to drinking one of the experimental Pepsis.

So these boys being boys tossed some of the supercooled sodas into the air, and were amazed when they exploded on contact with the hard, hard frozen ground. I suppose they have never dropped a can of soda and seen it explode. Then they came for the BB guns, which did not bother me to let them shoot, because #1 is an OCD safety fanatic, and I figure what's good enough for my son is good enough for the son of a lady who brings him an hour late for a scheduled science project date where three bags of melting ice are at stake.

The bottom line is that I had to buy one more 12-pack of Pepsi (I refused to get 3 more) and three more bags of ice and three more coolers so he could recreate the set-up and get pictures for his display. Thank the Gummi Mary that those Devil's Playground coolers were only $1.46 apiece. And the boy had strict orders to save the sodas and HE WILL DRINK THEM, by cracky, and leave the Cokes for me. After looking at his display, I'm glad I got the re-creation stuff, because those pictures really add to his project. Maybe tomorrow, he will get me a picture of the display so I can post it. After carefully blocking out the kids' names, of course.

The #1 son is hoping for a repeat win this year. I'm sure I told you how he and his partner won the Middle School Physics category last year, when they were only in 6th grade. Because what else is a blog for, except to brag about your children and criticize your husband? They should at least place 1, 2 , or 3 this year. It looks really good. He does not always take my advice, but he DID listen when I made him get out the Science Fair brochure, and include everything that was listed under what the judges look for. I only proofread one item for him this year (at his request--I am not a pushy 'fair mother'). He did not arrange things in the logical order I would have hoped for, but it's HIS project. Well, his and his partner's, though the partner had nothing to do with the writing up and display again this year. I don't know why that boy can't stand on his own two feet and do it alone. He'd win twice the prize money, but that doesn't even sway him. "I am NOT going to sit out there all day and be bored by myself. I need Partner there to be bored with me." Whatever.

Oh, and since we're not in school that day, I will take him to the college, and meet my own students who are entering. Last night, my boy dared to ask, "Can we meet Partner somewhere and take him with us? We both have to sign in to get our display number. What if he is late?" GRRRR! That's EXACTLY why we're not meeting him somewhere. I am not going to be late meeting my own students just because his mom wants to bring Partner an hour late. I told my boy he can carry the stuff in and sit in the bleachers to wait for Partner. I'm not catering to him.

Because that's how I roll.


DPA said...

I hated the fact that some of my kids decided to use partners during the Reading Fair, because I know that there's always one diligent reader and one parasite of a partner who's just along for the free A. I was so opposed to the idea (as well as the idea of having to make special accomodations for partners in different classes to work together at school, because our kids have to be provided time and materials to do everything AT school) that I forbade them to have partners, but a few defied me and did it anyway. They're good at that.

One couple, which was made up of 1 of MY students and 1 of the crazy teacher's students, won 2nd place. I'm proud to say that MY student was the diligent reader in this case, and the parasite partner was the crazy lady's.

Anyway it felt pretty good to FINALLY FINALLY FINALLY THANK YOU DEAR GOD FINALLY have one of my students achieve something, so maybe next year I'll let them have partners.

Sorry for hijacking. I will be anxious to see this comment appear. Your comment box has been quite the Bermuda Rectangle lately.

Hillbilly Mom said...

Speaking of Bermuda, my comments on your blog have been disappearing faster than a rock-chucking Bigfoot on a hot Oklahoma night. I get them all typed up, and hit 'Publish Your Comment', and they disappear into thin air, while the insolent BloggerBox says 'Done'. Sometimes I type them over, but if they were long, I just say, "Meh," and forgetaboutit.

This partnering has got to stop. I admit that I'm as guilty as the next teacher in thinking 'Hmm...half as many to grade.' But I do wish kids would learn to stand on their own two feet and take freakin' responsibility instead of glomming onto someone else's work. Again, I'm not part of the solution, but part of the problem.

I only have 3 partner groups who have done the work EQUALLY. But everybody knows who did the actual work for the others. One kid even fired her partner. She said, "I've done all the work. I want this to be MY project. You can do your own." Which shocked the girl who was perfectly capable but had been sitting, reading her library book for two days, while the other did the project.