School Science Fair Project: A Family Affair
It was all over my Facebook feed for weeks. Fellow parents dreading having to drop everything to work on their second grader’s school science fair project. The instructions explicitly said parents could help but this project should really be owned by their child. Lucky for me, my husband immediately took it upon himself to be the designated helper. The day the assignement came home, he quickly worked with Maddie on her proposal and together they went to Staples to gather supplies. I thought I was in the clear. Little did I know then that this project was about to turn into a family affair…
When School Projects Become Family Projects
For her school science experiment, Maddie decided to see what kind of liquid would clean pennies the best: lemon juice, Coca Cola, Vita Coco coconut water, pineapple juice or Polar lime seltzer. In addition to the liquid used, she wanted to determine what method of cleaning would work best: To shake the penny in liquid, to wipe it clean with the liquid or to let it sit overnight in the liquid. Dad stepped in to help collect water bottles and regularly reminded Maddie to bring them home for the experiment. Step one complete.
However, when testing day arrived, Maddie was determined to do this portion of the experiment with mom. And her brother, of course, insisted on participating as well. So together, the three of us ran the tests. Maddie had her way of doing things and her brother had strict instructions about what he was allowed to do and how many tests he could perform. But for the most part, the testing portion was a success. We took a few pictures of the process and called it a day. Step two complete.
Then it was time for next phase – summarizing the results and doing a write up of the purpose, hypothesis, conclusion, along with documentation of the process. Since my son needed me to take him to a birthday party, my husband worked on this phase with Maddie. Step three complete.
Then came the final part of the project. I was left with the time consuming job of helping my daughter lay out all the visual components and attach them to the project boards. It took three nights to do this – we must have printed and re-sized everything a dozen times! We worked on it slowly and thoughtfully. We had a few “discussions” over layout and had to reread the instructions a few times. There may have been a few disagreements during this phase of the project, but overall, we survived. Step four complete.
Yesterday, Maddie had her school science fair. Our whole family attended – even grandma and grandpa! She presented beautifully to other parents and kids and was beaming with pride and happiness over her work and all that she learned during the process. Despite the work this project required from all of us, watching Maddie be so proud was definitely worth it.
And luckily we have two more years before my son has to do this science project!
- Growing Scientists at Bright Horizons: Activities and ideas to encourage scientific curiosity at home
- E-family news: Homework – Making it a Positive Experience for Everyone
- Read more posts about science and posts about school age children from the Family Room bloggers