Science Fair musings

This week I was listening to a sermon on CD that a friend lent to me, and the opening anecdote had something to do with science fairs. The pastor said that, instead of fundraisers like candy bars, the school should just offer to let the parents pay $45 not to create a science fair project, and millions would be raised.

I came home and asked Mike if he had ever done a science fair project. He said he remembered his brother’s project – the traditional vinegar-and-baking-soda volcano, and that he was pretty sure that he made one that had something to do with the solar system. I remember Joseph and Dad working on his projects (although I can’t remember what any of them were). I remember projects in The Baby-Sitters Club books (seeing how classical music affects plants). But I never made a science fair project.

I can’t figure out how this happened. Aren’t they usually required? I have a couple of theories. One is that, in the 5th grade, I was in a 5/6 combination class, so I got to change classes like the 6th graders, and I might have missed out on traditional things like the Science Fair. The other theory is that, during my middle school years, my school was torn down (it was a K-8 school that my grandparents had gone to, so it was very old) and we were in trailers for much of the time. Maybe they didn’t do a Science Fair since we didn’t have an auditorium, just a gym. (I’m pretty sure that second one isn’t true, because I have a vague memory of Joseph’s projects being set up in that very gym.)

Both of those theories sound like junk to me, but it’s all I can think of. And it’s not as if I just forgot. I honestly never made one. I remember my enormous project on the USSR that I got 100 on, and that my teacher requested I bring back the next year, after the Soviet Union had split up. I remember the math project on base 4. I remember Joseph’s project on Georgia, where Mom took an orange Nerf ball and put a long stitch into one side of it to create a peach. I remember Joseph’s Pinewood Derby cars, and those Saturdays spent at the Fire Department watching him race them. They always seemed to fall on a Saturday when there was a big basketball game, and I would hang out with the men who kept sneaking outside to check the score on the radio. I remember projets on the Incas, and on North Carolina, and on Farmer McBroom. And all of those were before high school.

Anyway, if I were to do a project, I have always been interested to see how that Baby-Sitters Club thing really did work, and to play classical music for plants. Not very original, I know. But it’s the closest I ever got to the Science Fair. So, tell me about your Science Fair experiences. I want to hear about what you did, and what prizes you won, and that time you had to set your project that you were a little embarassed about next to the kid who is probably well on his way to winning the Nobel Prize.

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