Sunday, April 20, 2008

The Experiment

Hypothesis: Stimey will be able to help Sam successfully participate in the school science fair.

Preparation: (1) Ask Sam if he wants to participate in the fair, which is optional for kindergartners. (2) Wrack brain for ideas of a kindergarten-age appropriate science fair project. (3) Suggest dropping objects into water to see if heavier things sink faster. (4) Get Sam's approval. (5) Remember that this is more complicated than it seems because you have forgotten all about density and how that affects the rate at which things sink.

Process: (1) Fill out science fair form and turn it in by March 20. (2) Do nothing until April 20, when you find the science fair packet under a pile of other papers and realize that you needed to send a form in by March 20. (3) Send a panicky email to the teacher. (4) Prepare Sam for the possibility that the "science fair" may be a one-person exhibit the next time Nana comes to visit. (5) Conduct experiment.

Challenge: Find rock-sized items that will actually sink. Apples? No. Oranges? No. Egg? Yes! Metal James train? Yes! (Console smallest child, who is upset that James is involved in this endeavor. "Don't worry, Quinn. James is furthering the cause of science now.") Alex's watch? Yes. (Note: this was the object that screwed us on the simple heavy vs. light hypothesis and forced us to learn about density. Thanks a lot, Alex's watch.) Lime? Surprisingly, yes.

Challenge: Find a see-through container tall enough to be able to tell which object hits the bottom first. Remember your wrapping paper bin. Congratulate yourself on having such an item. Learn that Sam's arms are shorter than a wrapping paper bin.

Challenge: Other kids want to participate because throwing rocks in buckets of water in the house doesn't happen much around here. Unsuccessfully try to hold them back. Assure Quinn that James will be okay after his dunking.

Challenge: Stimey has to tamp down her control freak tendencies and just let Sam do his own thing, even if that means he is going to write words in a downward direction rather than straight across. Even if that means Sam is going to cross out letters he wrote wrong. Even if Stimey's handwriting is so much better than Sam's.

Challenge: Sam wants to sound out the words as he's writing them in Sharpie on his display board. Jeez, Sam, I know "light" is a hard word to spell, that's why I wrote it out for you. Copy what I wrote! Don't write "lite" and then look up at me! Don't think independently! Aaaaaaaaahhhh!

Challenge: Sam's writing is semi-illegible. Glue a translation to the back.

Result: A very proud six-year-old.

Conclusion: Stimey can successfully help Sam prepare a science fair project. Whether he actually gets to enter it at school remains to be seen. Stimey is totally going to rock the free world next year when the science fair rolls around.

Legacy: Look! The younger generation is learning from our hard work! Nobel Prize, here we come!

The Scientist:


  1. Oh Stimey, this is SO funny. I howled reading it, what a terrific job you (all) ended up doing :)

  2. Okay, I am TOTALLY impressed. When can we come view the work of art I mean science?

  3. Handwriting looks gorgeous to me. Good job, Sam! (and great job, Stimey!)

  4. Very inspiring - and such cute kids! I dread, and I mean DREAD having to do this sort of thing in a few years.

  5. Wow, I'm impressed! Really impressed. If I am ever forced to do a science project with my 2nd grader, it might be "What object makes the biggest bruises when hurled at mommy?" We can manage baking cookies, but that doesn't entail writing. Writing is the devil at our house!

  6. I am VERY impressed. I tend to toss those sign up sheets in the trash and hope that no one (most of all, my son) notices...

  7. Congratulations, Sam. And Stimey. And, it appears, the rest of the family. A job well done. I can hardly wait to see this. YM

  8. That is SO terrific! And good for you letting him do the writing and everything himself. I'm afraid half the displays at science fairs and the like are actually done by parents.

    I love the whole "working together" aspect of it, I absolutely know neither one of my parents ever worked on anything with me!

  9. Stimey, I am so impressed! I would have completely given in to lethargy and the(obvious) universal decree of non-participation as evidenced by the hide-n-seek entrance form.

    Plus, nice display board. Way to go Young Mr. Scientist!!!

  10. What a great accomplishment! I love the handwrittings!

  11. Wow! Good for you. I'm impressed by the handwriting too. You guys did a great job. Science fair for kindergarten...c'mon, it's crazy what they expect from kids these days, huh?

  12. That's great. My six year old is currently in the throes of her second book report (with diorama) and trying to wait until the last moment. The first one I had to step back and remind myself not to try and do it for her.

  13. We did science fair with our kindergartener. They had some sort of meeting at school where someone else helped them pick a topic and design an experiment. He chose finding out who breathes more, adults or kids and we had to have a bunch of people come breathe through a straw into a plastic bottle full of water inverted over a bowl of water, and then measure the amount of water displaced. Can you say mess? Like you I had to bite my tongue, cheek, fingers, and other parts to make myself let him do it himself.

    I think you guys did a GREAT job. I hope he gets to show it at school.

  14. I didn't even like doing my own science fair projects! I'm not really looking forward to doing them for, I mean, with my boy next year.

    Good for you for getting the whole family involved! It looks like you all had a lot of fun.


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