Monday, June 9, 2014

Getting our STEM on with the Science Fair

Catching up on some of our highlights over the past few months, both boys did projects for the school's science fair.

All 4th and 5th graders have to do a science fair project, but for Ryan it was optional. We had Alex do one for 3rd grade and thought it was good practice for when its graded, so we encouraged Ryan to try it out while in 2nd grade. Ryan got the idea for his project from a waiter at I-HOP, who brought him a glass of dancing chocolate chips one Sunday morning.

Alex went with building a trebuchet, and measuring the distances it threw different weighted objects.

Carl took the lead on these projects, and helped with most of the board setup. My contribution was to insist he bring the trebuchet with his project for entry, because I thought it was a great visual. Carl thought it was too big, and Alex was concerned it was a "weapon" that could get him suspended from school. One quick stop at the principal's office on turn-in morning, and the trebuchet was the perfect accessoryfor his presentation.

We were very pleased for Alex that he won a coveted blue ribbon for his project.

The only problem was that well over half of all fourth graders had blue ribbons hanging on their boards, but only six fourth graders (out of 125) would be chosen to go on to regionals. And guess what? We had the sought-after pink certificate! You can say what you want, but I am utterly convinced Alex's prop is what won him that pink paper. Only two other kids had any kind of prop attached to their project, so I like to think it was my clever insistence on lugging that piece of wood that helped get (us) into regionals.

Alex and the selected 4th graders moving on. While I was happy for my son, I was more than a little disappointed no girls made the cut. Come on, Spicewood - move into the 21st century.

Fast-forward a month, and we were at the Regionals Science Fair.

We were all thrilled for Alex and his great accomplishment.

Especially when we arrived and found THIS! A blue ribbon at regionals!

It was very exciting, but then you relaize that there are literally hundreds, if not thousands of kids all around Austin also getting the same recognition. And that for his age group, this was the end of the line. There is no state, no nationals. His fame and glory was a certificate that wasn't even personalized with his name on it.

We had to wait about two hours into the awards ceremony for his name to be called, and they weren't even close to being finished when we took the stage. Do I sound bitter and unappreciative? Possibly. I hid it well from my beloved child, but oh my god... the science fair effort was not all it was cracked up to be in my book.

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