Friday, March 7, 2014

Science Fair: The Conclusion

I wrote last week about my daughter's science fair experiment. About what a monumental hassle it was. About how the results completely defied scientific research out there. About how science-disabled the females in our household are.

And then, lo and behold . . . she won her age division at the science fair yesterday. Holy smokes.
Now, I have to be honest, I did wonder if she had a chance at some kind of recognition. Even though her results seemed to be completely bogus (really, how did drinking water cause her heart rate to increase? At all three trials!), she was pretty darn meticulous about the whole thing.
And she certainly understands the scientific process, especially “variables”. Variables have been the bane of her existence for the past month. “I can't sleep later in the morning – that would be a variable.” “I can't eat more for breakfast – that would be a variable.” “Don't make me laugh so hard! I just drank the stupid coffee – and laughing could be a variable!”
With all her obsessive efforts at controlling variables, it is amazing how wonky her results were. Her ultimate conclusion from the whole experience was that humanity is just one big, stinkin', ridiculous variable. Next year, she'll study rocks.
Anyway, as I said, I did wonder if she might not get some kind of recognition for the quality of her work. I especially wondered that when I heard how behind so many other kids were on getting their projects done at all. Many had not even begun their experiments before last weekend. One kid in particular didn't start until the day before the fair, my daughter heard.
And this is where my left-brained, controlling, structured, organized self has to keep my ego in check. When my daughter was excitedly wagging her blue ribbon in my face yesterday afternoon, my first thought was, “It's because she didn't wait until the last minute. It's because she kept up with all the teacher's deadlines all along in the process, so her final product was complete and thorough, not rushed and sloppy. Being organized and planning ahead really does make a difference.”
I still think that. But that kid who started the day before? He went home with a 3rd place ribbon. As if he were thumbing his nose at me and my organized planning.
C'est la vie. We all find our own paths. The crucial point here is: MY daughter has a blue ribbon from a science fair. Alert the media.

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