Friday, February 26, 2010

Science isn't always fair -- 2010 Science Fair

I have always hated science. I think this stemmed back to junior high when I had the baseball coach for my science teacher, then in high school it was the football coach for biology and another baseball coach for chemistry, etc. Whatever. I think coaches shouldn't be allowed to teach real subjects where kids are being ruined for life. With that said, science fair is mandatory in third grade. And I happen to have a daughter who loves, loves, loves geology (a clear arm of the science monster). So, our (note it's "our" project, not her) science fair project tested the density of the three rock types--igneous, metamorphic, and sedimentary. It was fine. I did what I had to do so she would have an entry to the science fair but I'll be honest here, this is a ton of work--and just as much for the parents as for the kids--and I hated every minute of it. I personally think kids shouldn't be required to enter the science fair until they can do all the work themselves (including putting the poster together) but this is definitely no perfect world. So there I was--thrust back in to the ridiculous world of science.

Yesterday was the science fair. I went to her classroom. It was fine. Bianca was really proud of her project. It did turn out nice (definitely up my budding geologist Bianca's alley). When I went to pick her up from school and asked about it, she burst into tears. "The judges didn't look at mine." They looked up and down the classroom but didn't stop at the last row. It seems absurd. A hard-hit baseball flies out of bounds into the parking lot, a Hail Mary pass hits the goal post at my metaphorical football game (this is where science takes me now, thanks to my coaches--I mean, science teachers). Maybe it happened this way, maybe not, but what can I do?

I tell her you do the best you can do; you can't always win. She understands. A little. Still, it was a lot of work. Then I pointed out how she wins a lot of things--she was the only student at Riverton Elementary this year to go on to the district level in Reflections in two categories--music composition and literature; she made it into the city of Herriman's talent show this year playing the piano; she's been selected as "Talented Young Writer" two years in a row. She wins at a lot of things, but you can't win at everything. I've read a lot of blogs lately on being gracious at not winning. Maybe these were preparing me. Because her losses really do feel like my own, especially when I put so much of my own time and effort into it. Really, in third grade, isn't the science fair a contest between the parents?

This morning, optimistic Bianca said maybe they'll realize the mistake. I shook my head, "Let the ball lie; don't think about the science fair anymore." So here she is, my Bianca, my very own gracious unwinner!



rachel said...

OH, I am SO sorry! It really did look incredible and I like how you displayed the rocks like that. I know it must have been so disappointing. I'm sure if they had looked at it, she would have won! I think you are right. I think her all her wins will be just that must sweeter after this.

I didn't realize how sporty all your science teachers were.:) Your advice to "let the ball lie" in regards to this was so clever. Have I mentioned you are a natural at this whole writing thing??

Amber Gardiner said...

gracious-unwinners are my favorite kind of kids!

Christie Gardiner said...

I'm sorry. We had a similar experience lately. It's so hard to watch your child suffer like that! She's so lucky to have such a wonderful mom to help her through.