Who’d have thought that a casual conversation over dinner one night in March between T and his dad would turn into not just a science fair experiment one weekend but also into an eligible science fair project entry for our school’s science fair and – even more surprising – a selection for our District’s Science Fair?!
T’s project was entitled, “Measuring Volumes of Rocks and Sands.” It involved a lot of heavy sand, rock, water, pouring, measuring, glass jars, record-keeping, math, time, and, of course, patience. C’s involvement and investment in all tasks were vast. He helped T hands-on with much of the experimentation itself and saw that through from beginning to end. I was there to take pictures for posterity’s (and this blog’s) sake and for the project itself. I also was there to act as scribe and secretary once the report-writing process came along, which took a few weeknights of family meeting time, about a dozen pages of typeface, and a hyper-vigilant adherence to not just the scientific process but also to these guidelines and to the District’s rubric.
Oh, I also was an integral team player in the construction of this beautiful backboard also… not that I’m biased or anything, of course.
Then came time for T to gather everything up and haul it into school for display in the school fair on Monday April 7. I helped there, too. Just for your own reference, doing a science fair project involving rocks and sand can be a heavy undertaking, especially during transport and set-up, so you’ve been forewarned. I am sad I didn’t take more photos of the 60+ projects on display there (the school got about 15-20 percent student participation!), but I did get this one of T in front of his project after setting up.
The next time we heard anything about science fair was at assembly three weeks later. To say I was surprised to hear T’s name called as one of three Kindergarteners (of about 10-15 Kinder projects entered) and as one of 18 overall selected to represent our school at the Long Beach Unified School District’s (LBUSD’s) 19th Annual District Science Fair would be a lie. I was shocked. We parents had no advance warning of who’d been chosen, so this was a true surprise not just for T but for me as well! There are so few true surprises these days, so I relished in it, as did T. I was just sorry C couldn’t be there to see T up front at assembly that morning, but again, I overcame my shock and stepped up as family photographer to capture the moment.
LBUSD’s District Fair was the morning of Saturday May 17. Our school had a great location in the smaller of the two display halls (up front and near the doors for both showing off and for coolest temperatures in the warm weather we were experiencing at the time). We were easy to find and made it easy for the kids to come and go outside as they got restless for waiting their turn for their review period.
There were a TON of organizations and groups who came to help keep the kids entertained. Long Beach State rolled in with their Mobile Science Museum, which set up right outside the doors to our exhibit hall. T and his buddies (mostly other Kinder classmates, either exhibitors themselves or siblings to older students involved) found plenty to keep busy and pass the time.
The other exhibit hall also had a variety of activities for all the kids to see and do, too, including a booth sponsored by Shared Science with LEGO bingo and robotics soccer competitions. T and his friend even got to hold a snake!
All students had plenty of time to look at the other projects on display throughout the fair, too. We also ran into a bunch of T’s friends entered in the fair by their own schools, friends who we’ve known through a variety of ages and stages during our years in Long Beach. It was fun to reconnect with people we’d not seen in a few years through this common interest despite having grown apart as the kids grew up.
Then came time for T to show off his project, but not without a little more waiting and a LOT of patience. The kids all had a window of time they had to be near their project to wait on the reviewers to come through, which meant that someone had to go last. That someone was a Kindergartener, or more specifically, our Kindergartener. Thanks to the couple of others who saw this and approached T during this time to take interest and ask him about his project as he waited for the officials. It helped (trust me).
THEN finally it was T’s turn to talk. As this was a non-judgmental science fair (which seemed so weird to me – if any of my former schoolmates are reading this, wasn’t our district fair a HUGE scholarship opportunity, as in $10000+ prizes if chosen to go onto State and/or National competitions?!), he spoke with a reviewer, not a judge. Her recommendations for T were to try the project with even more materials than the four he used, including smooth or tumbled rocks (oh, the irony!).
The woman who came to meet with T easily spent 15-20 minutes with him asking questions and taking time to discuss various aspects of the report and project’s scientific process. From what C and I saw she spent that much time with the other three students ahead of T as well, and yet not all the reviewers did this, not even close. To say she was thorough and amazing with the kids would not do her justice. Thanks to her for her involvement not just with our child but in this event overall.
C and I couldn’t have been prouder. Watching how confident T was speaking inside of those few minutes with the reviewer and seeing just how much he’d learned by doing this project made the last few weeks of work (and at times, struggle) all the more worthwhile. And he’s already talking about next year’s science fair project, too. Yep, totally worth it.
Congratulations to all of our school’s science fair participants! You rock. 🙂