“When is your science fair?” I asked the Boy one cool evening not long ago.
“I don’t know…” he responds.
Ooops. Hope it isn’t tomorrow, because we aren’t ready.
The Boy is a self proclaimed nerd, and loves science. He is memorizing the periodic table of elements (hint, if he asks you if you want to hear him say the first 37 elements, insist that he sing them. He’ll blush, but he’ll do it!)
He loves weather, and nature, and dinosaurs, and is getting into chemistry, and so there is a lot of pressure to have a really amazing science fair project. Pressure from his peers, but also from himself.
The problem is, we are pretty bad about follow through around here…
We brainstorm, and come up with things…then we get distracted by something shiny.
It turned out that the Science fair was a few weeks away, so we had time to follow through.
So, the decision for this year was to examine the life growing in the jar of pond water we collected last summer . The 1 quart jar has been in his west-facing window, growing algae and stuff.
When we first collected the samples, we didn’t intend to make it a science fair project. I had read about the project in a garden book, and when I told the Boy about it, he thought it was a neat idea, and nagged me about it until I got a jar, and went with him to the park.
This made the “research question” portion of the science packet problematic… we couldn’t just say the question was: “wouldn’t it be cool if we had a jar with pond water…?”
So, the research question became: “Can an ecosystem be formed by mixing materials from different sources?”
We took a video of the little critters that are swimming around, and looked at them with our thrift store microscope. With help from the interwebs, he determined that they were daphnia.
The science fair was a success- there was the usual supply of baking soda volcanoes, and several decomposition displays. The Boy was the only one to have a jar of tiny critters with a water cycle. Our school fair is non-competitive- just an exhibition, not a competition.
Now we have to think about next year.