Maggie Makes Four!

This journal started off documenting the adoption of our youngest daughter. It now follows the twist and turns of our lives as we raise these two amazing little creatures into the best women they can become.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Science Fair

For the first time, we have not one, but two entries in the school's science fair. For La Nina, this was required. All third graders at our school must complete a science fair project. For the Magster, it was optional, but since she must keep up with her sister, I suppose it was a requirement for her too. Both girls worked on the project with partners. Both girls did a great job on their projects. And both teams of girls required a lot of help to make this happen.

First, they had to pick a topic. La Nina greeted every conversation about a topic with a shoulder shrug. We looked online for ideas, we visited a science family night at the school, nothing appealed to her. Then one day, I asked a woman at work for ideas and she had a winner: How does the sugar content of gum affect bubble size? La Nina signed on immediately for the project involving gum chewing. For the Magster, the topic was easy. She and her partner decided seals were cute, harp seals were the cutest and therefore, their project would be about the life cycle of harp seals.

The Magster and her partner set a schedule for their work sessions. They researched one session, they wrote and translated in the next session and in the final session they assembled their board. La Nina and her partner had a plan too: chew gum and blow bubbles. That was it. Thankfully, the other mother focused them and helped them figured out a measurement method. They had a writing session and an assembly session too. And once they got started they were fine. Both teams spent about 8 hours of work on their projects. (This does include breaks for play, though the seal girls required less focusing than the gum girls, but the seal girls had less sugar than the gum girls.)

Here's my thing: There is no way kids can do these sort of projects without serious parental intervention. Trust me, the Magster and her partner far exceeded my expectations of what a couple of second graders to pull off on their own. They did almost all of their own research. The only thing I helped with was avoiding images of the harp seal slaughter- though they did learn all about it. They did all their own writing and most of their translations even the native spanish speaking dad didn't know how to say a few scientific words in Spanish. But how can third graders, ask a question, identify a method, create a hypothesis, record results and draw conclusions without an adult saying "you know, I'm not sure you can conclude more sugar is always better from those results." Yet, the third graders translated every word of their work into Spanish, so they should be proud too. But in the end, who's project was it?

Well, let's just say this: In two minutes of chewing, sugarless gum yields larger bubbles than regular gum and the population of harp seals has rebounded dramatically in the last decade due to governmental restriction on hunting. I swear, those weren't my science projects. But me and the other moms were sure happy when they wrapped up their work.


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