All’s a flutter at my son’s school. Teachers and students are scurrying around like plywood store customers before a hurricane. It’s time for the Annual Science UnFair.
Educational authorities across this planet will tell your child that a Science UnFair project is judged on the basis of applied proficiency of detail and presentation of concrete facts. This explanation, in purely scientific terms, is “not true.”
Your child’s project will not win a prize unless it incorporates dazzling glitter, wildly colored typefaces and lots of theatrical-quality props and special effects. Leave out the dancing soap boxes and he/she has about as much chance of winning as white bread being added to the Atkins diet.
You, the dutiful parent, will attend the Annual Science UnFair, and watch other adults drool over 11-year-old Tommy Hernandez’s five-foot, fiber-optic rocket ship. Tommy’s father, a former astronaut and his mother, a NYC freelance window dresser, will maintain with straight faces that they did not help build this rocket ship.
Your child’s project, Do Rocks Need Sunshine? will be relegated to the janitor’s closet since mounds of dirt don’t require florescent lights.
Hang in there, parents! You are teaching your children a valuable lesson by NOT helping them with their Science UnFair project. Even if it kills you. You are showing your child that their work represents the result of their OWN lame and pathetic abilities, and not YOUR lame and pathetic abilities!
My son’s final project will be a surprise to me, because I chose the noble path and actually didn’t help at all. He and his partner started their scientific experimentation session by expressing big guffaws over carbonation overflows in large Coke floats. They spent half an hour doing serious MSN chat “research” followed by 15 minutes of testing gathered water samples, then finished by writing up the results on the computer for 20 minutes, while listening to very loud alternative-rock music.
I’m still guessing at their project’s title and assume it may be called, At What Decibel Does Polluted Tap Water Vibrate?
I spoke to my friend, Lee Whitman, earlier in the day. She also did not help her son, Peter, on his Science Unfair project which will also be on display tonight. Peter caught three, non-poisonous Pygmy boa snakes to see which glass, aquarium habitat the snakes liked best.
“Dot” and “Slithers,” Test Snakes #1 and #2, managed a jailbreak and enjoyed an afternoon of fun and games in the Whitman pool before being spotted. “Pee-Wee,” Test Snake #3, decided he actually preferred the Whitman’s bathroom as his favorite habitat, which was a surprise to them all, especially Lee’s husband, Matt, who discovered Pee-Wee coiled around his toilet bowl base at 6 a.m.
Selling wine to adults is a new trend, ostensibly to raise money for more science apparatus our children can break. The wine may help when we are forced to witness Tommy Hernandez’s first place glow-in-the dark rendition of the solar system playing The Sun Will Come Out when you push on Neptune.
In any case, there are five important lessons parents can learn from the Annual Science UnFair:
1. Overall -– This could prove an unpleasant experience, not unlike your annual Pap smear, but less invasive than a colonoscopy.
2. Hypothesis -– If there is one project that is totally unsuitable in relation to your child’s capabilities, he/she will enthusiastically choose it as their topic.
3. Research -– The internet contains all sorts of information that may have nothing whatsoever to do with your child’s project but will look great when plagiarized and stapled onto a three-panel presentation board, surrounded by glitter.
4. The Experiment -– Regardless of the hypothesis or actual topic, your child will find a way to spill Pepto Bismol-colored paint on your back porch, scratch up your dining room table with scissors, clog up your kitchen sink and leave piles of that impossible-to-clean reddish dirt on your new carpet
5. The Conclusion -– We are really glad that this thing is over until next year. Gives us plenty of time to shop for more glitter.