Science Fair Projects


Sometimes I wonder about things and I wish I either had the time to look into them, or that I had an assistant to look into them for me. Well, maybe these ideas could become good science fair projects. 

p.s. When I was 10 years old a teacher wanted me to enter the school science fair, "everyone in science class should enter." I didn't know what to do. I couldn't think of anything that was going to be Earth shaking research that I'd be able to do in the six weeks we had. Boy, I was stressed out. I spent several years dodging the whole thing. It wasn't until years later that someone told me the idea in a science fair is to show that you can use the scientific method to examine something; it doesn't have to appear in Scientific American when you're done. Oh.

p.p.s. As long as we're on the subject of elementary school... what about spelling? I got out of my young years without a good mind for spelling. Why? Well, I remember having assigned spelling words each week in elementary school. Each Monday we'd get a list of ten words. Each Friday we'd get tested. The teacher would say the word and we'd have to write it down. I'm a smart kid and I could get 8 out of 10 right without much effort. This went on for years. Then in the six grade I can vividly recall a teacher returning my test with a big "80%" written on the top. Smiling, I said, "thanks" and dropped it in the trash as I walked away. She said, "Jim, what are you doing?"  Huh? What?

"You're supposed to take your test results home and study the ones you missed. You need to be able to spell all these words when you grow up."  My eyes got big and I stood there stunned. No one had ever told me about that before! Crap! Four years of 10 words a week. I was pretty good in math - I was going to suck at spelling for a long time to come. Oh.

The epilog to all this is that since I started using computers (once I got my first job after college) they have spell checkers. I always have my work spell checked. Lots of educators thought that spell checkers would be the end of our ability to spell on our own. Quite the opposite. I find it is competition for me to learn to spell well enough that the computer spell checker in my email client passes my documents without a question. I feel a pang of pride when I click "send" and I don't get a message about "this word is not in my dictionary..."   

Of course spell checkers and other software have introduced a whole raft of phrases that would not have passed by my old human spelling checker in 6th grade without comment.

p.p.p.s. By the way, who stole my foreign coin collection in fourth grade? Come on, fess up!!

p.p.p.p.s. Thanks to all those who encouraged my creative writing ;-)