Tuesday, April 3, 2012

My #@$%! 5th Grade Science Fair Project

Last night at ten p.m.,
after declaring 3 months ago,
that I
and in no freakin' way
do it on the night before it was due
I finished my 5th grader's Science project.

I dread Science Fair projects.
It is really more a contest for the parents of 5th graders,
than for the actual students.
And I know this,
because having lived in this school district for a decade,
and watching what the other kids bring in on the day of the
Big Reveal--
there is no stinkin' way that a kid can do what their parents
try to pass off as a "student-led" project.

Not in this military/engineering town.

When the teacher sends home the packets in the Fall,
I cringe. I nearly cry.
"When am I going to have time to do this?" I wonder.
Then, I lay down the law to the 5th grader:
You have 12 weeks to do this.
I. Am. NOT. Doing. It. For. You. 
 Do you understand me? 
 Nod your head if you understand me. 
 This will be YOUR project.
 I don't care what you choose,
it can be anything at all-- 
 but I am not, do you hear me-- 
 NOT staying up late the night before it's due to finish it! 

So for the next 12 weeks,
I have a dark ominous cloud over my shoulder,
a haunting whisper, if you will--
"science fair...don't forget the science fair..."

I try to be upbeat at first--
"So what do you think you'll want to do?" I ask the 5th grader.
"Let's find something fun."
and by Week two it's turned into:
"You need to pick something!"
By Week three:
"Pick something, dang it!"
Finally, the experiment is chosen,
A list of needed items is presented--
until I finally remember them
on my next trip to Wally World.

I get Dad involved,
because his "engineering skills can help the charting go smoother."
My husband loves making charts on Excell...it makes him happy.
And me happy, because I'm the
Designer of the Display,
not the Data Organizer.
And the 5th grader happy because, hey, the faster we get this done,
the quicker she can go play, right?

All thru Spring Break,
the dark whisperer was there:
"Don't forget about Science Fair...it's due soon."
I corner the 5th grader in the kitchen a few times
and say,
"How's your Science Fair project coming?"
"Good. I'm almost done. Just have to get the poster board and make the poster!"
I am relieved.
Stupidly, ignorantly, relieved.

Duhhh. If the poster isn't finished, it's because I  haven't finished it.

Yesterday was the first day back to school after Spring Break--
as we pulled up to the school,
we notice lots of poster boards and accessories  being lugged around by kids
and their hard-working parents.
It's due today?!
I give Ari my best hairy-eyeball-look:
"Guess what we're doing afterschool today?"
Only, it was a Birthday night for Daisie,
so we had to wait until that was over,
before we could begin assembling the Display.

We pull out the markers, the stickers,
the pens and rulers.
We decide to go easy and just get all the writing parts done
on the computer,
print them out,
and after looking for a stinkin' glue stick for 10 minutes,
go with Elmer's glue that has to be coaxed out of it's sticky bottle
using the force of Zeus aka "Momza's determined might to get this done!".
Everything is finished, 
except one more thing.
*here's the poster w/o the pics

We'd taken pictures of Ari's experiment--
training our stubborn black labrador retriever to do things
she should've already been taught as a puppy,
but hasn't--
and when I go to print them out,
our printer's lights start blinking,
because, hey, we're outta colored ink!
So, next bright idea comes--
I'll just send them to Walmart's photo shop, and pick them up within the hour--
I look at the clock--7:58pm.
Still got time.
Okay, let's do that.
Uploaded the pictures, Clicked the button to "ORDER"
and get a message back saying the Photo Shop is closed for the night
n' I can pick 'em up at 10am TOMORROW.
That. ugh. is not. what. I. need, Wally World.
New plan.
Okay--here's the plan:
If I leave the house by 6:45am to run Daisie to school,
I can run straight over to Walmart by 7:15,
get back in time to run Ari to school early by 8am (for play practice),
and then come home,
adhere the pics to the display poster, and then run the poster to school
before it begins at 8:50am and still make it to my doctor's appointment by 9am.
Get it?
Got it?

Exhale, peeps.
We've got this.
[grumble, grumble]
I hate science fair projects.
I hate them so much,
I wouldn't mind having that engraved on my headstone.
"Here Lies Our Dear Mother.
  She hated Science Fair Projects.
God Rest Her Soul."

We cleaned up the mess,
and I pulled in my LAST 5th grader n'
kissed her noggin.
Dad followed her into her room for bedtime prayers
and I glanced at the clock--
9:58 pm.

I realized that this was my last late night Science Fair project
and I beat my former time by two minutes.
The dark whisper returned,
"Well done, Momza. Well done."
I hope I get an "A".

I went to bed anticipating a crazy morning--
hit the ground running was my plan.
Then, I woke up, looked outside at the weather,
opened my email to find a notification from the school district--
Closed for Snow.


  1. Gotta love it!

    And boy, can I relate.


  2. That was hilarious Dawn !!!
    Many times over the years, I prayed for school closing after burning the midnight oil trying to finish a project...I think it might be a conspiracy against parents to hone our skills for last minute assignments rather than a learning experience for students !

  3. Oh my, this was laugh out loud funny!! :-)

  4. AH!! Oh the irony.

    I wasn't much into science fair projects either. And I was the kid. I remember the little miss perfects of the class getting first prize.

    I bet their parents did it for them too.

  5. That was funny! Just recently had the same experience with Lily's Egypt project. Why don't the teachers rein the parents in? So STUPID!

    You got a break with that snow. Someone was watching out for you!

  6. I linked to your favorite things party! Yours looked so fun I had to do one of my own!

  7. Ugh. Those memories are like childbirth. Painful.

    After reading about the project I said a prayer of gratitude that the kids were out of school.


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