Last year I wrote a post about how science projects and procrastination don’t mix. Like most parents, though, I learned nothing from that. Saturday evening I was going through some papers from school and realized that Little Man’s non-mandatory science project was due on Monday. We’d known about it for a couple weeks or so, but for some reason or another (half the family puking and football), it hadn’t gotten done.
When LM came home from the in-laws yesterday afternoon, I asked him if he wanted to submit a project. He’s always been big on science and loves conducting his own experiments, so I figured he’d say “yes,” even though we were going to be a little pressed for time.
“Nah, I wanna watch Netflix.”
“But last year you won a ribbon,” I said. “Don’t you want a chance to win one this year, too?”
“Eh.” He shrugged.
I looked at Sam, expecting him to say something encouraging or whatever. “I wouldn’t want to do one on Sunday, either,” he said. Thanks a lot, Sam. Thanks a fucking lot. I knew good and well he just didn’t want to do anything on Panthers Football Sunday.
I realized I had presented the science thing as an option, but screw that. LM had Friday off for a Snow Day and had been kicking back watching TV, playing video games, and playing with his toys most of his extended weekend.
“Turn off the TV,” I instructed. “We’re doing the science fair project. We’ll figure out something cool that we have the materials to do here, do the project, write a report, and I’ll go out and get pictures and a poster and stuff.”
Little Man didn’t bat an eye and shut off the TV. “Okay! What are we gonna do?” he asked with so much enthusiasm I thought he was being sarcastic at first.
We talked over some different ideas, but came back to one he’d done before on his own: the one where you put vinegar in a bottle and put a balloon over the top that has baking soda in it and watch the balloon get inflated from the gas created (carbon dioxide, I’ve learned). Instead of keeping it at that, though, LM wanted to know what would happen if we used the same amounts of vinegar and baking soda, but put them in different size bottles. “I bet the big bottle will have the biggest balloon!” he said, still with the enthusiasm, which made me ridiculously happy.
So, we tested out bottles of different sizes and ultimately found out that the balloons were inflated about the same size, regardless of bottle size. I was surprised, as I figured the balloon on the small bottle would inflate more since there would be less space for the gas to maybe be wasted in the bottle. Let the record clearly show that I don’t science. I have an English degree. Could’ve had a math degree. History? Probably not. Yawn (except for WWII). Science? Nope.
After I printed off pictures of the experiment at CVS, I came home and we got to work on getting everything pasted to the board. I share the picture of LM with his project board to Facebook, which is where things took a different turn. The title of the project is Does Size Matter? which I didn’t see anything wrong with until my wonderful brother chimed in on the name, which had Sam rolling in the floor laughing. (At least he wasn’t puking and crapping, I guess.)
Sam told me that we needed to have Little Man change the name of the experiment. “No. No one else thinks like that. For god’s sake, even I didn’t think like that, and you know how I am,” I told him.
“Everyone else will think like that. What else would you think when you see the phrase, Does Size Matter? Can you imagine the judges walking past and seeing that? They might get so cracked up that they don’t judge him properly or something. Or maybe he’d win his school and county and go to state, and then the picture of the little kid with Does Size Matter? on his science project would go viral.”
I really don’t want my child to go viral because his science project name sounds like an article in Cosmopolitan. Not that I think that’s likely at all, but still.
We changed the name of the project to, Does Bottle Size Matter? Little Man didn’t understand why we were changing it, so I told him to talk to his uncle later. He didn’t care, at least.
LM keeps talking about how he hopes he wins a ribbon again. I’m not sure he will, at least in part because we didn’t receive a rubric for the project. By looking at his project from last year, I was able to get a sense of the requirements from then, so hopefully they’ll be the same now. If not, it wasn’t mandatory anyway and he still had a fun afternoon of science and learned something. (Which is exactly what I told him mattered.)
Any of y’all doing science projects with your kiddos? No science projects? Well, do you think size matters? Oh, and GO PANTHERS!