Best science fair project ever

So this is the third time Rex has done a science fair project for this school district. Technically, entry into the actual science fair is optional, but all the students are required to do a project (in both third and fourth grade Rex has tried to deceive us, claiming that he didn’t have to do anything)

Let’s review some of Rex’s past efforts …

3rd grade: Worked with Karena on some sort of sundial, which her father ran over. I then helped him put together a crappy solar system replacement at the last minute, printing Excel spreadsheets and drawing circular circles for him during the super bowl.

4th grade: Karena helped him construct a hovercraft out of a CD and a balloon. I printed charts for him and even proofread a little, but refused to help him cut or glue so he just glued the raggedly cut-out charts haphazardly onto the trifold* poster board like he was drunk.

* You have to have a trifold poster board to actually enter the fair; if you’re not doing the fair, regular poster board is fine.

This led to the following conversation:

Me: Why are you all sad?

Rex: I didn’t win the science fair.

Me: Of course you didn’t win, your project looked like crap.

Karena: DON’T SAY THAT

Me: What? You know it’s true (long winded diatribe about the cult of self-esteem and declining standards in American education)

Karena: HONEY, WHAT YOUR FATHER IS TRYING TO SAY IS…

Rex: Can I have money for the book fair?

Recently on a Sunday night, Rex remembered that this year’s science project was due Tuesday. They’d had almost a month to work on it. He was moderately concerned about this and by moderately concerned, I mean he didn’t seem to really give a shit.

After he went to bed…

Karena: I CAN’T BELIEVE THIS. IT JUST SAT CRUMPLED UP AT THE BOTTOM OF HIS BOOKBAG FOR THREE WEEKS.  ALL THIS WASTED TIME… AND THERE’S BOY SCOUTS TOMORROW NIGHT – I’LL HAVE TO CANCEL THE MEETING…WHAT ARE WE GOING TO DO

Me: You’re saying it wrong… You mean what is he going to do. You’re going to boy scouts.

No, it was time for my son to man up and learn a valuable lesson about procrastination and consequences.

I’m not a monster though – I told him I’d pick up some poster board at the store for him.

Rex: oh, make sure it’s trifold or i won’t be able to win

(Fortunately for him he was running towards the bus stop and out of arm’s reach when he said this)

He came home the following afternoon and produced this masterpiece, in time to eat dinner and go to Boy Scouts

Karena: WHAT’S UP WITH THE BLANK SPOT IN THE MIDDLE

Rex: It says pictures should go in the center but I don’t have any pictures

Our family and friends placed bets on what grade he would get:

FIL: he’ll probably get a zero; you should have helped him

Karena’s BFF: 40.

Me: 90.

Karena: 90?!

Me: The standards at that school are so low. MY fifth grade teacher wouldn’t have even let him turn that in (nostalgic diatribe omitted)

Every day for a week, eagerly anticipating this blog post, as soon as he got off the bus, I asked him what grade he got.  Today the answer arrived:

Above: Yes, 9 x 10 = 100, yes, she teaches science AND MATH.

This would be a good place for a rant about lazy teachers, or failing public schools, or why America is going down the toilet, but I thought about it and I’m actually very proud of Rex.  It turns out he taught us a valuable life lesson:  Why waste time on things that you hate, especially when it doesn’t matter?  It’s like trying to have the best tax return.

img_20170118_142902.jpgscience-fair Above: two top-scoring science projects

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17 thoughts on “Best science fair project ever

    • Yeah. Which is how he did it, by just following the steps. “Says I need a hypothesis okay got it.”
      but in my mind 10 should be like hey that’s great, and he should get less than ten for just checking the box.

      • I agree. My rubric would’ve included examples of a top score, 50% and zero. He seems like a smart kid. I say that because my #1 son’s IQ is 136 and he’s a messy, lazy procrastinator unless it involves playing soccer or doing what he wants. You said Rex is a procrastinator which is a sign of being smarter than the average bear. Sorry ass teacher, can’t even add right.

        • If I’m a procrastinator that is using to-do lists to cure my procrastination, does this mean I’m dumbing myself down for the sake of accomplishing things? Here I was thinking I was moving in the right direction.

        • Never had his IQ tested but he skipped a grade and is in advanced classes. Messy lazy procrastinator is apt. We are still trying to find his “soccer” and praying that it is not video games

  1. I had a teacher in fifth grade who was bad enough to fuck me up for decades. The coup de grace was when I intentionally tanked something and she chose that to praise me in front of the class for. Learned helplessness is a real bitch (and so was she).

    • I went to a good school district and the mantra of every fifth grade teacher was “I’m going to get you ready for/this won’t be tolerated in/things are different in middle school”
      My teacher was the most demanding in the district, if not the country. While I was in his class, i talked to a college kid who had had him as a teacher. “I didn’t get as much work until i got to college,” he said. I later found this to be true, but since i was twice as old, and more prepared in terms of work habits/capacity, fifth grade was “pound for pound” my most difficult year of school.
      Idk even the dumb kids rose up and/or buckled down and did big deeds in his class.
      Tldr: people are capable of a lot and tend to rise to meet challenges

      • Yes they do. My school district adopted a reading program for elementary kids about 5 years and built a whole department on it. Currently, data shows the program is viable for about 60% of the kids, the rest it doesn’t work for so well. This year I chose not to do the program and am making my ESE kids do the same work as my gifted kids. Their grades and scores are showing more growth than their peers in other classes. So I guess I say all of this to support your premise.

        • Just rereading 7 habits of highly effective people and he tells a (possibly apocryphal) story about a British school that made a computer mistake and switched the gifted and slow classes with (in hindsight) predictable results.

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