Just read Jeff's post about his Younger Child's adventures in science. Ahh, yes, those science fair days...seems like yesterday.
Two of my daughters participated in science fair projects during their high school and middle school years, and did quite well. One project even went to a state competition in Austin.
Science wasn't my most favorite class in school, but I must have retained more than I realized. When faced with these daunting projects, I dove in head first to help my children enthusiastically. Perhaps with a tad too much motherly interference.
In truth, I was a bad parent.
The projects fascinated me; I was relentless in repeating experiments, creating new hypothesis, and painting splashy backboards. I was the project-Nazi. I hope my kids learned as much from these little experiments as their mom did. Little, heck, they were BIG PRODUCTIONS with a BIG BUDGET. (Okay, so it wasn't as big as the experiment that smarty-pants, my-father-is-a-veterinarian Magnet School student did with cows, copper IUDS and artificial insemination. We weren't ranchers with a couple of bovines handy in the backyard.)
By the time Jamie took a project to Austin for the state competition, I was a regular Igor at this stuff. I can't recall the exact hypothesis, but it involved varying amounts of electricity, special algae and test tubes. We never created any monster, but our kitchen looked like Castle Frankenstein at night from all the glowing test tubes. Only thing missing was echoing demonic laughter and a lightening storm soundtrack.
The year before we tested hamburger meat from various grocery store butcher counters. The ground beef was painted across with sterile swabs then struck on agar plates. Since I worked for a doctor, it was easy access to the tools of the trade. The resulting bacterial growth made me a vegan for months. Yuck. Little buggers look huge and vicious under a microscope.
Another project entitled, "Do You Practice Safe Sun?" won some blue ribbons. It was an experiment to see which types of intervention worked best to protect human skin from cancer-causing UV rays. Never doubt Super Science Mom when it comes time for a catchy project title. Oh, and sunscreen lotion does work when applied as directed. Duh. We won a prize for this conclusion?
Various other projects involved eggs in vinegar, salt and sugar crystallization, and other nifty recipes for making stinky messes.
But, as I pointed out to Jeff, science fair projects are things great family memories are made of.
Worth every 2 A.M. wakeup to check on whether that pesky algae is growing or not. And, be sure to remind your kids it will be their turn some day to help nurture a future Madame Marie Curie...or a Dr. Frankenstein. Bwahahaha.