Last night we went to the science fair. It was fun to see all the projects that the kids had made and their boards with their graphs, hypothesis, etc on them. But, as a parent I was looking around thinking that it’s funny how little has changed at the science fair since I was a kid.
My husband and I walked around the gym and were really impressed with a few of the projects. The kids worked hard, built something creative and put a lot of effort into their project. There were others who stayed carefully in the lines of the usual projects and managed to have lovely organized poster boards that looked exactly like the ones I remember from being in school and exactly like the ones I’ve seen online I didn’t realize that there were awards on some of them at first. But, after we’d been checking some out my husband said “I can’t believe that got an award.” He pointed out the ribbons and then I went back through and checked out who got ribbons. I guess I am not a science fair judge. I am sure there is some matrix they follow and each experiment must complete each catagory to be considered ribbon worthy. My thought is that they should add to their matrix and say “original idea” or “made from scratch”. I say this just as an observer. I don’t think my kid should have won. I am not even upset. But, the truth is that the projects that won were boring and have been overdone. Maybe they need an ‘excitement meter’ for the projects to see whose project actually interests people.
One boy built a functioning hover board. A HOVER BOARD people!! It was awesome. He was giving kids rides on it. There was a ton of interest in his. It was creative and it was something I hadn’t seen at a jr. high science fair before. Another boy built a telsa coil. You know, the cool things from the new Sorcerer’s Apprentice? They conduct cool electric currents that people can SEE? Yeah, one of those. That thing was going off all night and people were crowded around it. I saw their boards. They were not as neat and clean as the winners. But, in my mind – real science is rarely neat and clean. It’s dirty and takes lots of work and seldom goes the way people expect.
All this to say that maybe I should be the excitement meter for the next science fair. My whole job will be to simply look at it from an average joe standpoint and say ‘BORING!” or “THAT IS FREAKIN’ AWESOME!” The rest of the judges can worry about the science portion.