Friday, October 14, 2005

I Hate Science Projects

The task seemed straightforward. Create a water filtration device. Just follow the simple directions listed in the student guide. Materials needed? A 2-liter bottle and activated charcoal. (After spending three weeks thinking about buying activated charcoal, another week half-heartedly searching for activated charcoal at Target and the grocery store, and a Saturday morning actually buying activated charcoal at the pet store, we were finally ready.) The curriculum company provided the two kinds of sand and two kinds of gravel we needed. I had to scrounge up a cotton ball.

I will spare you the details, but let's just say that when the directions say to loosely plug the opening of the bottle with a cotton ball, do not take them literally or seriously. And by "them," I mean the sadists at the curriculum company who wrote the directions to the science project.

Because if you follow the scant directions, you will end up with pea gravel in your kitchen garbage disposal and as you fish out each piece of gravel from the bowels of the garbage disposal, you might also go berserk and yell, "I HATE SCIENCE PROJECTS!" in a very unmotherlike manner. (I'm guessing Michelle Duggar has never thrown a tantrum with her hand plunged into the dark recesses of her garbage disposal.)

The children did manage to learn the five steps of water filtration (aeration, coagulation, sedimentation, filtration, disinfection), despite my antics.

And by the way, when the directions say "one 2-liter bottle," just realize that they actually mean "four 2-liter bottles." One, four, what's the diff, really?

I hate science projects. Just tell me and I will believe you. I don't need to recreate a water filtration system to believe that it works. I am entirely convinced by the written word. No hands-on experiments needed.

Note to self: Avoid becoming a scientist when you grow up.

Cotton ball, schmotton ball. Did I mention how much I hate science projects?

9 Comments:

Blogger Edna B said...

Oh I feel for you. Good on you for trying. My other half, who was mostly home-schooled said that once a month a few home-schooling families would get together and have a science day, alternating at different houses. This ensured that the experiments never went completely pear-shaped. This sounds like a good idea. Do you have a home-schooling network?
Mel, I love your blog, I read it most days. You have made me throw out the window my pre-conceived notion of a "pastor's wife" is. You are so real and human, and I love that in you.

2:58 AM  
Blogger Judy said...

What? You mean it isn't MAGIC???

Really, I'm interested in a lot of things, but as long as what I flush doesn't come back up, I'm fine with whatever those waste-water treatment people want to do with the gifts we send them.

And, in case the old 'salt dough map' idea is still around, I'll have you know that one can raise perfectly intelligent children without their hands ever touching that disgusting mixture.

We made ONE once. That was enough.

5:32 AM  
Blogger Krystal A. Kelly said...

Knock on wood...we've not had a science project gone bezerk...yet.

I HAVE had activated charcoal go down my garbage disposal while cleaning out the fish tank filters though.

Not fun.

And if you ever get the wild idea to turn ON the disposal in hopes that it will, if left on long enough, break down the charcoal, please note that this does NOT work.

5:50 AM  
Blogger Chewy Mom said...

Oh yuck! I was a horrible teacher (way back when I taught 3rd grade). I much preferred seat-work to hands on stuff.

My b-i-l wrote a blog over at fat-triplets about dumping stuff down the garbage disposal...http://www.fattriplets.com/?p=278. Too bad you couldn't call him to fish the stuff out--he seems to know how to take one apart now!

6:18 AM  
Blogger Vashti said...

Great post. I get totally creeped out when I stick my hand in a garbage disposal though.

3:48 PM  
Blogger Julana said...

Why don't you take a trip to the local sewage treatment plant, next time? Surely, they filter water there. I bet your children would learn and remember.

5:59 PM  
Blogger Paul said...

LOL - thanks, I needed that laugh...

6:11 PM  
Blogger Mrs. Darling said...

I too hate science projects. My daighter went to private school in jr. high and high school and it seemed like it was one project after another. Then they invented the science fair! Lord help us!

8:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hate science fair projects. They are too hard on students. I never met a student who likes them.

5:06 PM  

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