Friday, March 25, 2011

A Science Fair Conundrum

Today was the big science fair at the local junior college. I am pleased to report that three of my students' projects won 1st Place. That's pretty good, considering that we only took three projects. But wait a minute! Here's a conundrum for you. Not all of my students who took projects to the science fair won 1st Place. How can that be?

It's not like the three bicycles conundrum, wherein two fathers and two sons bought new bicycles, yet only three bicycles were bought. Think about it. That's long enough. Here's the solution: a man, his son, and his grandson walked into the shop, and each bought a bicycle. Two were fathers, two were sons. But only three bicycles were bought.

Let's think about my science fair entries. Three took projects. Three of our projects were awarded 1st Place. One of our projects at the science fair did not win 1st Place.

The solution: we had four projects originally. A student was sick and did not go. Her project was the only one listed in that category, and was automatically awarded 1st Place. You would think the judges might have at least thought to talk to the nonentity, and fill out a judging form on the project that was not there. But no.

Specifically, one of my freshmen students won 1st Place in the High School Behavioral Science category, with a project on short term vs. long term memory, about eyewitness reports two minutes after an incident, and twenty-four hours after the incident.

The #1 son, a sophomore, won the High School Product Testing category, with a project about the effectiveness of the Power Balance band. Let's just say you might as well buy a five-dollar knockoff, because out of twenty-five subjects, all walked a balance beam faster with the placebo rubber wrist bracelet than with the Power Balance band. No matter what order they were given the bracelets. To make it a blind test, the subject had to wear a coffee filter on his arm to block the sight of the bracelet. Each subject had a trial run with no bracelet, and five trials with each of the bracelets.

I am also pleased to announce that the #1 son won Best in Fair, High School Division. HooRah!

The Pony and his partner gave a valiant effort, but came up short in the Middle School Chemistry category, with their project on how liquid pH values affect the rusting of a nail. They were not too disappointed. Especially since there were thirty-eight entrants in that category. I pointed out to them that 90% of the entrants in their category did not win. There was nothing I would have had them do differently. They were simply beaten by better projects.

Maybe next year our band won't have their district music contest on the same day. And I will have a plethora of projects entered again.


labbie1 said...

HooRah! to #1 son!!!! And better luck next year to Pony!!!

"Two were fathers, two were sons. But only three bicycles were bought." I could be overthinking, but aren't they ALL sons???? I actually thought of two single bikes and a tandem...again with the overthinking...

Hillbilly Mom said...

The Pony is taking it well.

I told #1 that maybe next year, he can get started on his project earlier, instead of on Monday when it must be presented on Friday.

He replied, "Well, I got 1st Place. I won Best of Fair. So really, I couldn't make it any better, now could I?"

Sometimes, I think my Life Lessons are wasted on that boy.