This post is dedicated to any parent who has ever "helped" their child do a science experiment for school. Read it to the end for the best part.
Two weeks ago, Ryan came home from 2nd grade with the class "Scientist Bag," a blue tote bag with a lab coat, a pair of goggles and a journal in which to log findings of any science experiment he chooses. Each kid takes a turn.
As any parent knows, no science project will ever be a solo mission no matter how brilliant your kid is. Ryan's idea of "Rot or Raisin" (seeing if the grape would turn into a raisin before it rots) was quickly shot down because of our chilly South Floridian temperatures in the 80's.
After plenty of internet research and a hearty sales pitch, I sold him on making rock candy crystals. And I might have, in a moment of weakness suggested that I'd make a video. YES I KNOW! STUPID! Foreshadowing: not part of the assignment, overkill.
So I studied the experiment, I made him read about it to learn it, I got the materials together, I measured sugar and water, and I set him up in the kitchen where I told him exactly what to do while I video taped him saying what I helped him articulate while wearing a little white lab coat. Foreshadowing: I used the word "I" in that sentence 8 times.
Oh but wait...we didn't have enough sugar. So I went to the grocery store for more.
I boiled water and explained what we were doing so he could say it on the video. We talked about "solutions" and "seed crystals." He was like a junior Bill Nye the Science Guy. He really "got" what this project was about. The ploy of making the movie was just to get him to get excited about it. Way to go Mom! You just got your kid interested in science!
I cleaned up the sticky sugary mess we made in the kitchen.
Every night for six nights (except the night when he was puking) I brought him into the dining room where we had jars of sugar syrup with strings hanging in them and dressed him in his lab coat. Six nights of sugar "solution" while we were experiencing a gargantuan ant problem in our house. I held the camera as he gave his awesome spiel for his movie each time (some took a few takes) and then he watched as I measured the sugar's progress with a ruler and wrote it in a notebook.
Last night we did the last taping. He went to bed and I sat for two hours editing the movie so it would be ready when he woke up. He LOVED it. Tomorrow he'll write our findings in the journal which means I'll sit there the whole time (like I did on his large intestines report on Monday) and help him outline his thoughts.
So tonight as I was tucking him in I gave him a hug and said "Ryan, you're doing really well in school and I'm very proud of your hard work on your science project."
His reply (and I swear this is 100% authentic, verbatim): "Thanks Mom, but I can't take all the credit. I couldn't have done it without you. I mean...you were the one who held the camera."
I'll take that as a "thank you." I swear I better get an A on this thing. I mean HE better get an A...HE, Ryan better get an A.