I hate Science Fair. It should rightfully be called, "The Grade Your Child Gets Directly Correlates to Your Calibre as a Parent." Yes, it's a little more ungainly a name, and certainly more expensive to put on a banner, but the data I'm about to present will prove my theory:
First, parents have to help their child find a topic in which he or she is mildly interested and yet will be somewhat feasible to prove in an experiment.
Then they have to help their child gather data and buy all the elements necessary for proving or disproving the hypothesis.
Next, they must facilitate this child in setting up the experiment and collecting the data necessary to prove the theory.
Finally, they will have to help design and then execute said design on their child's four foot cardboard display board (in my case, the night before) and then send them on their way to the judging where parents aren't invited to attend.
This is a process that takes months. We were not allowed to help Hannah type her paper, write her bibliography, nor oversee how she presented the data. Those were projects she did at school.
Here's HD's Science Fair 2011:
"Which plant will grow better, one that has extra c02 or one with regular air?"
The plan was to plant pinto beans in 2 separate containers and when they sprouted, put a cube of dry ice in one container and seal it while leaving the other container open, without dry ice (when dry ice melts, it converts to c02). We started late January trying to get pinto beans to sprout. They refused. Dan went to a nursery (which is only open one day a week) to purchase some seeds, in case the beans had been irradiated. Nothing. I was working 60 hours a week during this crucial time and not getting home until 9:30 in the evening, so I wasn't able to help much. I DID go online and give instructions to Dan and Hannah on how to make a terrarium, but I wasn't available to help put it together.
About a week before she is to present her findings, I took a look at those terrariums and noticed that, not only were the seeds not sprouting, they were ROTTING. Because there was too much water in the terrarium, something I warned both father and daughter against. Too late. No time to rectify the situation. Hannah had to present "inconclusive" results at the Science Fair. Students who had excellent results have excellent parents. Students whose results are rotting in jars have parents who are rotten. Coincidence? Hardly. There is totally a direct correlation.
It occurs to me that this whole "science fair" is a very Machiavellian way for teachers to assess which kids have smart parents interested in their child's future and which ones have inept simpletons for parents, raising children who will likely be on the dole.
Next year, we're going to do something a little less ambitious, such as "Which color do more ten year old girls prefer, pink or blue?"