Tuesday, March 09, 2004

Days Until the Science Expo: 14

Ah! A good day! Resolving a conflict in a (relatively) sensible way is like the arrival of spring: you feel hopeful, and each having realized what it would be like to damage your valued relationship with the other person, you treat each other really sensitively and respectfully for a few days... and perhaps realize how much you'd let things degrade over time.

Most of the kids are done with the experiment part of their projects, and are now completing their research, typing up their procedure, and beginning to think about their results and conclusions. Two of the four classes (sixth and seventh grades, by the way) are in great shape! One more will be in great shape in a day or two, and the fourth is not doing that well, but I think it will turn out okay with a lot of hard work.

I have seen some real breakthroughs in research, where kids found useful information pertaining to their experiment, and actually applied what they found to help explain their results. This is, of course, the whole point of a science project, but it is much harder to achieve than you'd think - the kids tend to be gung-ho about doing the hands-on part, but "forget" to do much analysis. I have one group who came up with some really fascinating information about the history of popcorn, the science of how it pops, and the science of how microwaves work. Combining these three fields of knowledge, they are producing excellent explanations for why certain flavors of popcorn pop faster than others (who knew, right?).

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