The cold weather continues, so our plans to travel on our snowmobile remain on hold. This winter has been much colder than last winter, but we have less snow. We do, however, have enough snow for my personal needs and desires. The snow and ice help flatten out the Tundra and it allows for easy walking. Our walk to school is shortened significantly by the cold weather because we can walk across the lake instead of going around. The snow is very dry and compact, making it sound like we’re walking on Styrofoam. That’s neither a need nor a desire, just a cool byproduct of cold weather.
|Students working hard on their projects.|
We held our third annual science fair last Friday at school. I want to state from the beginning: I am all for science fairs. The problem is I am ill equipped in the organizational aspect of multiple individual projects being submitted to a group event. In other words, my classroom has been a zoo lately. And not a peaceful zoo full of docile animals that are easily herded and are in respectful awe of the zookeeper. It was more like a primate cage full of poop-throwing monkeys. No, throwing poop was not one of our experiments but it should have been.
When I first started asking kids what kind of experiments they wanted to do, almost all of them wanted to blow something up. I then asked them what kinds of experiments they wanted to do that do not include the words “explosion, stink, infection, fire, wolverines, dysentery, danger, or adult supervision required”. Their choices were severely limited after my list.
I have a couple of books with several different kinds of kid friendly experiments. We used these books to pick out our experiments. Unfortunately, they were not all teacher friendly. I would first have to do the experiment to see if it could be done the way it was described in the book. Then I would have the student execute the experiment with just me. Finally, they would perform the experiment in front of the class.
|Some of the finished projects displayed in the gym.|
Our biggest obstacle in doing the science fair, besides the fact they have me as their teacher, is our inability to quickly get supplies. We don’t have a Wal-Mart where we can grab materials as needed, so we were limited by what we had on hand. One of the experiments called for clear soda pop, like 7-UP. We could find only one can in town, so we had to do his experiment as quickly as possible before the carbon dioxide dissipated. Other experiments couldn’t be tried because of the same issue. I have already made a note-to-self to fill a plastic tote to send up for next year, filled with sciencey things.
The science fair was a huge success for the school. Almost all of the students participated. We had judges come in to judge the student’s presentations and award certificates and ribbons. The kids worked real hard on their projects and it showed. They constructed a tri-fold and then had to defend their experiment in front of the judges. I am very proud of them. Four of my students are going to the district science fair in March. This is a big deal, because they will fly to Mountain Village and spend the night. Some of my students have not been out of our village since they were born, so the reward is huge.
Battling the cold and battling a cold are now on my priority list since the science fair is over for another year. Monica and I are surrounded by piles of used tissues, making loud sniffing noises with our raw, red noses. I guess we’ll just have to wait till next year to see if the cure will be found at the science fair.