Last week, the 6-yr-old’s school–the Holmes School for Science & Technology–had its first science fair. (I know, right? What were they waiting for?) Anyway, the boy was *super* excited about it, as you can see in this photoset on Flickr, and he did a project on whether a solution of sugar, epsom salts, or alum will grow the best crystals as they evaporate at room temperature. (Alum!)
We were a bit surprised at the fair to discover that the judges were evaluating grades K-3 together, using a rubric that included such items as a “lab report” and “three documented sources.” Now, we both know enough about the scientific method to know that good experiments take into account existing knowledge, but . . . documented sources? For kindergarteners? That sounds age-appropriate.
Instead of doing that, we opted for a project that the boy could do, and for a poster that he could design and make himself. He likes his participant ribbon just fine, and he and the *one* other kindergartener who participated both felt super-proud of themselves, as well they should have. (They also worked each other into a panic early on, because the instructions had said that judges would interview you about your poster before making a decision. That didn’t happen, but it took them a couple of minutes to catch on. The adults you see him talking to in the photoset are my dept. chair, whose younger daughter attends the same school, and the principal.)
He’s already announced that next year he wants to do a project on Darwin.