Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Computer Skills and Science Fair Projects

Our homeschooling co-op is having a science fair in mid-March and Reilly was very excited to sign up. She's not old enough for her project to be judged - that will come in 4th grade - and I was very proud that she wanted to participate anyway. She's so competitive that I could easily see her not wanting to do a project if there's not a chance that she could win a ribbon.

We got lots of books on science fair projects from the library, and she decided on a project about the senses. This morning in school, we figured out how to make a form where we could write down all our "data" from the experiment and I guided Reilly through how to make it on the computer. Then we got three "subjects" - Troy, Nani Kay, and Mrs. Harris from across the street - and blindfolded them. They had to use their different senses, one at a time, to try and figure out which fruit was in various containers. They started by shaking the container to see if the sound helped, then they got to touch, smell, taste, and see the fruit in that order.

It was a lot of fun to do, and I really enjoyed watching Reilly guide the experiment and ask the questions. I've tried really hard to let her do most of the work on this project and sit back and offer advice and guidance when needed. I can really see how easy it is for a parent to want to step in and make everything look neat and perfect and I'm fighting that urge a lot. But it doesn't make much sense for her 2nd grade project to look like an adult did it. So, while I talked her through making the form and what we would need to have on there, she actually did the lion's share of the actual work on the computer. Same with the experiment itself; I guided her through how to ask the questions, but she recorded all the information herself. Knowing how competitive she is, I'm hoping that she will have the most satisfaction with the amount of work that is hers when we're all done.

Speaking of competitive, I've realized that sometimes playing games to practice math facts can backfire because she begins to get upset if she thinks she's not going to win. She won at hangman this morning, but began to get mad when I started getting some points on another game we started to play. The idea of "it's just a game!" is completely lost on her and she kind of struggles with finding a balance between competetiveness and having fun.

Well, sometime when I get them loaded onto the computer, I'll get the pictures up of our experimenting! For now, I'm off to BED!

1 comment:

Sherri said...

I can't wait to see the pics.
I understand about the "it's just a game" thing. Patrick is the same way about something "defeating" him. I think he got it from me. My sister and I are both so competitive about things!!
The Science fair sounds like fun. Every year I say that we are going to join it or the Social Studies fair. Maybe one day we will actually do it!