Every year for 13 years, I have organized a Science Fair for homeschoolers. This time we also welcomed 5th and 6th graders from the Catholic school making the room full to its capacity. I make sure everyone has 2 judges (in case one is grumpy or near-sighted) to hopefully give them a fair shake. And I give everyone a prize at the end. Not that I am from the world of "medals for 5th place sports teams," but because I have the philosophy of giving scientific and educational prizes that joyfully spur on the student's excitement. It was an exciting night! Aidon was worried he wouldn't win because he colored outside the lines on his chicken, but he got first place in Kindergarten division. Robert was sad that he was too young to do the Science Fair (age 3). How wonderful that little brothers and sisters are looking forward to entering! It doesn't look like work to them--only fun. But for the mothers (especially of large families) it is extra work and mess.
Dorito was proud of the multi-meter he had built in electronics class. So he tested it around our house. First, my broken DVD player needed diagnosed. Then Meggar's lamp for college. He found a failed power supply on one and then an open component on the switch of another. Turns out it only needed the fuse put back in! Just like a professional. The toughest step for Dorito is putting his thoughts into summary form on the display board and into a short presentation for the judges. We struggled as I gave him hints, but wanted him to write it on his own. He was frustrated by my hints, thinking I didn't know anything about AC current, resistors, color bands, etc. (I don't!) One morning, he came down to breakfast in his pajamas to tell me he had the perfect wording for his hypothesis: (wow!) I think I can build a multi-meter that is fully funcational using proper knowledge of electronics. (Perfect, I thought!) Then the judges counted him down on the hypothesis for not having the word "if" and I was crushed for him.
This was also a fun year because Meggar was home from college as a judge (and Hannah, too). She handled the 3rd and 4th grade division beautifully, asking appropriate questions since the other judge was new/quiet. And Captain was in town this year and could take all the photos!