Today is the middle school science fair. I somehow can’t remember ever taking part in such an event, although I do have vague recollections of trying to build a carton that would protect an egg dropped from a considerable height and of putting great effort into constructing a gorgeous volcano that really spewed. I just can’t connect these memories with a specific, juried event.
My deprived childhood aside, what a fun thing! I spent a very enjoyable half an hour wandering through the school cafeteria which has been transformed into a staging ground for serious scientific experiment and is now overflowing with posters, beakers, burners, potted plants, magnets, basketballs, diapers, boom boxes, and other paraphernalia in addition to an array of small children eager to tell you about their discoveries. One smartly-attired sixth grader (complete with red tie) informed me that listening to a fast song inevitably increases your heart-rate, although listening to a slow song does not guarantee a decreased heart rate. Another pair gravely avowed that the reason girls had higher blood pressure than boys was probably because they worried more about things like diet and clothing. They also determined that “older people” (i.e. eighth graders) had higher blood pressure than “younger people” (i.e. seventh graders) again perhaps because of stress—contemplating high school can make anyone nervous.
I also learned several scientific tidbits applicable to everyday life. For example, a team of boys (!) discovered that an Indian brand of diapers called Baby Soft outperformed both Huggies and Pampers in a carefully controlled soak-age test. This is information everyone needs to have! And my suspicions that coca-cola is not the best liquid for watering plants were confirmed. Apparently mango juice isn’t very good either, but bottled water is fantastic. Even the tap water produced zero germination in the seeds (which is sort of funny considering all the interesting things tap water can make grow in one’s small intestines).
I came away feeling proud and even, perhaps, a bit smarter.