Friday, January 25, 2008

The Group Effort

Have I ever mentioned how much I loathe science projects? Actually, I’m never enthused about any type of major homework projects, but science projects top the list. I am just NOT creative. I was whenever I was a kid but, that was like thirty years ago. I think it’s my mom’s fault. She’s very creative and spoiled us by doing 99.9% of all of our major projects whenever we were in school. We usually fell asleep at the table (pretending like we were actually helping).

Luckily for us, Lauren was born creative. I can’t recall any of her school projects being as stressful as Cassidy’s have been. Lauren always had her own unique plan and basically all I had to do was make sure it could fit into the car to get it to the school.

Now, with Cassidy, and even Caden, it’s a whole new ballgame. I have paid Lauren on several occasions to assist us with a few of Cassidy’s projects. I once paid her ten bucks to “decorate” and “dress-up” a paper turkey when Cassidy was in kindergarten. Last year she got twenty bucks for helping us finalize and decorate a show board on Brian Piccolo for the history fair. I’m usually only good for printing pictures off of the internet, cutting them out for the show board, and financing whatever supplies are needed, unless transportation to and from the craft store counts.

Cassidy recently had a science project that took quite a toll on the entire family. I’m not kidding when I say it became a team effort in order to complete. She tried verbally to explain what the requirements of the project were. The instructions she had in written form weren’t as complicated as she made them sound, but it still turned out to be quite a challenge.

She needed to make a Sun, Earth and Moon that revolved around each other, but not only did the Earth and Moon need to revolve around the Sun, they needed to revolve around each other as they were also revolving around the Sun. Did I lose you yet? If so, don't feel alone!

After brainstorming on what her options were, Cassidy and I set out for Hobby Lobby. It was like the blind leading the blind. After asking two or three sales assistants if they were creative, we found Martha and she had some great suggestions for us. I must admit I was very tempted to buy the thirty dollar remote controlled revolving solar system and just be done with it, but eventually concluded the teacher wouldn’t think that constituted much creativity.

We came home with our supplies and then it came time for Les to step in and try to help us figure out the logistics of the project. He came up with a technical plan that, until it was complete, made absolutely no sense to me. I needed to see it in order to grasp the idea and believe that it would actually work.

He stopped at three hardware stores the following day to get the needed wood and screws to help create the rest of the project. He also had to go next door to borrow some needed tools that we didn’t have on hand.

This was no easy task. There was major stress in the house for two or three evenings as we all banded together trying to get the project completed. Lauren spent several hours drawing, cutting, sewing and stuffing the Sun, Moon and Earth. Les had to measure, cut and construct the pieces of wood to ensure they rotated properly and that they could withhold the weight of the stuffed planets. Caden helped his dad saw the wood. Cassidy offered her services, walked around on eggshells and wrote the description of her project and its function in written report form. I supervised everyone, but doesn’t transportation, financing of the project and cleaning up the mess count for anything? (Oh, and let's not forget the trip to Hobby Lobby).

Talk about stress!

Well, in the end, we made a 95, so I guess there is something to be said for teamwork and a group effort! I just wish we could recycle it for next year when Caden has to do the exact same thing.


Anonymous said...

gee, you guy's (and gals) are pretty talented. How good are you at the science of making old trailer houses disappear....I have one sitting in front of our place. The trailer trash that used to live there moved out-- Making something disappear should be duck soup for you guys (sorry Spencer--no slam intended..RIP old boy). I for one,(probably the only one)believe you were (probably) innocent. Dad/Grandpapaul

teedee said...

We made a 95!! Bahaha! I bet Cassidy is actually the only one that made the 95! Congratulations guys! It looks great! Keep it for me. I'll buy it from you in 3 years!

Ronni said...

I told my kids they were on their own. I passed 7th grade a long time ago. Their projects were often thrown together at the last minute and minimally competent, but you know what? They learned that they have to work to get things done. Brendan, a senior in high school, no longer leaves everything till the day before, which will stand him in good stead in college.

Your kids have learned some very valuable lessons about teamwork from you, that mine did not get from me.