...and they all lived happily ever after...

...and they all lived happily ever after...

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Balance This (science fair time again)

Bryce just finished participation in the school science fair this past week. 
Each member of his science class was required to put together a project, and Bryce was excited for the opportunity.  His presentation was chosen to move on from the class level to the school wide competition and we were thrilled about that. 
I am a pretty big believer that when it comes to projects like this my children should do the work on their own.  I am happy to support them and help them work through problems and give guidance and suggestions when they are needed, but I want my kids to lead the charge.  I am usually right there with them through the whole process, but I try to hold my tongue whenever possible and let my kids discover their own strengths and plunge into problem solving without waiting for me to save them.
That means that their posters are not always perfect, their conclusions are sometimes interesting and their ideas are sometimes a little bit off the wall.  However, it also means that they are immersed in the creative process and are the master of their own fate so when success comes their way they can revel in it knowing it is honestly theirs.
So, this year Bryce decided to do a project on balance.  He was dead set on this particular idea and would hear of no other suggestions, which was fine.  I love it when my kids stand up for what is important to them.  He decided to test how sounds and hearing affect balance.  Here's how it went.
1. We took a trip to the store and bought an eight foot long 2x4.  We brought that home and set it across some very sturdy bricks that were about three inches tall when laid on their sides.  This was our test area.  It was a tall enough balance beam to require a bit of effort to balance but not so tall that anyone would get hurt should they stumble a bit.
2. We procured a bunch of ear plugs and brought up an mp3 player with headphones.  These would be used to interfere with hearing as Bryce performed his tests.
3. We gathered our test subjects.  These included family, neighbors and friends.  Bryce had each subject walk back and forth across the narrow board for 30 seconds.  First they walked normally, then with ear plugs in and finally while listening to a peppy song on the mp3 player. 
4. Bryce measured how many times they fell or bobbled while walking during each test.  We found that boys bobbled more than girls which didn't seem to shocking.  Surprisingly to me, he discovered that there was much more falling and bobbling while the music was on than in either of the other tests. 
5. Finally, Bryce charted his results and put together his findings.
This is how his poster turned out.
Bryce typed up his hypothesis, his procedure and his findings. I proof read them and then he cut and pasted them onto his board.  He spiced it up with some old headphones and some pictures and voila, completed science project.
I really am proud of the work he did.  I think the idea was intriguing, the work was solid and his presentation was pretty darn good for a 12 year old.  I think he did really great.  He didn't win an award, but he came away feeling like he accomplished something and I have to agree with him.  He is growing and learning and becoming an incredible young man.  I'm glad I get to watch it all happen up close and personal.

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