This is probably a good indication of why I never became the next Einstein
Volcanoes made out of silly putty, baking soda, and red Jell-o. Working scale model versions of the space shuttle. Genetic DNA strands made out of paper clips and construction paper and coconut flakes, sentient robot dogs that can do the New York Times crossword puzzle, all the standard cool stuff.
And then there were my projects. I was never in any danger of having a grainy photograph taken with the superintendent.
Not only were my projects half-ass and uninspired, they also caused undue grief for my mother. Let me explain:
Seventh grade: Photosynthesis. Not a bad choice, although I think I chose it because it was the first topic that I came across in the 25-year-old science book I had been given by my uncle. Oh yeah, and because all I needed to do was take one of my Mom's African violets. And put it near a window. And forget to water it. There was also somehow a ruler involved, which I measured how much the plant grew due to the wondrous effects of the sun. Somehow, even without water, the plant managed to grow enough, or at least lean in the direction of the sun enough, for me to finish my paper and cart the thing to school on the bus.
Even though I was no where close to being a science fair winner, what with a half-dead plant plastered in front of a white poster board with the word "Photosynthesis" scrawled across it in an unsteady green marker while robot dogs were doing the New York Times crossword puzzle next to me, I did manage to score a gentleman's B for the project, largely due to the fact that, although I couldn't conduct a science experiment to same Madam Curie's life, I was more capable than most at stringing coherent thoughts together for the written portion of the project. (Wow, that was a really long sentence, sorry.)
Oh yeah, I also forgot to take the half-dead African violet home, much to my mother's chagrin. No strike that, not chagrin, more like anger. I believe my mother had to call the school and stage a rescue mission for the plant.
Which meant that my science fair project for
Eighth grade: Would not involve the use of any of my mother's possessions. Yet somehow, my mother was not all that pleased with this project, either.
Probably because my room stank like vinegar for a month. Once again, I chose a project which required little to no actual effort. Instead of watching a plant die through the magic of photosynthesis, I measured the evaporation rate of water versus the evaporation rate of vinegar.
That's right, basically, I stuck a ruler in a bowl of water and a bowl of vinegar every couple days as my bedroom began to smell more and more like a sauerkraut factory. I'm sure it was the same method Dr. Salk used to cure polio.
For this project, I'm pretty sure my mother was happy to never see or smell the offending bowl of vinegar again, even if it did mean that she lost a couple of Tupperware bowls in the bargain.
Once again, I got the gentleman's B for a project that consisted of two plastic bowls sitting in front of a poster board with the "evaporation" scrawled unevenly in blue marker.
And I never did get that scholarship to MIT.