T'was the night before science fair...

…and my son JUST told me about it five minutes ago! Apparently it’s worth a significant part of his science grade for the term.

I have: no vehicle until (too) late tonight, and limited funds. Also overdue for a grocery trip, so I’m even limited as to what sort of things are in my cupboard.

I’m doing a Google search as I type, but just in case, does anyone have any good ideas? And also, how do I thank my nine year old for this great, last minute news?

A pretty good half-assed project is to make an electromagnet. Just wrap a whole lot of wire around a large nail and hook both ends up to a lantern battery. Voila! If you have a spare switch lying around, you can get really fancy by putting that in the circuit. Mount the whole works to a piece of wood and get some metal things to pick up with it.

Introduction to aerodynamics

Your son could see what paper airplane would

-fly the farthest?
-do a roll in the air?
-do a horizontal circle?
-do a vertical circle?
-stall in mid-air?
-do acrobatics?

Here is a place to start.

Got a magnifying glass? You can always have him examine water from various sources - tap, gutter, fishtank, toilet, etc and draw or count the critters. Why are they different?

Got some rags? Have him stain a cloth, tear it into strips and then try different cleaners on each strip. Which works best on which types of stains?

Want to torture the punk? Have him to sit-ups until he collapses, have him do push-ups, have him do deep knee bends. Keep count. Which muscle group is stronger/has more stamina?

The good news is that most of these events are fairly liberal. Usually you need to have a hypothesis, test your hypothesis, graph the results and discuss the meaning. Have him document these four things and you’re in. On the other hand, I’ve seen plenty of “experiments” where the sole criteria seemed to be that it made a big mess. :slight_smile:

So how’d it go?

Ya know, if my kid pulled this stunt, she’d just take her failing grade. While we help her when we can, her lack of planning does not constitute our emergencies. She got herself into a couple of frantic late-into-the-night sessions, and now she’s more diligent about getting things taken care of ahead of time. Sometimes failing isn’t a failure…

So how’d it go?

Sorry. I’ve been really busy, and didn’t notice the thread bumped.

My son wanted to do the electromagnet, but I didn’t have the supplies here, and didn’t have the vehicle until it would have been too late, so that was out. Didn’t have a magnifying glass or too many varieties of cleaners, so that was out. I was actually up for the paper airplane suggestion, but while I was looking on the net, my oldest son found a “make your own plastic” (from milk & vinegar) thing in one of his books, and voted for that. Apparently the siblings were allowed to work in groups, and I didn’t have enough time to help with TWO projects, so we went with that.

After a couple of hours, I decided that I was doing the entire project by myself. I realized that by the next morning, I would have done no studying for my own final the next day; however, I would be an expert in plastics. I told the kids that it was their project. If they had wanted help, they should have told me three weeks earlier. They wanted to fail, they could go on and be free to do so. I was out of it.

Feynn helped them a little later, putting together their presentation, but he was pretty tough, and made them do all of the thinking themselves.

I don’t know what their grade was, but their presentation was nothing compared to so many of the other ambitious projects. Hey, what can I say? I only had four hours notice.

Thanks for the suggestions, everyone. And thanks for checking on me. :slight_smile: