Mom Explains Why She Made That Fake Science Fair Project

posted on April 23, 2014 at 12:11 am

In a new and super official study entitled “How Much Turmoil Does the Science Project Cause Families,” a mom explores the depth of the familial bond as it is challenged by the science project.

The results?

75 percent of kids cry, 90 percent of parents yell, and everyone HATES the science fair.

Sounds conclusive enough to us!

Seriously, though, if you haven’t seen the bright yellow poster that made its Internet debut back in February, you’re missing out. It quickly went viral, with empathetic parents sharing the photo and giving the project a metaphorical “A”.

viral science fair poster

The culprit behind the sensation? 50 year-old mother Susan Messina. She said she created the project as a joke about three years ago while her fifth grader was stressing out over yet another science fair project. Quite simply, she had grown tired of seeing her daughter crying and needed a way to vent her frustration.

Susan never took the project to the fair (though she wanted to) because she didn’t want to hurt the feelings of the kids who had worked hard on their projects. That wasn’t her goal.

“I’m definitely not anti-science or anti-intellectual in any way,” said Susan in a Huffington Post blog. “I graduated from Bryn Mawr College and I hold three master’s degrees. I believe that STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) fields are crucial and that, in fact, more women should enter them. Rock on, young scientists and engineers!”

mom explains viral science project

That being said, she does disagree with the current way science projects are completed.

“First, any elementary school project that requires a lot of parental time, energy, resources, support, cajoling and financial investment is just BAD. Such projects privilege students from higher-income families for all the obvious reasons. They also take away from family time that families at all income levels have less of these days. And they definitely are a challenge for any students living with parents who cope with physical illness, mental illness and/or substance abuse.”

Her solution is to have students complete their projects in class instead of employing a “ragtag bunch of parents” to act as educators. Or to simply make science fairs into an “elective, noncompetitive family project” which does not pressure students and families to be better than everyone else.

Right now, forcing students to compete basically ensures that there will be a whole bunch of drama. Parents will always intervene to make sure their child is on the top, which means the child won’t even learn anything (except that being number one is all that matters).

Really, Susan’s main hope is that science fairs could one day be fun instead of stress. Here’s to hoping that the poster and Susan’s explanation can help educators make these changes in their schools.

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