Monday, February 6, 2012

Best Science Fair Project EVER, and How I'm Like a Navy SEAL

My daughter's science fair is tonight  (That's not her project, by the way).  She did a good job, all by herself, with only minimal help from me...I was a test subject, and we now know that my heart rate is not affected by classical music.

Allow me to share the story of my own science fair project.  I was in the ninth grade, and I wanted to examine the effects of water pollution on wildlife.  I  bought three goldfish, and put each one in a different jar.

I poured motor oil in one jar, and laundry detergent in another.  The third was my control. 

Interestingly, it took the motor oil fish a few days to die.  I hypothesized that it was lack of oxygen that killed him, rather than acute toxicity, as in the laundry detergent jar...fortunately, I didn't do any further experiments to confirm this. 

I also didn't get a very good grade.

But I DID go on to get both a BA and an MS in Zoology.  Uh huh. Yeah.  And I have been earning a living in science for a good 25 years now. 


I am reading a book right now, The Heart and The Fist, by Eric Grietens, who is a SEAL and lots of other nice things. 
The Heart and the Fist: The education of a humanitarian, the making of a Navy SEAL
 In the first or second chapter, Greitens describes his own science fair project, which involved three tulips and a container of water, one of Coke, one of beer. 

Do you see the similarity?  I'm like, OMG, this guy and I could have been separated at birth, give or take ten years.  We have SO much in common. I should totally write to him and invite him to dinner.  We can talk about dumb science fair projects and...okay, maybe not much else.  

Anyway.  I'm really enjoying the's not a complete testosterone-fest (not that I would complain about that), it's very well written, and this guy seems to be doing what he's doing for all the right reasons.  He's also got this group, The Mission Continues, that gives fellowships to post-9/11 veterans to do service work.  I'm a big fan of service work--not just because I'm a nice person, but because it is good for me...keeps me out of my own dark scary places.  Check it out, it's pretty cool.

What about you?  What is your science fair story? 


  1. Poor goldfish! You obviously have the ruthless streak necessary to be a good scientist. *grin*

    I somehow managed to avoid Science Fair projects throughout my whole school career. I credit bribery and easily corruptible science teachers. ;)

  2. Teri Anne, I gasped as I read about your experiment--of course I had just finished gasping at the science fair picture!

    I guess I was just never into science. My experiments, like moon gardens and turning an egg into rubber by soaking it in vinegar for a week, were pretty lame!

    The science minded think alike;)!

  3. y u hate ur braces
    dumb AZZ

  4. Can you remove the picture that has the F word on it associated with this post, please? It showed up in a Google image search for 'science fair'. It's inappropriate to say the least, whether it is your daughter's project or not. At least you could black out the letters.

  5. I agree that the picture is inappropriate and; honestly, I can't believe you let your child write that for her science fair project. This is the kind of parenting that lead to the degenerates you see walking the streets today. There is nothing fun or sexy about it; just gross and rude. Please take it down.