I understand that kids want to make volcanoes and see steamy things spew in the gym, but my loathing of the science fair began years ago. My oldest son is somewhat of a perfectionist, so just agreeing on a display and how we would do it was a fight.
We have done bean sprouts, DNA strands, and phases of the moon......but see that is where the hate began. I am not even going to get into the hours and hours of searching, painting, typing, gluing loss of sleep that goes into each one of these.....
Oh no.....what bothers me is that my child can pick a topic, like the above mentioned, and if his board doesn't ask a question a certain way and have a certain type of guess, then show the calculated answer, then all of his work and research just earns him a bad score.
See , it isn't about learning..it is about how you present the scientific method, which is usually the same display year after year done by different kids. My son wanted to learn how a GPS works. He studied it, he used his dad's GPS, he created a Travel Bug and logged all the places it went on the earth, for 2 years, then made an awesome display board with measuring tapes and maps and let kids figure out how coordinates are tallied.... it was a hit, but not with the judges.
(my boys geocaching in Williams Arizona, a few years ago on vacation)
While he had parents and kids alike figuring out map locations and measuring them with 3 separate tapes, the judges did not approve of his display...there was no obvious layout of the scientific method.
SO now when my kids bring home a science fair memo I toss it aside and say, "If you want to do it, go ahead..." but I am done with the searching and preparing just to present something within the confines of the district judges. Maybe I am mean, but to me thinking outside of the box is great for kids.....
Our elementary school science fair is today. Guess whose kids do NOT have a display there. My poor, deprived children.