Sunday, March 28, 2010

Our First Science Fair

Well, it's 10 o'clock on a Sunday night so that means that I finally have time to blog about the CHA (Cypress Homeschool Association) Science Fair that took place last weekend.  At first, I didn't think we would participate this year.  I thought we would just visit the science fair to give us an idea what it is all about.  However, a few weeks before I decided to just go for it and asked Ella if she wanted to do it and she was thrilled.  

I asked Ella what she wanted her project to be about and she said, "I want to do a project about Egypt."  What?!  How do you do a science fair project about Egypt?!  Thanks to Google, I found a simple experiment having to do with mummies at Science Kids at Home (click the link to view the details of the experiment).  Ella is fascinated by Egypt's mummies so this was perfect!

The ancient Egyptians used a natural salt called, natron, to dry out the body.  In our experiment, we tested different salt compounds to find out which one would make the best 'apple mummy'.  We purchased two apples of equal size, cut them into fours and placed them in plastic cups.  Ella labeled each cup and measured the salts that would go into each one.  Our apples sat in a dry, dark place for 7 days and then we brushed off the salt for the big reveal.  In our experiment, plain old table salt made the best apple mummy.  

The hardest part was putting our board together.  While Ella can write, she could not possibly write all of the information that had to be on the board.  So, I printed questions for her to answer in her own handwriting (she thought I was torturing her with all the writing I made her do!).  I also printed out some Egyptian images that she colored and then she helped put all the elements onto the board.  She was very proud of her work and was excited to display it at the science fair.  The judges later came around and asked each child questions about their work.  I was afraid that Ella would be shy and not talk, but she did a great job explaining her experiment.  I was so proud of her!

We didn't talk much about winning or prizes before the fair because I didn't want to get Ella's hopes up.  In fact, she didn't even know it was a competition involving prizes until the morning of the fair!  But to our surprise, Ella won second place in the Kindergarten -2nd grade category!  She received a 2nd Place ribbon and got a tadpole habitat as a prize (so I guess this means we'll be the proud parents of a pet frog in the near future!).

Ella was equally excited to see the work that her friends had done.  I was very impressed with all of the kid's entries.  It was awesome to see how the kids took pride in their work and how they were eager to share what they had learned.  

Of course the solar system model was Christian's favorite display, along with the display about the planet Mars :o) 

The best part of the whole experience was seeing Ella enjoyment in learning.  Perhaps that's what I love best about homeschooling.  I pray that learning would be a lifestyle in my home and that my kids will always have a sense of wonder about God's world we live in. 

Like I always say, there's no school like homeschool!

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