School Projects

I walked in the house this afternoon and my daughter spoke those dreaded words: “I’ve got a school project.”

This particular project is for art class- create a bug out of food. Oh, how I love these projects. My pocketbook will take a direct hit, and I will end up more involved than I wish to be. For starters, a thirteen year old can’t drive. So with a giant internal sigh we set out to buy supplies. After three kids, I have plenty of projects under my belt:

Pyramids and teepees, state dioramas constructed on a rolling cart, and the edible projects.

My three children attended the same private elementary school  and ended up having the same teachers, four years apart. So I had the misfortune of creating each of these projects three different times.

In fifth grade the big project was constructing a pyramid. My oldest son and I went to the local crafts store and found really cool soft clay “bricks.”  Unfortunately, we struggled to build the pyramid shape correctly. My mathematically challenged brain could not figure out how to get the pyramid to stand up correctly. My son gave up and eventually so did I. We abandoned the bricks and he created a poster instead.

The rolling cart was a problem, because we are told the dioramas must be displayed on a wagon. We did not own a wagon, so I had to create something that had wheels and would hold the unsteady diorama. I do not remember exactly how I did it, perhaps I’ve blocked it out like most bad memories. In the end I do recall the “wagon” that I constructed kept listing to one side.

The edible cells that all three kids had to make wins the prize as my least favorite project. Maybe it’s just me, but wasting food for a project irks me. The kids all swear they will eat their cells, but in each case, the child discovered the icing, candy and jello combinations just didn’t taste as good as they thought.

Why do teacher’s create such projects? I am a teacher and I am constantly aware of a parent’s budget. I am not going to suggest expensive or wasteful assignments that can strain their wallets.

The bigger question is, did they learn anything from creating a cell out of jello, icing and gummy worms? In retrospect my kids will tell you that they didn’t learn cell parts from an edible model, but they did learn a lesson.

Don’t mix orange jello with gummy worms, icing, and smarties.

© annettealaine-2012


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