Allison's school just had it's yearly Science Fair. It is totally optional if the kids want to participate or not. Allison tends to struggle in science, and since participation includes extra credit towards the science grade, we figured she better participate. After getting on Google to find some ideas that wouldn't be too complicated for her to come up with a project, we let her get to work.
She got to explain her project to judges during school and came home and told me how nervous she was and how sweaty she got from those nerves.
The night of the science fair she quickly found her project and was thrilled to find that she was awarded 3rd place! She wasn't the only one who got that though. They grouped the projects first through fifth, as well as awarding "participation" ribbons to the others.
As I walked the gym looking at the projects, I was a little shocked at what I saw. Projects that were out of the comprehension range of 3rd graders, and some beyond my own lol. Looking at my daughter's science fair project, you can clearly see that it was done by a 9 year old. Looking at some of these others made me wonder who exactly put the work forth in their experiments?
As I was studying the grand prize winner, I overheard a mom bragging about her background in science education and how it helped "her" win the fair. To be honest, it irritated me. Not because I thought my child should have placed higher (frankly, I'm still kind of shocked she even got 3rd lol) but because I feel that HER child should have done the project with minimal help. What message was she sending to her kid? I'll do the work and you reap the rewards? I may be in the minority here, but if my child wins something, I want it to be because SHE earned it. Not because we did the work for her.
What are your feelings on this? Am I way off base thinking that children should come up with their own ideas, work on their own projects, and not rely on their parents so much to win these types of fairs?