Theresa's Mixed Nuts: 3rd Place!

Thursday, February 7, 2013

3rd Place!

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?


  1. Cheaters spoil it for everyone!!! It is not fair to the kids who play fair... Pisses me off!!

  2. I agree that it should be completed by the kids (with minimal help from the parents like spell check, etc). It's not a fair contest when the kids who do the legitimate work have to compete with grown adults who do their kids projects for them. But kudos to your daughter for coming in 3rd - that's awesome.

  3. Always hated science fairs as we were made to do them. But yeah it is very pathetic when a parent does all the work, just to gloat about their kid winning. Congrats on third though.

  4. That always bothers me too. I mean, how is a kid supposed to learn themselves if their parent is putting all the effort in for them? It's ok to help when needed, but you should always encourage them to attempt it themselves on their own as much as they're capable of doing. I think there's SO many parents who want to reap the benefits for themselves, instead of letting kids do their own work, which is unfortunate. Good job Allison, it looks like she did a great job! ;)

  5. It's sad when these things happen. At least Allison's was hard-earned :)

  6. First of all HUGE congrats to your daughter for making third place! That's a big accomplishment and she should be so proud! I am a former teacher at the elementary level and I couldn't stand to see the projects that parents brought in. Most were clearly done by the parents or an older sibling. I know that parents are supposed to be there to offer help and suggestions along the way, but unless the student really applies him/herself the concept will never be learned. I used to see a lot of parents actually completing homework assignments for their kids too. I mean, do they think teachers don't look at it, and identify a different handwriting? We are with these kids for the majority of the day and year...we know our students' handwriting! (I actually called a few parents on it, and boy were they embarrassed as could be!) Sometimes I think parents do things like this to make it easier on themselves, so they don't have to invest the time it takes to actually sit and help/explain things. Very sad that things like this happen.

  7. Congratulations to Allison!

    I hate it when parents do all the work for their kids, too. It's not fair to any of the kids (the ones who do it themselves are judged against adults, and the kids who don't do the project, miss out on a chance to do something creative and learn from it).

  8. He looks like a good girl, happy, lovely Thirdly, congratulations.

  9. I agree. I don't like when parents do the work for their kids. What is that teaching them?

    I have to say when I was that age I won the Ice Cream Social poster prize that was done once a year. A judge thought my dad did it. :( I did it. Looking back on it now, I saw it, and it was ugly. My Dad totally didn't do it. It made me mad to think that someone thought I didn't work on it. He helped me. He showed me how to shade with colored pencils. That's about it. The rest I did. I was lucky to have materials from him. That was an advantage for me. He was a middle school art teacher. Obviously art was my thing. I ended up majoring in it. Now I teach it. If my Dad did that, I'd be pretty disappointed in what he did. It was not his style. It looked good for my age at the time, but horrible for his age and ability!

    Last year Mica did the Science Fair. Daddy helped him make a record player out of a box. Mica did the work. Daddy made sure of that. Mica painted it. He put the needle on, he wrote about it. Daddy just helped him understand what he was doing through YouTube videos. Trust me the sound was horrible. I kind of felt that Daddy went above his level. I did see Mica putting it all together, writing and practicing the reading part. Anyway he won 2nd place.

  10. Congrats to Allison! That's great she worked hard to do it and got rewarded!

  11. That's been a pet peeve of mine forever and a day.

    Hands-on learning is meant to be a teaching tool...and it's a good one, but it cannot be an aid if it isn't the child doing the work.

    Congrats to your daughter on placing 3rd, that rocks!

  12. congrats to Allison winning on HER OWN effort! I'm all for kids getting rewarded, but for something they did for themselves. If we help them too much, they will just learn to be dependent on us, and won't understand how to work hard for something.

    Ai @ Sakura Haruka

  13. Heartiest Congratulations to Allison. It is wonderful that she achieved 3rd place doing the work on her own. You have every right to feel very proud Theresa. That is true achievement!

  14. Kudos to your daughter on a job well done! I have always liked that method of "placing" for kids competitions.

    The whole kids science fair really reminds me of Toddlers and Tiaras and Dance Moms - parents living vicariously through their kids. It can be down right scandalous!

  15. Wow! Good job! And yes, don't bother about that stupid mom. She didn't know that what she did was actually not helping at all for the child when they grew up. Your daughter certainly earned it!
    Oh of the thing I love about school was this kind of projects :)


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