Slice of Life 14: At least there are no exploding volcanoes…

Since having children, I’ve had to do a lot of things I thought I’d left behind long ago, things like book reports, paper mache, and dioramas, to name just a few. Then there’s this weekend’s project: the science fair.

Oh, the science fair. This might be worse than all their math homework put together.

First, there’s Matthew, who finally put together an electronic circuit board set from his birthday last year. Since our project depended entirely on having a circuit board, I was a little nervous as he put it together, afraid that it wasn’t—for whatever reason—going to work. Thankfully, once everything was snapped into place, Matthew flipped the “on” switch and the little red light glowed happily. We then spent some time testing different materials to see if they would conduct electricity. Apparently, strawberries will conduct electricity while Lego figures will not.

Then, there’s Toby’s experiment, which consisted of sorting several dozen jelly beans by flavor. That was the easy part.

What took more time (and patience) was trying to explain how we use not only our tongues to taste food, but also our noses. After we googled diagrams and watched YouTube videos, I think he got it. I think (who can really be sure when you’re dealing with a 7-year-old?). Tomorrow, he gets to work in what I’m sure will be a very dramatic blind taste test of jelly beans. In the first tasting, the subjects—a motley crew that consists of his parents, his brothers, and his grandparents—will guess the flavors of the jelly beans using both their tongue and their noses. In the next round, the subjects try to guess jelly bean flavors, but this time with pinched noses.

What I haven’t mentioned is that we had several jelly bean casualties, thanks to Colin, my four-year-old, who has also been conducting (unknowingly) his own science experiment all afternoon. He got a balloon the other day that he’s been rubbing on his head to make his hair stick up (static electricity!). Judging from his laughter, this is also the funniest thing in the world today.

Tomorrow, we tackle the display boards. Rubber cement, here I come.

slice of lifeThis post is part of the “Slice of Life” series, organized by the teachers at Two Writing Teachers, whose goal is to give teachers a place to write and reflect. This March, more than 250 teachers have committed to daily writing. If you’d like to read more “slices” (from other teachers and even some students), visit


  1. janiceewing

    I love this post! You’ve captured the chaotic joy and torment of being a mom of three active boys!


  2. What an extremely clever slice!! The humor in your writing is contagious. I want more! You managed to make home-made science projects enjoyable and funny – as they should be. I love thinking that it’s a family affair these science projects. Fun for all!! PS – I love the motley crew comment and the very dramatic blind test – hilarious!


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