Friday, December 14, 2012

We are about to do science(ish)

Tonight was Nix's science fair. Do you remember when science fairs were all baking soda volcanoes and potato clocks? Ah, the good old days. Now you read about kids advancing cancer research and what not. It has gotten a bit out of hand, but what else is new, right?
Nix and her two partners based their project on the theory that a teenage girl's self esteem would be positively affected by seeing retouched pictures of herself in they same vein as what they do to models in magazines. The idea was spawned out of Nix's hatred of school picture day. Since I work with a photographer on photo editing, she knows what a difference it can make. You make a picture of a girl when she is at her most awkward age, skin messed up, and still learning what to do with girl hair, and then you wonder why she has a poor self image.
To sum up the results, the girls who said that they're self image was affected by pictures they see of women in the media had an increase in their self esteem after seeing their own pictures altered. Also, many of the girls were shocked to see themselves significantly altered in the last phase of the experiment. It actually made a few girls sympathetic to models who have their own images manipulated on a regular basis.
The board turned out fantastic. The girls picked a great color theme with lots of sparkle, and chose a peacock mascot named Monty to really draw the eye. It seemed to be getting a lot of attention from students and parents tonight.

Nix learned several non-science lessons.
1. In the end, the flash and show of the project board counts more than the work. The teacher warned them of as much when they started. I've done a tiny bit of research and I'm not sure this philosophy extends beyond our school and might explain why they do not have a good track record at regionals. There is just a touch of irony to all of this since her project is about getting girls to stop looking at the falsely perfect images and feeling bad about themselves.
2. For better or worse, you will know your partners a lot better by the end. Sometimes good friends make for good work partners and sometimes it is a disaster. For the most part, she got the better end of that, but there were certainly moments.
3. Find each member's strength and use it. If someone isn't pulling their weight, work around them and find something that occupies them.
4. Sometimes good work gets overlooked because a person doesn't know how to present it. Other times, mediocre work gets praised because it is in a pretty package. It was their goal to have both the solid work and the shiny package  for this project.
5. If you tell a waitress that you just won a spot in the regional science fair, she will give you free dessert.
That is right, they won! The school gets to pick 10 projects out of the 200+ to go, and their's was one of them. We are proud and a little stressed that it still isn't over for us, but mostly proud.
Last night I was a little on edge with all the last minute putting together and in my late night loopiness I started a poem that I want to edit and little and post here as a reminder of all the fun.

'Twas the night before the science fair, and all through the place,
people were stressing and giving new lines to my face. 
No one was nestled or snug in their beds, 
while visions of data floated through their heads. 
While I in my flannel and her still in tights,
 organize papers and tried not to have fights.
 When up in the office there arose such a clatter,
 I sprang from the couch to see what was a matter.
Away up the staircase I flew in a flash,
Stubbed a toe on the doorframe and gave my knee quite a bash 
The dew on the forehead of the young teenaged girl
 told me immediately trouble soon would unfurl. 
When what to my wondering eyes should appear, 
but a finished display board and nary a tear. 
With a little blue peacock whose feathers were thick,
I knew in a moment that it would just do the trick.

Alright, that is enough for now. If they make it past regionals in February maybe  I'll add 3 stanzas and throw in a song and dance to go with it. No promises though. 

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