Jewish Journal

Science Fair Hell

by Chava Tombosky

April 11, 2010 | 6:21 pm

The time has come where my children are scheduled for yet ANOTHER science fair.  Another hundred bucks at Michael’s spent. Another series of fighting with them to tackle their boards with colored paper, graphs, and photos.  It’s like a dank black dark cloud hovers over our home until April 28th when the project is due.

When will this end, WHEN??

When I was in eleventh grade I was in a private school that had science fairs each year. After 10 years of fairs, 20 backboards, and thousands of dollars in supplies I decided to buck the system with the very skill these fairs had instilled in me.

The hypothesis? 

“I believe I can prove through analysis, graphs, charts, and careful statistics that years of science fair is indeed not only a waste of time and has taught me nothing except how to torment the next generation, clip art supply coupons and invest in trophy companies leading me to believe it should be cancelled for all eternity.”

I was a supreme science fair genius in my day.  I had won first place for nine years in a row. I once made it to the county fair and won first place!  I was what they called “The Science Fair Queen.” 

Yes, I wanted that first place title to continue, but more than anything, I wanted to prove this fair was a waste of time, that parents did most of the work, that the competitive edge was sending our students into emotional collapse, and it needed to be stopped! Stopped I say!

Indeed my findings were correct. Most parents did do the projects for the kids. The amount of money spent could have been put towards other innovative out of box projects like Film fairs, write your own book projects, create your own business enterprise schemes, record or write your own songs, create your own organization that benefits society. Anything could have been given to us through out the years that could have widened our horizons yet the teachers kept giving us the SAME exact annoying, G-d help us, uniform and uncreative irritating diorama backboard project year in and year out to tackle.  Hypothesis, conclusion, title , we get it.  Colored graphs, alright already. Optical illusions- been done a million times! 

I can promise you, I have NEVER once in my adult life ever needed to use a backboard .

No one has ever asked me for a graph.

The only optical illusion I now appreciate is the one my broken scale gives me that tells me I’m five pounds lighter.

So did my lucky streak continue to live on with my science fair “Queen” title? 

Not only did I win first place out of the whole school, the administration decided unanimously that science fair would be cancelled until further notice.  I was beyond thrilled and elated.  I had jacked the system, defied the odds, challenged mediocrity. 

The next year they instituted Torah fair instead.



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My Big Fat Jewish life blog is featured in The Huffington Post and The Algemeiner Journal as well as The Jewish Journal. Chava has also written for Farbrengen Magazine, Soul...

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