in which peas are stacked on a plate

Anna’s working on her science fair project right now, and I am happily sitting in the next room. The “parental involvement” thing always gets skewed when it comes to science fair projects. So, while I encouraged this particular project and helped her organize a few things, she’s found something that she can do completely on her own.

Full disclaimer: I funded the project in its entirety. I’m not sure if she’s going to acknowledge this on her $7 poster board (which I also purchased), but I suppose it isn’t a big deal since her entire supply list goes like this:

  1. bag of frozen peas

And that’s it. She’s stacking peas, 100 at a time, in various states (frozen, raw, and cooked) to see which stacks the best on a plate as she adds one at a time in the same place. She takes a picture and measures dimensions (height and diameter) of each pile o’ peas.

When she tells friends what she’s doing they tend to laugh or raise an eyebrow. Genius is so misunderstood. Besides, her friends are measuring the absorbency of paper towels, the science fair project that has plagued science fairs in all schools since Moses. (Although at the time of Moses, they did the absorbency of stone tablets, though with much less success.)

A few weeks ago, Anna, Grace and I were at the store where they had small notebooks on sale, and I got them each one for various purposes: journaling, sketches, stories, and science ideas. An excerpt of Anna’s looks like this, typed verbatim:

Sience fair progets

  1. paper airplanes.
  2. stacking peas.
  3. How does the World spin?
  4. How big do pe[n]cils get? [in reference to a giant pencil she saw in my office that day, a cherished gift]
  5. How big is space?
  6. How long has the Earth been Earth?
  7. How does balencing bird balence so well?
  8. How are stars made?
  9. Why do cars need gas?
  10. Why do people litter?
  11. How are mountains formed?
  12. How do trees and plants grow?
  13. How long will it take me to sing my ABC’s?
  14. How do circles (gears) work? [I can’t remember what she was talking about here, but there’s clearly some context.]
  15. How do people grow?
  16. Why does when mentos and coke mixed together it blows up?
  17. Why did france give us the statue of Libertey?
  18. How does electresety work.
  19. Who was the first person on earth, and how were they born?
  20. How many pieces of bacon are in a pig?

I run the risk of ruining this list with any further comment.

Anna’s now eating her science experiment. The peas, that is. Not bacon. Maybe next year.


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