5th Grade Science by Conlee Ricketts

My daughter had to participate in an “Egg Drop” again for science class this year. Last year she had to create something to keep her egg safe from a two story drop. She had to work on her own, at home, and using any supplies she wanted. This year, at her new school, she had to create a similar device on a team of three with very restrictive measurements.

I am appreciative of the fact that she got to experience the same lesson through two different lenses—solo vs. team, working at home vs. school, having complete freedom vs. requirements. I think it’s okay to repeat certain lessons or activities throughout school because we change, we grow, we know new stuff. It’s like reading a good book more than once, especially before and after you learn all about foreshadowing. But I digress.

This year the lesson was more for me. For twenty-three years I watched the “last minute supply crisis” happen between mothers and children across central Ohio. It always went something like this:

“You need what by tomorrow?!”

“Poster board!”

“Now? Are you kidding me? How long have you known about this? I have to get you home, your brother to his soccer game, and your dad’s working late! When am I going to get poster board?”

“But I’ll fail if you don’t get me the poster board!”

Flash forward to a few weeks ago on a Monday after school. This was the first time I actually got to experience the crisis first hand—but I had it easy—no poster board.

“Mom, we were supposed to bring in our egg drop materials today!”

“What? Today? Where did it say that? Why didn’t I know? Did you get in trouble?” (Side note: I am not even going to mention how crazy my response was—other than to say shame on me)

“No, but it was in the weekly newsletter.”

So I spent the evening rummaging through drawers, raiding my craft room, up the stairs, down the stairs, looking in closets and boxes for any recyclable thing to protect an egg—simultaneously mumbling in some old lady voice.

“Why in the world didn’t I know about this? I can’t believe she sprung this on me! Why isn’t she helping me? Hey! Why isn’t she gathering all this stuff?”

I triumphantly returned to the living room with paper towel and toilet paper tubes, a plastic zippered case from some new sheets, straws, bubble wrap and yarn. I proceeded to lay out the items and list the various egg protecting virtues I felt they each had…daughter’s eyes glaze over.

Yesterday was the field trip to test the contraptions built weeks ago. My daughter’s team had built something that was able to survive both drops—second and third story. Yipee! I was so proud. I tried to use questions that would get more than a single or double word answer. I thought I was being super clever as I began the conversation.

“I’m so happy for your team.”

“Me too.”

“Which design features do you think kept the egg from breaking?”

My daughter went on to describe the shape of her device and the drop procedures.

“What was your favorite part of the design? Something you suggested, or was it the great recycled supplies your Mom sent in?” I joked—sort of.

“Oh Mom,” she giggled, “I threw those in the trash.”

Huh…lesson learned.

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