Thursday, March 21, 2013

Bowling for Science

Last Tuesday the Common Household Son competed in the Science Bowl for Southwestern PA.  He was the captain of his team, which came in second.  The first-place team now has to go on to compete in Washington, DC. in April, but Son gets to relax at home that weekend, and so does his mother.  This is better than being first, and ranks right up there with coming in second in the county spelling bee, thereby winning a gallon of chocolate ice cream and a dictionary, instead of having to study more spelling words.  (This is what happened to me in 6th grade, in Lowndes County, Mississippi.) 

When my husband asked him what prize he won for coming in second, Son said, "A yo-yo."  In reality, the second place team wins money for the school science department, and each team member gets a bag, a cap, a yo-yo, a rubik's cube, and a squeeze toy in the shape of Albert Einstein (the “rubber effigy” of my previous post).  Alas, no chocolate ice cream.

Getting more mileage out of Albert Einstein's presence in our house.

I asked Son what some of the questions were, but he said he didn't really remember too many.  One of them was about an unpressurized rubber duck and buoyancy.  No, maybe it was an irrepressible rubber duck?  I'm not sure.  And something else about Doctor Evil, exploding things.

When we tried to leave the Science Bowl, the director said, "Wait!  We need to record an interview with the second place team before you leave." They put the whole team in front of the camera, put a microphone on Son and said since he was the team captain, he was the only one who was allowed to actually talk.   I thought, Great. They are going to ask him open-ended questions, and he's going to say, "I dunno" or "-grunt-" which are his usual responses to my questions.  Much to my surprise, he answered all the questions cogently and coherently, with no grunts.  This proves my theory that children save their most 'interesting' behavior for their parents.

I think it was an uncompressible rubber duck.

My son was in the Science Bowl and I got this cool name tag.
For me!  Even though I am not a scientist!
I wasn’t able to attend the Bowl itself, but I had the opportunity to have lunch with the kids on the team, thanks to extraordinary arrangements made by one of my favorite teachers at the high school.  These kids are fun, funny, and give me hope for the  future – hope that their knowledge of uncompressible rubber ducks will lead one of them to come up with a solution to the world’s energy needs, a way to build longer lasting bridges,  and maybe even a better way to detect colon polyps than a colonoscopy.


Cassi Renee said...

I'm all for the perks of second place :-) We have a "faculty of the year" award, and I refuse to submit anything when I'm nominated because if by some very slim chance I actually won I'd have to give the Commencement address that year. What?! How is that a reward for us introverts?

Your son is someone I'd like to have lunch with, and if his friends are similar I'm sure it was an enjoyable date.

Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

Isn't that the truth about kids being on their best behavior for everybody else?
Yeah, second place is OKAY sometimes when you look at the "obligations" involved with winning.

Suburban Correspondent said...

Hey, I was a 6th-grade spelling bee loser also - 4th place, though, instead of 2nd. I didn't get any ice cream, though - just a very, very large dictionary and a trophy.

The Crislers said...

I was a 2nd place county spelling bee placer, too! I got a certificate. Looks like I should have grown up in Mississippi.

I also got really stuck on your spelling bee reference (see previous paragraph), and wasn't really paying attention throughout the rest of the post, which led me to wonder just what the heck it was that your son misspelled. Buoyancy? Rubber ducky?

Then I re-read the whole thing and it all made sense. Congrats to your scientist son!