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RG13.4 science projects

March 22nd, 2008 by dk

Middle-schoolers across the country are this month huddled around posterboard and dioramas, competing for the best projects to be displayed at Science Fairs in gymnasiums everywhere. The best projects and experiments flow easily from the best ideas, but sixth graders may not yet be reflective enough to recognize a good idea when it comes along. So here, as a public service, are a few questions I wish a sixth grader would answer for me:

  • Why do some people whistle easily, even naturally, and others can’t learn, no matter how hard they try? Is it nature or nurture? Does it run in families?
  • We all know that soaking a pot with burnt food at the bottom makes washing it easier, but how long a soak is optimal? After how much time is the soaking really just procrastinating?
  • Why don’t more people learn to tie their shoes in a way that still uses a slip knot, but doesn’t loosen? (It’s no more complicated than an extra loop around the thumb before pushing the lace through the hole.) Won’t this make people’s lives better? Or is the Velcro industry somehow preventing it?
  • Why do people say “It’s me” when somebody they called answers? Is anything ever said that’s more obvious? (Related inquiry: why do some people purse their lips before signing off, saying “Mmmm-bye-bye”? Is it something only done by people who can’t whistle?)

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