Thursday, March 10, 2011

Mr. Science

Submitted for your approval, one fully-realized, three-dimensional model of a Deoxyribonucleic Acid molecule in all its iconic double helix glory. If you look closely, you can see the base pairing that bonds the Guanine to Cytosine and the Adenine to the Thymine.

Technically, this representational model belongs to my 14-year old daughter and was her official science project entry in Ms. Simons 10th Grade Honors Biology class. But who's kidding who here? This artfully crafted masterpiece is mine.

Who sifted through all the crap in the garage and spotted a plank of old particleboard shelving?
Who fired up the circular saw -- which by the way hadn't been used in quite some time--and cut a perfectly proportioned rectangular piece to function as a base?
Who sawed off the long dowel piece and positioned it perfectly in a skillfully drawn hole in the middle of the plank?
Who glued that dowel in place with just the right amount of Gorilla Glue and finished it off with sandpaper so that it was furniture-grade perfect?
And who rigged the 18 gauge aluminum wire to accommodate the blue and purple balls? (OK, I should probably know what those balls are if I'm going to claim credit for this, but my daughter had to do something didn't she?)

The point is, and I think I had a point going into this, is this what education has come down to? Arts and crafts? When I was in school, I don't think I had to make anything more elaborate than a drawing of a rhomboid. If I were ever assigned something that required a circular saw, my father would have sent me to garage to make it myself. Then he would have had another shot of scotch and added, "And keep the noise down, I'm watching All in the Family."

In any case, Ms. Simons is handing back the projects next Monday. I hope I...uh, we...get an A.

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