18 January, 2011

Do not touch the spaghetti!

I was amused to find this note on my 11 year-old's door this morning.

He doesn't usually keep spaghetti in his room, but this is a special event. Every year the middle school science department at his school run a "big" event. This year it is spaghetti bridge building.

The students are given a packet of spaghetti and a bottle of glue. Specific maximum and minimum dimensions and left to build the strongest bridge they can. In April this will happen:
Yes, the teachers will try to destroy the bridges. At least they will use this device to see how much weight the bridge will hold before it breaks. 

The irony is that the man in this picture is my husband. As head of Science at the school he's a bit involved (he bought the spaghetti, for example). This photo was taken three years ago, the last time they ran this event. Back then he taught middle school science too, so he had the honour of smashing the bridges!

Now we get the other end of the experience - a student participating in the event. Our son is super excited. Everyday he is coming home from school with a huge amount to tell be about his plans. Usually he blurts it out over the top of his brothers chatter and whatever else is happening in our busy household. However, even if his timing were better, I'm not sure I'd be able to understand his raving. He has it clearly visualised in his mind, it is just not so easy to describe to someone else.
So, it is exciting for us to see it starting to take shape. I hope his enthusiasm doesn't wane too quickly - as he realises how slow a process it is to build a bridge with spaghetti and glue!

My only other thought is thankfulness that we have enough room for him to have his own room and desk to do it on. I've heard plenty of complaints from other parents in years past about this. These conversations have always been a bit awkward - being married to the "perpetrator" of their torture. Hopefully it won't be too torturous for us now the bridge building has made its way into our one house.

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