Help us with a good title and decor for 4th grade science fair project
April 24, 2014 4:18 PM   Subscribe

We can't figure out a good title for my daughter's Science Fair Project. The school wants the 4th grade children to basically do the whole project at home with guidance from the parents. My daughter's experiment is on why apples turn brown and she is learning about why the lemon juice worked (learning about acids and bases, etc.) The poster board we will use will have a title on it. The teacher wants us to think of a good title, and it does not necessarily have to be the question, "Why do apples turn brown". It can be a clever, or interesting title that goes with the experiment. At first we thought about, "An apple a day keeps the doctor away." But then we thought it was too long, and it also might be presumed that her project is about apples and how they are healthy.

So does anyone have any ideas about a title?

Also, since we are not bringing old brown apples with us (we will be doing a chart about findings and will have a photo of the apples on the board) daughter wanted to bring something else that could sit in front of the poster board. We came up with the idea of a bowl with apples and lemons it. Anyone have a better idea that that?

Thanks so much in advance!
posted by lynnie-the-pooh to Education (20 answers total)
Judging fruit by it's color?
posted by pennypiper at 4:20 PM on April 24, 2014

I am a first grade teacher and I think the best title and decor will be the one that is directed by your fourth grade child :-)

Seriously, please let your child take the lead on this.
posted by mermily at 4:22 PM on April 24, 2014 [31 favorites]

Does she have any favorite books about apples that she could make a word play off of?
posted by vignettist at 4:34 PM on April 24, 2014

I think if you put some pealed apples in lemon juice mixed with water they'll stay white. To cheat buy a bag of cut apples from the store... washing off the preservative may get them to brown on site as well but test that first.

You could name it The Apple Bunch (totally could theme here) but most likely your kid wouldn't get the reference.
posted by AlexiaSky at 4:34 PM on April 24, 2014

How are you peeling? is the name of a feelings book that's super cute and involves fruit. Bonus points if you make faces with the apples.
posted by AlexiaSky at 4:36 PM on April 24, 2014 [1 favorite]

How Do You Like Them Apples? - science and old-timey historical film appreciation, it's cross-disciplinary!

Or, you could go Ingmar Bergman and use something about corruption and decay and the inevitability of death and human striving to beat back the abyss.

BTW, another interesting fact I came across, no idea about the science behind it though, is that according to Chiquita
If the bananas you buy are too green, you can put them in a brown paper bag with an apple or tomato overnight to speed up the ripening process.
posted by XMLicious at 4:42 PM on April 24, 2014

XMLicious' fact is correct; bananas, apples, and tomatoes are all climacteric fruit and will speed the ripening process when the ethylene gas they offput is trapped by a container such as a brown paper bag (I use a glass cake case, myself).

For the title, I favor "When Life Gives You Lemons."
posted by Juliet Banana at 4:54 PM on April 24, 2014 [1 favorite]

If she is taking suggestions, I'd go with Apple Brown Buddies.

At her grade we did reports, not experiments (grr) so I ended up making clay representations of the items I needed (diseased lungs).
posted by tilde at 5:00 PM on April 24, 2014

Brain Over Brown:

a look into apples' appalling secret.

by Lemony Nippedit
posted by jamjam at 5:20 PM on April 24, 2014

You're already halfway there; I would just build on to what you have: "An apple a day keeps the doctor away...but what keeps the brown away?"
posted by NoraCharles at 5:56 PM on April 24, 2014

Just in case it gets lost in all the clever, I agree with mermily. Let the youngin decide.
posted by Glinn at 8:17 PM on April 24, 2014

Turn that brown upside down
posted by benzenedream at 9:02 PM on April 24, 2014

Use a nice big science word like OXIDATION. Make the Os look like apple halves and color a few brown spots on them.
posted by maggieb at 9:59 PM on April 24, 2014

One simple trick to banish brown apples for good!
posted by misha at 10:02 PM on April 24, 2014 [1 favorite]

Oh! You know, she could bring an Apple Brown Betty to place in front of her project board, too.
posted by misha at 10:04 PM on April 24, 2014

I'm a teacher. Of course you have excellent intentions, but you keep referring to your daughter's 4th grade science project as something "we're" doing and you're using AskMe for her homework?

Please step away from this project. Let her call it "Whye Du Aples Trn Brwn," get yourself a cocktail, and call a friend.

Let her do this.

Please stop saying "we."
posted by kinetic at 3:15 AM on April 25, 2014 [9 favorites]

I want to add that as a teacher there are a few reasons I'm saying to back away:

* first, teachers can tell when parents have worked on an assignment. It becomes impossible to accurately assess the child's developmental arc or learning or grade them because we don't actually know what the child did and what the parent did (but confidentially we assume that the kid didn't do anything). In future years, this can result in the child being placed in either too-high or too-low level courses where they can become frustrated and begin to hate school. Imagine also that you will not be helping your kid on high-stakes testing, so the school administration and educational staff will have a demonstrable disparity between your child's testing performance, their in-class ability, and their homework ability.

* second, this gives kids a subliminal message that you don't believe in their ability because you need to help with their work. Their effort will never be enough because they're not smart enough and you don't believe in them.

* third, at some point you will NOT be able to help them. Perhaps taking Russian or Trig or Ubuntu. And they have not learned an appropriate skill set to get help or how to study because you always done the hard part for them.

* lastly, think of all the kids whose parents didn't/couldn't help them and they're looking at your daughter's super-fancy project and now they feel like crap.

Don't screw up the playing field for everyone.

Don't help your kid with their projects, please.
posted by kinetic at 4:43 AM on April 25, 2014 [5 favorites]

Your job in this is to buy the apples, lemons, poster-board and markers. Then sit back and let the learning happen. Let her impress you with her mad-skillz.

It's so tempting to involve yourself in the project because it's fun, and it's an activity and you hope that your daughter remembers this time fondly as a bonding moment for parents and kid. But the danger is that all of your hopes and wishes overrun the purpose of the project, which is to teach your daughter to organize her thoughts, create a display that relays those thoughts cogently and to show something of the scientific method.

So go to the store, get the crap, and clear off the dining room table. Then go into the family room and watch some TV.

Seriously, step away from the apple.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 5:42 AM on April 25, 2014 [5 favorites]

Thanks to everyone for their comments. I appreciate all your wisdom. Metafilter is the best!
posted by lynnie-the-pooh at 7:07 AM on April 25, 2014

Nine year-olds do need help from their parents for science projects, though, especially when the teacher is telling the parents to give their kids 'guidance' as they have to do the whole thing at home.

Ideally, the science teacher should have taken all the kids through the process, explaining the scientific method, hypotheses, controls and variables, how to record their observations, etc. many times, preferably through labs, before this assignment even came along. In reality, that First Big Science Project is almost always a nightmare for which everyone is not fully prepared.

It is one thing for the parents to do the project themselves-- which yes, I agree, is obvious and spoils the playing field for everyone else--and quite another for them to make sure their very young child stays on task working on a major project after she has already put in a full day at school, every day for however many days (and weekends!) it takes to get this thing done.

Lynnie-the-pooh, if you got your daughter to go through all the steps and accurately record all the data instead of procrastinating, throwing a fit, getting bored and wandering off or just writing down whatever sounds good so she can just be done already, jeez, you did a GREAT job and should be getting a pat on the back here instead of getting lectured. Congratulations!
posted by misha at 11:54 PM on April 25, 2014 [2 favorites]

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