When I was in seventh grade, I was in Advanced Science. We did all sorts of cool stuff, like use microscopes and figure out our blood types. Or, at least we thought we figured out our blood types … I discovered years later that mine was wrong.
Anyway. We dissected frogs and cow’s eyes and even fetal pigs. In hindsight, this was sort of a waste – what seventh grader is really getting a lot out of dissecting a fetal pig? Wouldn’t that be an activity better suited to a high school biology student? But I guess 12-year-olds are safer with a scalpel than your average 17-year-old, so perhaps there was a method to the madness.
Seventh grade also meant science projects. These trimester-long projects were so grown-up and so stressful. Each student had to come up with a hypothesis, a procedure, results, and a conclusion. The project was student-driven and culminated in a long research paper.
Well, long as in five pages. Long for seventh grade.
My science project was measuring the impact of water pollution on horticultural growth. Or, rather, testing the impact of watering mustard seeds with laundry detergent.
I know. I can’t believe it wasn’t picked up by Scientific American either.
I had trays and trays of mustard seeds. The control group was watered with tap water. The test group was watered with a combination of tap water and good ol’ liquid Cheer. I carefully measured the amount of liquid poured on each plant, and I carefully measured the height of each plant.
The conclusion? Watering your mustard seeds with liquid Cheer isn’t a good idea. The plants were smaller than the control plants.
The next trimester, I think I did a variation of the same experiment, but tested eastern sunlight versus western sunlight in addition to the liquid Cheer. If memory serves, my dad had a TV tray of mustard seeds right next to his closet, as this was the best spot in the house with eastern sun. The man should get a medal.
I don’t recall the exact conclusion of the east / west sunlight debate, but the learnings of the first study held true: liquid Cheer ain’t plant food, people.
So, it was an experiment gone somewhat awry. But I still learned some stuff. Like how being a scientist is a pain in the ass. And that clean water is good.
I’ve drawn conclusions to a more recent experiment: going off Zoloft isn’t a good thing. Can I live without it? Yes. Is my quality of life better without it? No. I’ve been going round and round, having trouble getting out of bed, being anxious about everything, but still being sort of OK … and a whole lot stubborn. And finally, this weekend? This weekend, when I stood in the first sunshine we’ve seen in forever and instead of feeling joy, I felt panic because spring means having to clean up my yard? And then I had to take an Ativan just to get my sorry ass out of the house to go to yoga? Well, I drew my final conclusions about going off Zoloft.
It was an experiment gone somewhat awry. But I still learned some stuff.