Tackling a 5th Grade Science Project — Tackle It Tuesday

Tackle it Tuesday

April Perry, one of the fabulous women behind www.powerofmoms.com, is joining us again today for another fantastic guest tackle.

Last week she shared a powerful method for tackling our email inboxes and this week she shows us step by step how to turn a Science Project into a stress free way to teach your child about project planning while building a stronger relationship.

I am so impressed with this tackle!

Tackling a 5th Grade Science Project

My 11-year-old daughter came home with a huge packet of science project information a few weeks ago, and the entire family started feeling the stress. Before the world of computers and fancy tri-fold poster board, science projects were a cinch.

I remember hunkering down at my dining room table with construction paper, some magic markers, and a simple sheet of white poster board; I felt pretty excited to turn in a project about plants that didn’t grow when I kept them in the closet.

But today’s children have a lot more pressure. They need charts and graphs, digital photographs, and well-written hypotheses. It’s enough to overwhelm the children and the parents.

Instead of letting the stress get to me, I decided to apply the principles I learned from David Allen’s best-seller, Getting Things Done, and show my daughter that projects don’t have to give us headaches. Here’s what we did:

Step 1:

We read through the packet of information and made a list of tasks based on context. My daughter got out a little sticky-note pad, and she divided her tasks into the following categories:

On My Own
With Mom @ Home

Science Project Task List

Step 2:

Each day we started checking things off the list, depending on our energy level, schedule, etc. When we were out at the mall one evening, my daughter said, “Since we’re running errands, can we pick up the poster board and notebook I need from the art store?” Fifteen minutes later, it was done.

When I was helping the other children with their homework after school, my daughter did the typing and research she’d already determined she could do on her own (and even though she was a little timid at first, it turned out great).

On the days we didn’t have anything planned, we looked at the list of things we needed to do together. Her project was to see what would happen to a loaf of bread when an ingredient was left out, so one day, I stayed in my pajamas until noon while we mixed up five different little loaves of bread. Then we ate the tasty ones for lunch.

science project

The greatest part was that whenever my daughter would say, “Mom, I don’t want to do the Science Fair,” I would say, “Don’t think about the whole project. Just think about your Next Action. What is the next, specific thing you need to do?”

Since she’d already taken the time to identify each task, it only took a second for her to figure out the Next Action, and she became much more calm and confident as the project progressed.

Step 3:

We set a date on the calendar for when we would put the entire project together. Prepping each component of the project wasn’t too difficult, but we knew we needed an entire evening to print and assemble everything onto the poster board. Our little three-year-old LIVES for projects like this, and we knew involving him would spell “catastrophe.”

When my other daughter and husband bought tickets to attend the Daddy-Daughter Dance at school one Friday night, we decided that would be the perfect time to have our own party (science-fair style), so we put it on the calendar and didn’t worry about the details one bit. We tucked the three-year-old in bed and had such a fun time cutting our print-outs, chatting, gluing, and enjoying our work together. We even learned to make photo collages together using Picasa, and she was so excited to make the background purple.

Alia's Science Project

Tackling the Science Fair together strengthened our relationship, gave me a chance to teach my daughter about project planning, and even provided a tasty lunch. The smile on her face when we finished that project was priceless. (We’re already brainstorming for next year . . . .)

Written by
April Perry
Co-Director of The Power of Moms

April Perry is the mother of four children and the Co-Director of The Power of Moms. For more about organizing your emails, tasks, projects, and paperwork, check out her Mind Organization for Moms program (the 25-page Start-Up eBook is free right now to those who join their mailing list–or you can get the whole program free by sharing The Power of Moms with 30 friends).

What are you tackling this week? Link up your Tackle it Tuesday post…

Tell us what you’re up to with all your other tackles… housework and otherwise… add your link to your tackle in the MckLinky below!

Each week on Tuesday, we are posting before and after pictures of a project or trouble area that we tackled this week.

Find out more about Tackle It Tuesday here.
The project can be little or big – whatever you want.

Basically, Tackle It Tuesday is about giving ourselves incentive, deadlines and satisfaction in getting our household tasks done.

(It doesn’t even have to be housework… just whatever is on your To Do list.)

If you tackled a project this week, just add a comment and add your link below.

Here is a fun thumbnail style linky…

If the thumbnail Linky doesn’t work for you — or you prefer the old style, you can enter in the linky below.


  1. says

    April, you are so my hero!!!

    I honestly have already learned so much from you in our conversations and in these two guest posts. I can’t wait to dig into your eBook. You are truly a Power Mom!

  2. says

    Wow, April, this is amazing! What a great plan for doing any school project! I feel like I should use this method, too! My girls are at a school this year that doesn’t assign homework, but I wish I’d had this plan last year – it would have saved us all A LOT of stress. I’ll definitely use this plan when we have to tackle homework again…

    • says

      Isn’t it just amazing Anne? I’m going to definitely remember to attack school projects like this when my girls get a little older.

      And I know I need to follow all April’s advice in how to tackle MY own projects.

  3. says

    “The greatest part was that whenever my daughter would say, “Mom, I don’t want to do the Science Fair,” I would say, “Don’t think about the whole project. Just think about your Next Action. What is the next, specific thing you need to do?” ”

    That’s great advice! I love how through a science project, you are giving her so many great tools for life…

  4. says

    Thanks so much for your kind comments, everyone. David Allen is the brilliance behind all this. His book, Getting Things Done, totally inspired me and took a ton of stress out of my life. I’m just trying to take the business principles from his book and put them into a format that works for moms (because if anyone needs it, we do :)).

    The full Mind Organization for Moms program on http://www.powerofmoms.com is designed to help moms enjoy their families by getting rid of all the stress involves with projects. Good luck, everyone!


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