Thinking On Her Feet

This week I have really been impressed by Middle Sister’s ability to think on her feet.

She missed 4 days of school recently, and was behind on a “partner project” on volcanoes. Her partner visited here on Sunday and they used what was left of Little Brother’s playdough to make a small volcano, with a plastic cup in the middle so they could do the “vinegar+baking soda+red food coloring” eruption.

When she took the little volcano to school, she discovered that playdough does not stick well to a plastic cup. The whole thing fell apart.

Yesterday she was trying to figure out how she could salvage the project–on her own, because now her partner is sick. She had a vague idea that involved an empty water bottle and some bathroom-size paper cups. I offered to take her to Target to pick up some clay so she could get this done. (Amazingly, Target was quite empty at 5:30 on a Wednesday evening. More amazingly, I did not blow up at Middle Sister for needing to take a field trip to Target for supplies at 5:30 on a Wednesday evening. All was right with the world.)

Middle Sister took her clay, paint, water bottle and paper cups to the basement work table and got busy. Little Brother got busy watching, and reporting every so often that she was making something “awesome.”

He was right. Using a toy volcano from Little Brother’s dinosaur bucket as a guide, she put a few paper cups upside down and the empty water bottle in the middle. The whole thing was covered in the clay, which she painted brown, with streams of red running down the sides for the lava. I gave her a funnel so she could pour in the vinegar when it was time for the demonstration.

And then this morning she discovered that it’s not wise to paint wet clay. The clay had absorbed most of the color! She quickly ate and got dressed and painted the now-dry clay AGAIN, found a box big enough to put the project in, and got out of here in time to make her bus. I think the volcano looked even better on the second painting.

Little Brother was right. She did an awesome job. Even more awesome was her willingness to figure out how to improve upon her first failed design, and her insistence on making sure the project looked good when it was time to bring it to school. And I think she deserves extra credit for her resourcefulness, and her lack of complaining that this time she had to do the work alone, since her friend is home with the stomach virus. She has really made me proud.

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