Grandparents Make Great ”Science Buddies” for Science Project Ideas

Grandparents Make Great ”Science Buddies” for Science Project IdeasOn the way to work listening to the car radio (no, I do not have satellite radio and my grandchildren lament this), I was hearing all the parents calling in and lamenting that their nightmare upon the beginning of the new school year was getting the notice about the science fair project. Yes, this Grandma remembers that well too. In the world today of working parents, this is a nightmare project, adding to the already crowded evening and weekend calendar of modern families.

Then, one of the callers said to take a look at a fabulous website. She said it has 1,500 science fair project ideas. I did. The website is fabulous.

What no caller said is to use grandparents to fill the time gap in creation of a science fair project. I guess that is because so many of us are long distance. According to an AARP study, 43% of us are long distance. However, with early enough notice (listen parents), we grandparents can plan, and help with the project, even long distance.

The website is clever. It begins with a questionnaire about interests and hobbies, and uses the responses to recommend ideas for projects. How much fun would this be to do this together with a grandchild on Skype or Facetime– even if it just to help the grandchild find an idea he or she likes.

I took the twenty six question survey (yes, twenty six questions) as if I were doing this with my seven year old grandson and eight year old granddaughter. There were 223 projects that were recommended, but what was so amazing was that number one was a true winner: “Building the Tallest Tower.” It uses simple objects, Legos, which they love! It is marked easy and takes less than one day. It looks like fun:


 Skyscrapers are impressive structures. What does it take to design a building so tall? Engineers use strong materials and innovative design to push the limits of gravity. In this experiment you will use LEGO® components, rubber balls, and a 3-ring binder.


 In this experiment you will make a shake-table to test if the height of a building will affect its stability.

Then, when you click on background, you get scientific information about the tallest buildings in the world.   This Grandma can already see the back poster board with pictures of the tallest buildings and information about them.

It includes new vocabulary to research, questions to ask, and a bibliography of books you can read.

Background even includes pictures of others’ projects and the results.

How easy are these materials to obtain!

LEGO bricks

Flat LEGO plate, approximately 10 inches x 10 inches

Ruler, metric

3-ring binder


Small rubber balls of the same size, about 1 inch in diameter (4)

Large rubber bands (2)

Then comes the procedure and variations to make the project original and the child’s own. The website has access to on line help, and finally, includes professions that the grandchild might be interested in if he or she likes this project. The vocabulary is easy to understand and the project is appropriate to their reading level.

The project is a winner and the website is a winner. Yes, this Grandma can see how she could help a grandchild long distance to prepare for and execute this project, and help carry the heavy parenting load that today’s parents carry.

Science Buddies also has science games and activities for grandparents to do with grandchildren and we are always looking for interesting activities.

I still cannot get question 17 in the questionnaire out of my mind:

  1. Have you ever made your own video game using SploderT, Scratch, or Gamestar Mechanic?

Hmmm. I never heard of any of these. My next research project is texting this question to my eleven year old grandson and seeing what he has to say about these.







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