Friday, March 25, 2011

Scientific Method

Abigail was quoted in the Knoxville Sentinel today. She was dressed like Galileo when talking to the reporter. She was so proud that the way the reporter started his article was Galileo was there. "Oh yeah, he's talking about me," bragged Abigail. The irony of her later quote is what is killing me. I must blog about it. Don't mind me as I ramble on about the whole experience. Sometimes this blog acts as my personal journal and our family historian. If you want the abridged version just read the next paragraph and scroll to the end.

I can only blog about this because Abigail is usually a great student. She always scores in advanced on her T-Caps. She is in all Honors classes. She got straight A's her first quarter of middle school. So you can imagine our dismay when a few days ago, Abigail came home with her report card and there was a big fat F in Science. We were appalled.

My friend Rita said that when she saw Abigail at the school it
 reminded her of how they always depict God in the movies.
It wasn't until I took this picture and added it to my blog
that I realized what she was talking about.
We have come to the conclusion that the grade is the fault of three bad combinations: 1- Our neglect due to the move. 2- Abigail's complacency and 3 - We are pretty sure Abigail will eventually be diagnosed as ADHD.

What most people don't understand about ADHD kids is that a lot of them are extremely bright. There is an ADHD subset that usually gets overlooked. They are the ones that do very well in school because they are so bright.

My husband was a kid like that. He was just recently diagnosed with ADHD as a 35 year old adult. Ritalin has been an eye-opening experience for LG. The first time he took the drug, he said to me, "Oh my gosh Alice, my mind is so clear. It's crazy. Just imagine what I could have done if I had some Ritalin while in law school."

Anyhow, back to the story. Abigail brought home this F. It was horrifying. I immediately e-mailed her teacher and talked to her principal on the phone. I am a little worried how this will effect Abigail's placement at her new school after we move. The timing is awful, but hopefully we can get her new school to understand the extreme abnormality of this grade. The good news is that maybe now we can get her doctor and school to understand our concern for her ADHD.  They wouldn't agree to look into the possibility when she had straight A's, but now they will hopefully be able to see a little window into what we are dealing with on a larger scale.

When LG sat down with Abigail last night to review her individual assignment grades it was no surprise to us that Abigail said that on each low grade she had forgot to either turn it in, complete it, or study. She has science first period and even if she does pay close enough attention to instructions, which she often considers non-essential information, it's gone by the end of the day. She is just not engaged by things that don't require real thinking and she is simultaneously totally overwhelmed by the structure in this class. Her teacher has about ten things going on at once and it's just too much for an ADD brain. Her teacher is great and really makes science come to life, but for an ADD kid, the way that she structures her class is brutal. It's been an awesome on-going science project. Who knew that they actually do science projects in a middle school science class?

Let's see. The Scientific Method at work:

1 Ask a question - Does Abigail have ADHD?
2 Do background research - Abigail is normally a straight A student.
3 Construct a Hypothesis - It would be unlikely that Abigail has ADHD given the facts.
4 Test your hypothesis by doing an experiment - Give Abigail a Science Teacher who assigns 6 projects per nine weeks and does very little to communicate with the parents or make sure that Abigail stays on task. See how she does.
5 Analyze your data and draw a conclusion - Abigail failed science yet still received either A's or B's in all of her more structured classes, therefore she probably does have ADHD or just hates science.
6 Communicate your results - That would be this blog post. Do you think I should e-mail it to the teacher? She would be so proud that real science was actually taking place. She might even use it for future class projects.

So, imagine our surprise when Abigail came home the same day as receiving her F all excited about her Galileo project. She was so excited to not just research Galileo but to dress up like him. She did awesome, huh? She got really creative and insisted on dragging out the Santa costume box. Of course it was at the bottom of the stack of moving boxes, but at her stubborn request we re-shifted the whole room to discover the needed beard and wig. Then she told us not to come to her presentation. I think she was trying to keep us away from her science teacher.

Well imagine our surprise when reading this in the newspaper article this afternoon: (Amongst our first failing grade ever, the irony is just a little too much)
Sixth-grader Abigail Gold donned a white wig and beard as she depicted famed early astronomer Galileo for the Living Space History Museum exhibit.
She and other students selected a person in history who had an impact on the space program, designed posters, dressed in period and gave oral presentations on their historical figures. 
Abigail said Thursday's event shows science and math can be fun.
"I've always wanted to be a scientist," she said. "A lot (of kids) think it's boring, but it's my favorite subject."
When Abigail got done reading aloud about herself in the article, Sophia quickly chimed in:

"Abigail what it really should have said is 'but it's my favorite subject', even if I did fail the last nine weeks."

What I was thinking was that it's a good thing that God gave Abigail such a bright mind because if anyone is ever gonna figure out how to beat ADHD permanently, it's her. She has a love for science that I have rarely seen, even if it's a failing kind of love.

1 comment:

Sharlene, Mom, Grammy said...

Very cool that Abigail was quoted in the News Sentinel!! Congrats!

I'll ask Lori for your mailing address and send you my copy. I have to confess: had I not read your blog, I would have missed the article. But if Abigail's photo had been there, however, it would have grabbed my attention. :)

My prediction: Abigail will apply the "science" of something and be very successful!