Cayden’s Science Fair Project

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Cayden loves music.  He takes after his dad.  I prefer quiet (or a show in the background) when I’m working on something.  I run without music.  Sometimes I listen to a “This American Life” podcast, until I’ve listened to them all, and then I’m back to my thoughts.  Matt listens to music- always! Driving to & from work (news radio now I guess), during work (helps him tune everything else out, no distractions), mowing the lawn, working on the house, paying the bills….  If he can’t sleep at night he pulls out his ipod and headphones.  Not me. It would drive me insane. How can you sleep if there’s any noise AT ALL?!! That’s one thing marriage teaches you, as if you didn’t know it already, but everyone is different. I love it!  I don’t know how he makes it through the day with so much noise rattling around in that head! He doesn’t know how I make it through the day with kid crazy energy & noise rumbling around me 24/7/365…. well, infinity! It’s all good! Maybe that constant noise during the day is why I crave the quiet when I have time to myself. Who knows?!

But whose way is best?

(At least when you’re working on homework)

That was Cayden’s science fair question.

Cayden was pulling for music but he was nervous.

Matt made up 10 copies of lots of multiplication charts, Cayden rounded up volunteers from different age groups and we met one Saturday morning and put it to the test.

First a 1 minute warm up.

2 minutes of math with no music. Look below- they are so calm and peaceful! There was no talking, just working.

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2 minutes of math with soft rock. Look below- Clear agitation, lots of talking, a lot of distress from those trying to do well on their “test,” much more fidgeting.

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2 minutes of math with classical music- Still a lot of movement but not so much talking

2 minutes of math with crazy “Perry Grip” music (Cayden’s favorite thing to listen to while doing homework.  If you ever need to hear a song about burritos or bunnies or nachos, check it out)- The kids go back into crazy mode again

2 minutes of math with no music again. – Silence, concentration

And it showed in the results.  Bada-bing, bada-boom:

The kids did great with the silent section, got worse with each 2 minute block of music (didn’t matter which kind- each 2 minute window was worse than the one before). Then when we finished with the 2 minute block of silence at the end, the results bounced back up (more problems finished and less errors). The only person that defied the results was Cayden, who I think had a vested interest to have “Perry Grip” show improvement and so sprinted through it because he desperately wanted it to “help him with homework.”

(Or else he was desensitized from previous months of music during homework!) 

PS- As an interesting note, one other person in Cayden’s class ended up doing the same experiment and had the same results.

PPS- I learned later that this picture was taken on a day when Cayden was protesting the end of winter by wearing his coat all day (including all through school)

PPPS- It sounds like I run a lot. I don’t- maybe twice a week tops. I wish I ran a lot though 🙂

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