April 14th, 2012


Kids Say the Darndest Things, Mars Edition

On Thursday I was one of the judges for the Design A Martian Habitat Contest for students grades K-12. My part of the process was to look over each entry and provide a few comments as well as a grade from 0.0 to 4.0 for Originality, Feasibility, Science and Engineering, Essay, and Total. My comments and grades, along with those of the other judges, will be used in the final determination of the winners. At least two judges will grade each entry.

There were a lot of entries. I got through about half of the ones from the grade 5-8 section. Most of those were from grade 5.

I was very impressed. Almost all of the entries identified the most pressing issues for human survival on Mars and provided plausible solutions to those issues. Many of the essays were very well written and most were accompanied by a vivid and enthusiastic illustration of the habitat design. My hat's off to these kids.

Even the best essays, however, contained occasional phrases that, for all their sincerity, made me laugh out loud. (And I must emphasize that some of these came from essays I graded highly.) So here's a "greatest hits" composite essay with all the bits that were just too much fun not to share. Every sentence below came from an actual entry, with spelling, capitalization, and punctuation exactly as shown...

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