Remember when you were in Elementary school and you were forced to participate in those obligatory horrific Science Fairs? For a right-brained, song and joke writing fool like me, any type of scientific hypothesis followed by the ridiculous (and mostly obvious) conclusion were pure torture. I think I did my Science Fair project on Solar Energy. That is to say, the sun is hot and can cook things if left in it for extended periods of time. We had an ultraviolent lamp in our house (I don’t know why either) and I held my arm under that thing for hours on end to prove my point. Sure enough, I had a watch tan to prove it (I also probably failed the class and created a massive melanoma risk in the process), but that was the 80s and no one cared about over-exposure to UV rays.

Suffice to say, I didn’t think science was really relevant to my daily life. I was either chasing boys (beating them up) or playing sports. I wasn’t all that concerned about photosynthesis.


(new feature that I just made up).

When I was home at Christmas, I got to spend time with my cousin Shelly and her family, including 14-year-old, 8th grader Jessica. When I moved away from Ohio over 10 years ago, Jessica was a pre-schooler. She’s now at least 5’6” tall (towering over me by at least 5 inches) and one heck of an athlete…Soccer is her spot du jour, but judging by her height and strength, she’d also have no trouble making a spot in the WNBA or replacing Kerri Walsh on the Pro Beach Volleyball circuit someday (even though her Dad may have something to say about that).

When I saw them on Christmas Eve, they were excited to tell me about her Science Fair Project (Well, her Mom was anyways). Jessica’s chosen topic was:

Which Sport, Soccer or Basketball,
Will Burn More Calories in a One Hour Practice?

Look at the force of that kick! I hope that other girl is wearing a cup! 🙂

BRILLIANT!!! Now THIS is good stuff with REAL purpose! We’re so used to reading and hearing about the obesity epidemic among our youth, but no one is bragging about the kids who are fit and understand the importance of an active lifestyle. Believe me, until about 8 years ago, I underestimated the importance of being fit and healthy. That’s why I’m so passionate about it now and so proud of Jessica’s insight and passion for sport.

She wore a heart rate monitor for both sports and concluded that:

1.) Longer endurance sports (soccer) burn more fat calories because you’re in your lower HR Zones

2.) Shorter Bursts of effort (basketball) burns sugar calories because you’re in your higher HR Zones

Both forms of exercise are, of course, beneficial to your overall heart health, but one hour of soccer did burn more calories overall. Her entire report was well written and well cited, but the few quotes that really stood out to me were:

“A women’s heart rate is generally higher than a males because of the stress women carry (Rinzler 45).” (AMEN SISTER!!!!!!!!!!)

“The heart is imperative in the survival of the body.” (Yes, I would agree)

“Also, when the body intakes more calories then what is being burned it results in weight gain.” (I know that all too well)

“The reverse is true if the body burns more calories then what is being eaten. This will result in weight loss.” (She makes it sound so darn easy)

“Generally a man and woman consisting of the same weight average cannot take in the same amount of calories and still weigh the same. A man’s muscle mass helps burn more calories than women. Typically, the men are bigger which results in more muscles to feed. A man can intake over 10 percent more than women and still weigh the same (Rinzler 32). “
(and that is precisely why women have more stress than men!)

“Fat can however, be good for the body because of the nutrients it carries.” (Yay!!!)
“Although, too much fat is fatal to the body because it can cause diseases that can eventually hurt or kill the body.” (Boo!!)

Congrats Jess and nice work! I don’t know what your teacher gave you on the project, but your creativity alone earns an A++ in my book!!
(Now, stop growing so that you don’t accidentally step on me like a bug)


  1. Dave says:

    *small voice* But…I liked science fairs. And I try to avoid any violence in my household appliances. 🙂That sounds like a cool project, good choice for your hero!

  2. Trihardist says:

    I’m with you. Hated science. Still do. Don’t ask me how I ended up in health and fitness. I guess love of fitness has overcome my fear and loathing of biology.Sounds like it was a good back-to-basics reminder. Gotta have that heart to keep the body going!

  3. Amy Farley says:

    p.s. – i think my 2009 new year’s resolution just became…”Make CArrie’s Tri to Be Funny Hero of the Month List”. 🙂~Farley

  4. Rural Girl says:

    I agree on the need for us to commend our children who are fit and active. I read your post below. 24 weeks to CdA?! Wow! That’s exciting. I wish you all the best for the upcoming season.

  5. ShirleyPerly says:

    That is a great project for an 8th grader! I remember doing one about the behavior of ants in 7th grade. Turns out I violated some rule about not killing any creatures in science projects (oops).

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