The Pig Project has been a staple of second grade at my kids’ school for several years, and like the Turkey Project, it is one I have come to despise and dread.
The Pig Project centers around a foam rubber pig, roughly the size of a baseball, which the second graders are instructed to dress as a notable historical person, place in a diorama of their own creation using a shoe box, and research/write a report about that notable historical person.
Who came up with this project, and why? Well, all I know is that it came about because somehow or other, the school acquired hundreds of pig-shaped stress balls from a bank that closed its doors. I kid you not. I have no idea why the school would want hundreds of pig-shaped stress balls, but in so acquiring them, somebody came up with this project as something to do with all those damn pigs.
And of course this is a take-home project, not one that is done in class.
Do you have any idea how difficult it is to dress a spherical object as a person?
I have no beef with learning about notable historical people. What I do have a beef with is the dressing an animal figure as a person (what is the educational value of that?), the diorama that is to be created at home (the time and expense involved, as well as the age-inappropriateness), and the fact that here we have once again a research project when no research skills have been taught.
I would be perfectly comfortable raising my concerns with the teacher and bowing out of this project like we did the Turkey Project, but my second grader is more concerned about fitting in, doing what her classmates are doing, and pleasing her teacher (that’s a whole other beef I have – when did it happen that kids see their teachers as higher authorities than their parents?). So, she’s doing the project, with a great deal of help from her older sister (because I refuse to get involved on principle, beyond buying the materials needed for her to make her diorama based on Jane Goodall). I know very well from past years that the vast, vast majority of these projects which will be on display in the classroom for Open House, will have been very obviously completed by parents. What is the point of that?