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SUNDAY, OCTOBER 22, 2006
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SCOTT MORRIS

How to build great pyramids in 1 day

The Great Pyramids of Hartselle Junior High School were not built in a day, with one notable exception.

To solve this archeological mystery we must begin with eighth-grade stepsiblings and their quest to construct a social studies project about ancient Egypt.

Addi and Caleb are a contrast in styles. Addi performs with methodical obsession; Caleb wings it.

With every new school project Addi frets, plans, reviews the plan, discusses the plan, revamps the plan, fine tunes the plan, perfects the plan, implements the plan and calls upon an audience to admire the results of the plan.

In contrast, Caleb has no plan. He calls his dad at work at 4:30 p.m. and mentions that he has to turn in "some kind of pyramid project." Can Dad drop by Kroger and pick up a few boxes of sugar cubes?

Both builders had exactly two weeks to complete their pyramids.

Addi constructed hers of cardboard and other materials that she recycled from stuff found around the house.

She meticulously cut the cardboard into triangles, mounted it on a sturdy base and hot-glued it together. She painted it and sprinkled sand around the base. She created a six-page booklet, hand-decorated with drawings and embellished with stickers. Elaborate gold lettering adorned the cover.

As expected, Addi's project was ready to go well before the deadline.

The day before his project was due, Caleb gathered $5 worth of sugar cubes. He said he chose this material so he could eat the leftovers.

As one who believes a young man should have to claw his way out of his own fix, I watched quietly on the eve of Caleb's construction project. This would be a good life lesson, a hard way to learn to always plan ahead.

Or so I thought.

Caleb sat at the table with an MP3 player rocking in his ears. He nonchalantly glued and stacked sugar cubes onto a flimsy gift-top box, undaunted by pharaoh's looming deadline.

He painted the pyramid brown. For a supporting document he cut a jagged piece of poster paper and used a black magic marker to draw hieroglyphics.

"You're supposed to use color," Addi said, disgusted by his disregard for detail.

"Black is a color," Caleb answered, disdaining any advice from Sister Superior.

When the boy picked up his pyramid, it did the wave like a stadium full of football fans. We placed a stiffer piece of cardboard under it for transportation to school.

In the end, it all worked out for Addi. She made 100.

But what of the Great Pyramid of Hartselle Junior High School, which was built in a day?

It scored a 95.

Addi rolled her eyes when she learned of her brother's grade.

It's just more proof, more proof to her that there is no justice in this world.

Scott Morris Scott Morris
DAILY City Editor

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