Out of this world experience at the Museum of Science! March 26, 2012Posted by Science Club for Girls in Clubs, Events.
Tags: cosmic, Museum of Science, sleepover, STEM, topology
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by Kirsten Blancato, former mentor at Myrtle Baptist in Newton
On the morning of March 3rd, I was a bit confused when I woke up surrounded by images of galaxies, nebulas, and planets. I quickly remembered though that the girls from several different Science Club for Girls groups and I were having an out of this world experience on our overnight stay at the Boston Museum of Science!
Aside from getting to sleep in the awesome Cosmic Light room in front of the Hayden Planetarium, we explored nearly the entire museum, and enjoyed many fun, hands-on activities including:
- Being fossil and bone detectives
- Seeing a live turtle, snake, and tarantula
- The world’s largest indoor lightning show at the Theater of Electricity
- An amazing show at the Hayden Planetarium
- And a captivating Omni movie about migration!
The Mathematica exhibit was particularly interactive and really got the girls excited about math! Here are the girls enjoying a display of Kepler’s laws of planetary motion:
Overall, our sleepover at the Museum of Science was engaging, a great learning experience, and definitely fun! The girls were exposed to many different exciting fields of science and had a blast!
All Girls Rocket Team Trial Launch Field Notes March 10, 2012Posted by Science Club for Girls in Clubs, contests, Teens.
Tags: aeronautics, competition, girls, rockets, teens
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This year, our rocket team is participating in the Team America Rocketry Challenge again. We’re two of 15 teams competing from Massachusetts.
With guidance from mentor-scientists Timothy Dawson-Townsend and this team at Aurora Flight Sciences, Lizz Judge from Draper Labs and grad student Natalya Brikner from MIT’s Aero Astro Department, the two teams have been using a simulation program to design their own rockets that can meet these contest rules.
- Target altitude of 800 feet
- Duration of flight should be between 43-47 secs
- Payload is two raw eggs
- Gross liftoff weight of no more than 650 gms
- Rocket motor total impulse limit of 80 N-s
The girls built their own rockets and put them to the test last month. The weather was good, but a rather stiff west wind made it a little brisk! They were really proud of themselves, AND the lesson about testing and redesign was indelible.
Please make a donation so we can buy more motors. We think the teams cam make it to the national finals, which will be on May 12 in Washington DC. Please help us send them there!
Here are the exciting results of the test launches.
Launch 1: Decent flight, only about 600′ altitude, though.
Launch 2: Ditto, one fin failed, so we had to re-glue it.
Launch 3: Bumped it up to a larger motor to get more altitude, and bigger parachute to slow it down. HOLY COW! Altitude 796′ and time 48 seconds – that’s a score good enough to go to the finals! But it was a practice.
Launch 4: Counting as a qualifying launch, we kept everything the same, and got a decent, but not stellar flight, 786′ and 58 seconds.
Launch 1: Catastrophic motor failure on the launch pad was just enough “umph” to lob the rocket 20 feet into the air, with no parachute deployment. Came down nose first into the dirt, burying the nose cone 5 inches into the mud. Miracolously, the eggs survived! Did require minor repair before launch.
Launch 2: A good launch, but despite being taped on, the nose cone departed from the payload section, and the eggs were ejected from the payload, from about 600′ up. Needless to say, the eggs did not survive. =-(
Next launch in a few weeks while the girls refine their designs and rebuild. Stay tuned and let us know if you’d like to come join us!
Update: April launch
MadSciMag: cultivating a new generation of citizen science journalists December 20, 2011Posted by Science Club for Girls in Teens.
Tags: girls, journalism, media, Science
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What a pleasure to partner with BetterBio and its brilliant founder Khadijah Britton this fall to launch MadSciMag, a science, media and journalism program “where teens drop mad science”! The theme of the inaugural issue is “What’s in that stuff?”
One team of girls met weekly in Cambridge to do research, develop and conduct interviews, and collaboratively produced a piece about endocrine disruptors in water–bottled, canned, tap, river–you name it. Here’s what they found out. Oh, and they designed the logo and site look too!
“A simple act like buying a can of soda can change everything. Little do you know that this little bottle of joy, meant to quench your thirst, ends up badly affecting the planet.”
- Imani V. Abraham
Another team, the Sciencettes, based at Lawrence CommunityWorks, were equally furious and passionate to find out and share what’s in the beauty products they use everyday. (No comments about the “girliness” of it please. Read the article for their rationale for choosing this topic). They took a field trip to Living Proof and even tried to develop their own brand of non-toxic lip balm. Read about their experience here.
We are passionate about keeping our bodies and communities healthy, and we want to spread the word.
Delighted that the inimitable Gladys Gitau who founded What’s Good in the Hood co-led the Lawrence project and that we changed her mind about science! And many thanks to Microsoft Cambridge for hosting the team.
Please comment on the MadSciMag site and let them know what you think. Help us encourage the next generation of girl scientists and journalists!
The power of close looking: Science Club in Ghana December 2, 2011Posted by Connie Chow in Clubs.
Tags: ghana, girls, Science
How many items do you use regularly that has a battery in it? Have you really thought about a battery as a curiosity?
In a classroom without electricity, and where homes are either unlit or evening chores are done under candlelight or kerosene lamps, a dry cell, or battery, is certainly not an every day item.
And while simple circuits are taught in school, and the girls in our science club can draw a diagram and tell you which end is supposed to be the positive, it was a moment of discovery for them to hold a battery in their hand, and find out for themselves, that “+” sign.
It’s a simple act, but there’s power in realizing that you don’t always have to take your teacher’s word on faith. That the physical world is connected to your flat text book drawings. That you can find out information about the world yourself, if you only looked carefully.
And that is the curriculum that we shared with the teachers in Pokuase, Ghana this past week. Thanks to the Science House Foundation, we delivered two digital microscopes – one standard and one handheld –to this peri-urban town. Lucky that one is powered by a laptop and the other by batteries. Which means that we can use them in the schools that have incomplete circuits for electricity.
The teachers discovered new worlds looking at paper, cloth, plants, their own hands and the girls will too. Using The Private Eye Project‘s principles, which develops the skills of close observation, drawing, analogy making (yes, poetry is allowed), and hypothesis making, we created a curriculum that will help girls develop the skills of creative thinkers, scientists, artists and inventors. And most importantly, for them to find their voice and trust in their own senses.
Can’t wait for the girls’ final project to make a wall quiz with their diagrams, paintings, poetry and riddles of the objects literally under their noses. They’ll discover that nothing is commonplace!
The teachers were so enthusiastic during the training that we forgot to take pictures…
Founders of Harvard College Science Club for Girls inspire front page story in the Crimson September 30, 2011Posted by Science Club for Girls in Mentor volunteers, SCFG News.
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We’re so proud of Eva Gillis-Buck and Meredith MacGregor, (now a graduate student in astronomy), who have been such wonderful role models for our girls, and dedicated volunteers who believe in paying it forward.
Understanding the importance of these types of role models inspired Gillis-Buck and Meredith A. MacGregor ’11 to launch the Harvard Science Club for Girls this past spring. The program sends Harvard women and other female scientists into schools each week to mentor young girls and foster enthusiasm about science.
“We’re not just there to convey information, but to show them that science can be fun,” Gillis-Buck says. “That you can be a scientist and have lots of interests and not look like Einstein.”
Read the article here, which also describes other campus efforts to keep women in science and engineering through mentoring.
And check out their great website and other officers here.