Monthly Archives: December 2015

Defining Gravity

This week was our last week at the West End House and we ran an awesome activity about gravity. It is such a difficult concept to explain, but we had some great tools. The leading mentor first gave an explanation and then the girls tried it out by timing had fast it took different objects to fall.

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Then they watched a really neat video actually taken on the moon of someone testing gravity by dropping a hammer and feather and seeing if they fell at the same speed. They did of course! That brought us into discussions of air and friction, which caused some friction, but we made it through 🙂

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Then we started a really neat demonstration. The mentor brought in an awesome stretchy sheet, which represented space. By dropping a bowling ball in it, we could sort of see what gravity might look like around a star. The girls had a blast sending little balls of different sizes or planets (which they had to name before sending off) spinning around the star until they crashed down into the sun.

They had a good time and hopefully understand a little better what gravity is.

 

DNA Derby

We attempted to convey to the girls the concept of DNA by extracting it from fruit! This is no easy feat and one of our new mentors took this on in the first activity she was leading. Many of them had never heard of it before and we also had our biggest turn out yet with probably over 15 girls, which was wonderful, but quite a handful! We started off with pictures and explanations and moved into a game where each of the girls were nucleotides and got to make up a line of DNA code that coded a protein that created a certain eye color.

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Then the girls went to work extracting their DNA, which is where the derby comes in. The first step is to mash strawberries to pieces! They had a blast and I think only one bag exploded.

Then we created our concoctions to do the extracting and break open the cells.

Then the DNA floated up to the top of the water like magic and formed huge clumps!

They got to put these in adorable little microcentrifuge tubes, which they could take home with them and then started the process all over again with bananas! 🙂

Needless to say, they had a blast!

Bouncy Balls to Beautiful Bodies

We’ve had two wonderful activities to report about from before the Thanksgiving break! The first was run by Angela where the girls performed some chemical feats to create bouncy balls! After some trial and error with food dye, they figured out the perfect concoction 🙂

Our next activities was run by a first time activity leader, Shaida! She lead an activity to teach the girls about human anatomy and it went wonderfully. She wanted to teach the girls about all of the systems in the body, so she wanted them to recreate their body on sheets of paper. She got all sorts of amazing materials for this.

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The girls traced their outlines onto brown sheets of paper.

Then to teach them about each of the organs, we had them cut out stencils and then cut organs out of different sheets of paper that were supposed to be coordinated with a certain system. We had high hopes!

Eventually, we made it to adding different strings and wires to represent veins and other connecting parts to complete our 2D bodies.

They got pretty complicated and our girls creations were pretty impressive! They definitely learned about some of the different organs and what they do 🙂