Monthly Archives: February 2016

Secret Valentine Codes!

In tribute to the approaching Valentine’s Day, our activity this week was holiday themed. Radost put together a wonderful activity getting into the nitty gritty of binary code! I have to say, it was pretty impressive how quickly the girls caught on and how well she taught it 🙂

As you can see, the girls were so excited, they couldn’t wait until the end of the lesson to start writing in binary.

After that, Radost had made an adorable set of secret Valentine’s Day messages the girls had to uncode. They loved using the key with the 0s and 1s for each letter to figure it out. There were a bunch of different colors and every single sheet had a different message.

Then the girls got to write their own messages in binary code! Talk about working on literacy! Some of them really took it to the limits by creating their own codes or writing really long, super sweet messages!

We couldn’t keep them in paper to write their messages on!


Then, at the end, we weren’t expecting this, but one girl decided she wanted to present all of the code she had both de-coded and written and sure enough, everyone followed suite. It was adorable.

Hopefully we’ve created some future programmers!!


Magnetic Madness

This week our attractive activity was magnetic 🙂 We asked the girls what makes something magnetic. We had some good guesses, strength, water, and even positive energy! To understand magnetism in our lives, we set up a large square with a bunch of every day materials in them like hangers, paper clips, rocks, soda cans, etc.

Then the girls made hypotheses about which materials are magnetic and tried to fish them out with a magnet on the end of a makeshift fishing pole. Everyone got multiple chances.

We made two groups of what was magnetic and what wasn’t and talked about the differences and what surprised us.

Jamie then introduced the word of the day, magnetic field, which she showed them using iron filings and a bar magnet.

It was pretty awesome because the girls got really excited about the fields and understanding that south and north were attracted to each other and north and north and south and south repelled each other. It was really beautiful and infectious to see a couple of them state their hypothesis that they could show this with the two bar magnets and test it. We were pretty proud 🙂

The girls then made their own levitating devices with two magnets and decorated them.

Lava Love

What an activity! One of our hit activities made a reprise and the girls loved making lava lamps. It is so true that each time we do an activity, it gets better and this was no exception. Angela lead the activity and explained density with a demo of objects floating or sinking in water.

The word of the day, however, was insoluble, which was perfect for this activity. After that we started the construction of our lava lamps! First the girls put a little water in the bottom of their bottles. Then we poured in vegetable oil and asked them to observe whether they mixed or not and whether or not they were insoluble. Once they saw that they didn’t mix and were therefore insoluble, we asked, which was more dense.

We had them draw the oil and water on a worksheet and then we let them choose 5 drops of food coloring of any combination of colors and added it to their bottles. We asked them what was happening and had them describe how the food coloring went through the oil down to the water and there were some great moments where the girls understood that the food coloring was made with water, so it was also insoluble in the vegetable oil!! I thought that was pretty exciting.

Next we let the girls add alkaseltzer tablets! We talked about the reaction that was happening, how it was creating a gas that was causing the colored water to bubble up to the top, and how you couldn’t leave the cap or the gas would build up. Here are some before and after shots.

The girls loved it. They were really excited! Overall the activity went really well and the girls had a blast.


Welcome Back!

We had a great start to 2016 with an activity focused on introducing the research that each of the mentors do do the girls in the club. We started off by having them draw a scientist, their perception of a scientist. They all drew pictures of scientists with potions and crazy hair and lab coats and all sorts of fun things. Then we had them all sit in a circle and on a big poster with the outline of a person, they all drew all of the things they had put on their little pictures.

We talked about what they put on the picture and why. A part of the idea behind the activity was that we wanted them to think about whether their scientists were men or women and interestingly, the girls actually were asking whether or not they could make their scientists men. It was pretty adorable and good to know that they are getting our message that women can be scientists.

Then we set up an activity to introduce them to other famous women scientists. There were pictures of the woman scientists connected to pictures of projects we had done in our club that were related to the work of the woman scientists. Then there were a set of mixed up pictures below those two pictures of the work of the woman scientists, which they had to connect to the correct scientist. It went really well! The girls were able to discover things like how Rosalind Franklin worked with DNA the same way we extracted DNA from strawberries and bananas. They were really excited to see all of the activities they had done too.

After that They each got a table of all the subjects of study of each of the mentors. They then had to go around and find out which  mentor worked in which subject and got a sticker when they got it right. It would have been better if at the beginning we had all talked about what kind of research we had done, so they had something to go by and if there was some way of having this be a test for them, but we’ll hopefully be able to improve that next time. Once they got everyone, we enjoyed a special treat I had made for all of them. I baked cookies and we all sat around and ate them while all of the mentors talked about our work and they asked us questions.


All in all. It went really well and it was a good beginning to the semester!