Monthly Archives: June 2016

Volunteers of the Year!!

Our year has officially come to an end and what a year! We did a pretty good job each week getting the girls to come back with consistently high attendance throughout the year. In our second year after re-vamping, our activities have also greatly benefitted from the work we’ve put in and only got better if they were repeated. We also incorporated a bunch of awesome new activities that were a hit. My favorite activity that I planned was the chromatography activity where I actually got the girls to believe someone had stolen the candy. Watching them run a real test and find out it was me was beautiful.

To celebrate the successful year, The West End House had an end of the year event for all of the students, volunteers, and staff who make the West End House the amazing haven it is. They had food for everyone, a few performances, and gave out awards.

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The BU GWISE Girls Science Club was absolutely honored to collectively receive the Volunteer of the Year Award!

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Thank you so much to everyone at the West End House! We love working with all of the staff and students and are looking forward to a great next year. Thank you to all of the wonderful mentors who make this club possible and to all of our amazing girls who are so smart and brighten our lives. Until the fall!

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Farewell Birds

This was our last activity and we were all really sad, but it was a blast of an activity! Angela taught all of us about birds. We went over the key things that made a bird a bird like beaks, wings, and feathers and learned about all the things they eat. Then we went into a bunch of awesome stations where they learned about different parts of the birds. My station was the microscope station. Angela had borrowed a little microscope and I was surprised by how much the girls loved to look at all the different feathers Angela had collected. To be safe, we also had them wear gloves and wash their hands because scientists have to make sure they don’t pick up anything from their samples.

The girls also apparently thought it was really cool and actually took pictures of it too!

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That made me really happy.

The next station was where the girls could design their own birds by using a bunch of books and writing down and drawing the kind of bird they wanted. We came up with some neat ones with awesome names 🙂

The last station is where they learned about what the birds eat in the context of making bird feeders! They were pine cones with peanut butter and seeds. Angela had an awesome picture of her bird feeder, which she put out one day and which was entirely cleaned off the next! The girls thought that was pretty cool.

Then everyone joined back up and shared the birds they made.

Radost also made a special treat for them. We have been having them re-write and sign words of the day on sheets of paper, which have the word and a picture of the object. Every week we’ve had a new word and Radost made color copies of all of these pages and put them all together into books for the girls! They were really excited to see a sheet where they had gone to the activity and signed their name. Brilliant idea Radost!

Radost will actually also be taking over as the main coordinator next year, which we’re all really excited about! On top of that, we have a new addition to our team of leaders! Aurora, who has been a mentor for the last 2 years and has already lead some wonderful activities will be joining our team. We can’t wait for next year!

Liquid Nitrogen Treats!

This was an awesome activity. Last minute we pulled it together and had liquid nitrogen brought in to show the girls. First we talked about elements and how you have oxygen in what we breath in and carbon and oxygen in what we breath out, but the vast majority of air is actually nitrogen! Our word of the day was nitrogen. They really picked up that when nitrogen is liquid, it is around -320 degrees! This was helpful in getting them to think about relative temperatures. We talked about how hot it is on a sunny day in the summer and on a freezing day in the winter to give them some context. Then we actually brought out the liquid nitrogen, which they thought was amazing. They loved the clouds it made.

Then we did some experiments with it by putting things like a flower and some gummy bears into it to see how they froze and would shatter.

The last thing we did was make liquid nitrogen ice cream of course, which the girls absolutely loved.

I love how they are always really excited about re-writing the word of the day and signint their names.

We also gave each of them one of the flowers we hadn’t smashed and they gave me a gift at the end too. They let me take a lovely picture of all of them, which I really appreciated 🙂

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Sound Science

Aurora ran a wonderful activity about sound! We learned about sound waves, actually saw sound waves, and made our own instruments. The first part of the activity was visualizing sound, so the girls got to play their favorite song into a cup with cellophane and sugar on it and watch the sugar bounce around in response to the sound waves.

Then we moved into the creative part of making our own guitars with boxes and rubber bands. A lot of the girls discovered that the size of the bands effected the sound and that vibrations caused the sound. There were also some incredibly creative guitars with impressive straps and handles.

Then everyone got to share their guitars and describe what they made. Then we all played a song together 🙂

Building DNA

This activity was related to some previous activities about DNA. The girls had extracted it from strawberries and bananas, but we wanted to try and explain what DNA really is. Therefore, we told them about how DNA is the instructions for every part of us and they have their own language and alphabet. We told them about the nucleotides, how they only pair with one other nucleotide, and come in sets of three.

Then, to understand the actual structure, we had them build DNA with twizzlers and gummies with each of the nucleotides being a different color. They got a kick out of this!

We have some interesting shapes, but given a key some of them actually were able to code their own people. Every three nucleotides coded for one characteristic. It was pretty neat!

Molding Microbes!

This week Raquel taught us about microbes. We started by thinking about different sized animals from big (blue whale! elephant!) to small. Raquel told us that some animals are so small we can’t even see them unless we use a microscope which the girls decided was pretty much like a pair of glasses. We discussed good and bad microbes and where they live…the girls were not into the idea that there were microbes in our bodies and our food!
Raquel had brought photos of different microbes and we got to guess what type of microbe lived in different types of food like cheese and moldy bread. Raquel even had kimchi for us to smell. The strong smell of kimchi is from microbes living in the food!
Raquel had made modeling clay and each girl (and some of the mentors) got to design their very own microbe. They had to come up with a story; what was the microbe called, where did it live, what did it eat, and how did it move? We shared our microbes with everyone at the end and the results were very creative!!
The microbes lived in soil, our bodies, pizza, and somewhere called dolphin land!
They had names ranging from the descriptive to “Lisa,” “Dolphin,” and “Blueberry”
They ate everything from dirt to fish to mangoes (lots of mangoes)

And the way they moved often had something to do with their shape such as rolling, spinning, flapping, and wiggling!