Reflections of Knowledge at the Anti-Cruelty Society!

On Friday, May 29th, roughly 30 Sisters4Science from Ariel, Funston, Woodson, and Carter gathered at

ROKthe Anti-Cruelty Society downtown to share some of their favorite hands-on activities from the spring semester, and celebrate a year of hard work and dedication.

Greeted by Precious, the Anti-Cruelty Society’s Ambassador Dog, the girls filled the room with excitement, fueling up on pizza and getting their activities ready to share with the entire group. Natasha Smith-Walker kicked off the program, thanking the girls for all of their hard work, and welcoming the parents and scientists who were there to support them.

Small groups from each of the four schools gave short presentations of their favorite activities, showing how they work and explaining the scientific principles behind them. Crowd favorites included “banana sutures” from the Funston girls (supported by surgeon and frequent S4S guest Dr. Florence Mussat), explanations of luminescence and density from Ariel, lessons on making elephant toothpaste from Carter, and tornados in a bottle from Woodson.

Elephant toothpaste 2

To end the program, the dynamic STEM facilitators presented each of the girls they’ve been working with all semester with a certificate to acknowledge their dedication and growth.

Thanks to parents, scientists, and friends who came to support the Sisters, including the Motorola Mobility ladies from the recent Spring Science Camp. The knowledge, humor, and teamwork of these wonderful girls have made this a great year for S4S, and we hope to see them all back in the Fall.

Dr. Mussat and the Funston crew

S4S is made possible with support from the Chicago Foundation for Women, Department of Family and Support Services, Siragusa Foundation, and the REAM Foundation. Essential partners include Logan Square Neighborhood Association and Citizen Schools. Facilitators chilling

NSW laughing 3Banana suture 1

ED Natasha Smith-Walker with the Motorola Mobility ladies


Final Ariel Meeting!

May 26th, 2015 – written by STEM Facilitator, Nedum Aniemeka

May 19 - 5 With the end of the season Reflection of Knowledge just a couple of days away, the girls are hard at work finishing their presentations for the special event! Today, the girls had some time to add more detail to their presentations and were able to practice their projects. Most of the girls have experience talking in front of people but they wanted to make sure they were comfortable enough with the material that they could present it clearly to the audience. What a great idea!
To start off the day we did a quick physical activity. The girls wanted to do something that would give them a quick energy burst, so we decided to do a quick game of Shake It Out! Shake It Out is basically a way for you to shake out any stress and tightness you may have in your body. To start, you shake one arm 10 times by counting down from 10, then you shake the other arm, then your legs in the same fashion. You continue shaking each limb and count down each time until you’re eventually left with no shakesMay 19 - 3! The girls loved it and were ready to continue on their projects by the end of the activity.
After that, each of the girls worked on finishing their presentations. Antoinette was one of the first to finish, so she practiced her presentation for me. She was great! After that, Shaniya, Alanah, Antimia, and Lyric also got to practice their public speaking. The girls seemed super prepared and I can’t wait to see them present at the Reflections of knowledge event on Friday!

Girls’ Health and Science Day 2015!

STEM Facilitator-at-large Angelina Jaimes, shares her perspective on the recent Girls’ Health and Science Day, which took place May 22, 2015 in the SSA Building on the University of Chicago campus.

photo11The 15th annual Girl’s Health and Science Day was a BLAST! Nearly over 100 girls from different elementary schools (i.e. Peterson, Funston, Fiske, Woodson) presented themselves at the lovely campus of University of Chicago for a day of learning and fun. The students were part of various seminars that covered topics concerning health and wellness.

The day started off with good energy with the keynote speaker Dr. ShaVonda IMAG2840Fields providing the girls with motivational words such as “Education is Key,” “Health is very important, our body is our temple we only get one body need to take care of it,” and “Be optimistic, have good faith.” As summer is right around the corner, some beach balls were tossed into the air not letting the ball hit the floor.

Girls had the opportunity to attend five different seminars.

In “Girls Run The World,” presenter Dr. ShaVonda Fields encouraged the girls to become “vagina experts” and become comfortable with their bodies. According to facilitator Kiara Byrd, girls from Peterson Elementary School mentioned, “Dr. Fields should come to our school and teach sex education.” Pointing out how critical experiences like this are, several girls told me, “I feel comfortable here, I cannot ask questions about sex to my parents because then they will think I am having sex.”

In “The Proper Physique: RAW Experience,” presenters Olivia Gomez and Martin Hayes taught the girls about eating healthy to control menstrual cycle cramps and their digestive systems by consuming organic foods such as kale and flax seeds to make a delicious green smoothie, and to use natural resources such as apple cider vinegar and witch hazel instead of company products to control acne. Girls said the “Green smoothie is delicious,” “Where do you buy the flax seeds they taste good,” “ I am going to go buy apple cider vinegar and witch hazel for my acne instead of Proactiv.”

As part of “Girls in the Game,” the girls learned the dancing steps of the Beyoncé song “Move Your Body,” from the Let’s Move Campaign directed by the first lady Michelle Obama. Girls said “This was fun, I love dancing. I am going to apply to the Girls in the Game summer program.”

IMAG2856_1Girls were also introduced to yoga, learning yoga poses to control stress and breathing such as Pranayama, downward facing dog, cat pose, and plank pose. They learned how to meditate using music and bells such as gongs and Tibetan bowls. Girls mentioned, “Yoga is fun, so relaxing.”

Lastly, in the seminar “Digital Footprint” the girls learned how important it is to think about what they put on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat – not only because it defines who they are, but to be safe. “Think twice before you put anything in the internet because it can come and haunt you,” girls said after the seminar. “I didn’t know schools check Facebook and can take away scholarships, I will be more careful with my selfies.”

During lunch break there was a Q & A in which the girls had the chance to ask questions to nurses from the University of photo6Chicago Hospital. Some of the questions were “ How can I get longer hair?” “Could I get something by licking someone else?” “ Why is my period really heavy?” “Why do I get gray hair?” “How are babies made?” The nurses were friendly and nice, answering the girls questions honestly.

This day was not only a day of learning, but also a day of fun to mingle with girls from other schools. The day ended with the girls receiving a lovely goodie bag with a toothbrush, toothpaste, chapstick, and tickets to the Brookfield Zoo. More importantly, photo13the girls left with their minds filled with knowledge about health and wellness. Everyone had an AWESOME day. We thank the presenters, facilitators, PE directors and coordinators for putting this event together. As the quote says, “Health is a state of complete harmony of the body, mind, and spirit.”

Almost Ready for Funston’s Demonstrations!

May 22nd, 2015 – written by STEM Facilitator, Eugenia Ruiz
May 22 - 1 The girls at Funston Elementary were beyond ready for today’s Sisters4Science session. It was the week before Reflections of Knowledge and they already had an eventful day at Girls Health and Science Day.To start off the session, we all sat around in a circle and talked about our favorite parts of the day. Lizette Barrios said that her favorite part was the yoga session. She had never done yoga before and it was an interesting May 22 - 2experience for her. Another student, Emely Concepcion, said that her favorite part was learning about the healthy ways to eat.
For the rest of the session, the girls got to work with creating their posters. There were three presentations: Sutured Banana, Radios, and Rockets! The girls each got their supplies and split up to work on the presentations. Emely and Lizette worked on Sutured Banana they had a chance to practice with Dr. Florence Mussat. Lizvette, Victoria, and Lizbeth worked on Rockets and recreating the experiment they learned from Dr. Judy May 22 - 3Lubin the week before! Julie Astudillo, Julie Concepcion, and Niyah Simpson worked on the Radio presentation that they learned from Dr. Michelle Harris. I had the girls write their presentations on bright colored posters and they used bright paper to use as their titles. It was fantastic to see the girls enjoy working together for their presentations. They were all ready for the Reflections of Knowledge! Now to just wait for the day to come. Until then!

Rocking at the Woodson WOW!

Tuesday, May 19th, 2015 – written by STEM Facilitator, Kiara Byrd

May 19 - 2 The WOW Event is finally here!!! The Woodson girls were anxious but they were more than ready to show people how much fun they had being scientists. This day was big for some girls to show their parents what they were able to do on their own. There were some girls were a little more nervous. Alana came to me that she was a little nervous and said because her family usually don’t come to events to support her. I told Alana that she is an amazing girl and that I would personally take pictures of her presenting and let her have them to show her family what they missed out on. She gave me the biggest hug and thanked me. This only motivated her to be even more focused and ready while presenting. She did an AWESOME job.

At the WOW, guests were able to roam and visit the experiments of their choosing. This May 19 - 4allowed the girls to present more than once which is great practice on how it is to present to multiple crowds. With the tornado experiment, Rachel did a great job in explaining the importance of knowing how a tornado forms. Denay did a great job in presenting the purpose of the experiment and what she actually learned for herself about tornadoes. Coke and Mentos had most of the girls in this group. They learned how to take turns and to make sure to speak up so many people can hear them. I was impressed to see that Aaquila, Semajah, and Asia went the extra mile to make sure the group was doing everything they were supposed to do. A question did come up on what causes the coke to erupt out the bottle. Jailon was the one to correctly answer that carbon dioxide was involved in the eruption.  It was so impressive to see the girls using their knowledge to each others!
May 19 - 3At the end of the WOW, I let every single one of our Woodson sisters know they really came a long way and it showed today. Alana gave me another hug and really appreciated me being their for and taking pictures for her. Support is sometimes all these kids need to push them toward their success!

Prepping for Reflections of Knowledge at Ariel!

Tuesday, May 19th, 2015 – written by STEM Facilitator, Nedum Aniemeka

May 19 - 2Today, the girls began their prep for their Reflection of Knowledge presentations! The Reflection of Knowledge is an event that Project Exploration puts on for the girls of Sisters4Science at the end of each season. It’s meant to be a time for the girls to reflect on all of the things they’ve learned at Sisters4Science, as well as share all of their great new knowledge with friends and family. The girls were all very excited to get to show everyone what they’ve done, because they said they wanted everyone to know as much about science as they now did!

To get the creative juices flowing, the girls and I did a quick physical activity as a study break. Because they had been sitting down all day in class, I wanted to make sure they weren’t too blocked up to think of some awesome ideas for their posters! A’nise suggested that we play a round of zip zap zop because it required quick-thinking and keeping alert. The girls love that game, so it was a great way to get their creative juices flowing.
After our physical activity, the girls all had to decide which experiments they wanted to use for their presentations. Shaniya chose to do her presentation on Luminescence, Nyssa and Lyric decided to do their presentation on the surgical experiment that Dr. Mussatt showed us, and Alanah and Antimia wanted to do their presentation on the banana DNA experiment that Dr. Ana Shulla showed us! The girls were all great about remembering the details of their respective experiments and were very creative with the drawings and figures they put on their posters. Can’t wait to see their final products!