Surveys and Toothpaste!

Welcome to Sisters 4 Science!! I met new 8th graders to the program this week. We introduced ourselves and got a chance to get to know each other. They asked me questions about myself and vice versa. We went over the important things before we got into the learning for the day! Jacki, our Program Manager, was with us today so the girls could take their pre-surveys for the program and we also went over the Sisters4Science ‘Code of Conduct’. The girls easily understood our principles and were very receptive to what I was trying to say when it came down to becoming confident with science.

How much hydrogen peroxide does it take to clean an elephant's teeth?

How much hydrogen peroxide does it take to clean an elephant’s teeth?

For this session, I performed the popular elephant toothpaste experiment and the girls had a chance to do it on their own. They were very precise with the ingredients and even had us test a theory that Nina came up with. “If we added more of the amount of hydrogen peroxide into the bottle, will the reaction cause more foam to form?” We tested that theory and we gathered that there was a faster reaction but the amount of foam was similar to the first trial. The girls really liked the experiment and said they would tell their friends about joining the program. It was really nice meeting these girls and I look forward to next week.

It's a foaming volcano!

It’s a foaming volcano!

Which one created the most foam?

Which combination of ingrediants created the most foam?

Static Electricity Shocker!

This week at Sisters4Science the girls had a lesson in static electricity! Ms. Tarah Eissa from the University of Chicago returned and taught the girls some new and interesting things about physics!  We were excited to welcome her back and see that she brought some cool tools to show the girls how electrons can be transferred from one object to another by rubbing them together.

Ms. Tahra Eissa giving an introduction to the girls about today's activity!

Ms. Tahra Eissa giving an introduction to the girls about today’s activity!

Selena did a great job of explaining how electron transfers worked, as she said that “atoms have the ability to store different amounts of electron and share with each other.” By rubbing their feet really fast across shag carpet, they were able to create enough static electricity to make a lightbulb turn on. The girls loved it, and they really got a kick out of running across the carpet to see if they could make their lightbulb’s spark. They even made Antimia’s hair stand up by rubbing the balloon on her head, but I don’t think she was a fan of that! Overall, the girls had a blast and learned a lot about how charges can be created. Looks like physics may become an interest to some of the girls!

Crazy hair day - care of static electricity!

Crazy hair day – care of static electricity!

How doe electrons move from one object to another?

How doe electrons move from one object to another?

Creating a Squirrel Display!

How much do you know about squirrels? Yes, we have seen them in our backyards, while we are walking down the streets, and even in our windows; but the girls were going to learn a more detailed view on squirrels. Yes, today we did a squirrel dissection!!

Today we had a special guest, Dr. Anna Goldman, who works at the Field Museum in Chicago!  Dr. Goldman came to our program to teach the girls about biology and mammal anatomy, through dissection of a squirrel. She first showed the girls how she skins the squirrels first, very carefully to show the tendons and the muscles/fat of the squirrel. She also had to slide the skin off and that’s when more shouts from the girls began. Mya, a 7th grader, was the most curious one and never left Dr Goldman’s side. She was not scared one bit and was very eager to see the inside of the squirrel. She soon got her wish.

The before dissection picture!

The before dissection picture!

The girls were fascinated during the dissection!

The girls were fascinated during the dissection!

After skinning the squirrel it was time to show the insides; in order to show what really goes on inside the body. A few girls grew squeamish, like Sarah and Don’ya, and others were perfectly fine with the extra blood. The girls overall were disgusted but fascinated at the same time. Some of the bravest of the girls were our new 5th graders, Jakayla and Semajah. They were not scared one bit to touch the squirrel and paid very close attention to what Dr. Goldman was teaching. Another 5th grader, Janiah, was the animal lover of the session. She actually reminded myself of a young me. She said “how can she just cut the squirrel open like that, that is so mean.” She asked Dr. Goldman, “You don’t feel bad in cutting up this defenseless animal?” Dr. Goldman and I explained to her that this is all part of research. The squirrel is no longer living, do it doesn’t feel a thing and it is not suffering. It was nice to see that she truly had sympathy for the squirrel.

Looking at the insides, looking up close and personal!

Looking at the insides, looking up close and personal!

The main parts the girls had learned about was the liver, vagina, tendons, the trachea, the intestines, and of course the heart. The heart was a nice lesson for Dr. Goldman made the girls make a fist and said “As your fist grows, so does your heart”. A valuable metaphor for all of us. I could tell this was a very memorable experience for them because they continuously asked Dr. Goldman to come back. I know the girls loved today just as much as I did.

Scary Halloween with Polymers!

Happy Halloween explorers! I sure do hope that it a fun and safe day for you all! Sisters4Science at Frederick Funston Elementary School had a special scientist come in today! Dr. Arangassery Rosemary Bastian, from Northwestern University, came to class to teach us about polymers and its many wonders. Our session started a little late due to super traffic so before hand we swapped stories about what the girls had planned after the program. Many of them were going trick-or-treating, but others decided to just have a sleepover with their other friends.

Oct 31 -5

Once Dr. Rosemary arrived, the girls were excited for what was about to come. She decided that since the lesson was about polymers, why not have the girls make their own slime! And since it was Halloween, the color of the slime was a ‘ghouly green’. The materials that are used were: Elmer’s glue, water, borax, and green dye. They not only had one, but two experiments. The materials for this experiment was: a balloon and a bolt. The bolt was placed inside the balloon and you had to fill the balloon up with air. When closing it, the girls swished the balloon and the bolt created a super scary noise. The girls then drew a scary face on the balloon to complete the look. I must admit, I took a scary balloon home with me as well. Success at our session this week!

Student preparing to make their own slime!

Student preparing to make their own slime!

Ewww! Slime!

Ewww! Ghostly green slime!

En Espanol:

Extracting DNA from Bananas!

Today was a great day for our sisters!  We had another visit from our guest scientist Dr. Ana Shulla. Today our experiment was extracting DNA from a banana. This experiment was a wonderful opportunity for the girls to learn how to explain an experiment on their own. They were very open in listening to Dr. Shulla of what DNA actually is and what it looks like. We discussed the materials and procedure first to understand the steps that were required. Before you knew it, we were ready to get things started.

Oct 28 - 1

Our rockstar, Do'nya working with our scientist Dr. Shulla!

Our rockstar, Do’nya working with our scientist Dr. Shulla!

Our shining star today was Donya. SHE WAS AMAZING in helping Dr. Shulla and I all day during our session. “I want to help.” were the first words Donya said when she saw us entering the school. She was very attentive when going over the procedure and asked as many questions as she could. She was one of the main students expressing how they felt on what we would observe in our results, and she was absolutely right! She had confidence in discussing science and was aware that science takes time and ended up having one of the best results of extracted DNA in the whole class. I told her I truly appreciated her today and that she showed her leadership skills in a subject she at first, was not very fond of. This is what Sisters 4 Science is really about!

Introduction to Neuroscience!

We had our first scientist at Sisters for Science at Ariel this week!! Ms. Tahra Eissa is getting her PhD in neuroscience at The University of Chicago, and she came in to introduce the girls to some super interesting topics about the brain. A lot of the girls already knew that the brain controls everything we do, but they didn’t know that it can sometimes trick us! Tahra and all of the girls went through some optical illusion to see how the eye can make us see something when it’s not even there.

What is our brain responsible for?!

What is our brain responsible for?!

Gabby mentioned that she sometimes looked at optical illusions on her own and she knew all about them! Then, the girls were able to test whether they had synethsesia which is a certain way of thinking that makes you associate colors with numbers. Next week, the girls will test for it again to see if anyone has it. Like Bailey said, it would be super cool to find out if anyone had it. I guess we’ll see next session!

Oct 28 - 3

Elephant Toothpaste Galore!

This Friday, October 24th, Sisters4Science at Frederick Funston Elementary School had the awesome experience of making elephant toothpaste. Now, it’s not really elephant toothpaste but with the amount that the experiment actually produces makes it seem that it is elephant toothpaste. Project Exploration’s Program Manager, Jaclyn Carmichael, was our scientist of the day! She conducted the experiments with the girls. At first, we all did the experiment together. The materials were: hydrogen peroxide, color dye, dry yeast, dish soap, soda bottle, and water. When we mixed them all together, the foam came shooting of the bottle rapidly. The girls were absolutely amazed!

One of the ingredients of elephant toothpaste, dish soap! Who knew?!

One of the ingredients of elephant toothpaste, dish soap! Who knew?!

They went into three groups and each group altered the amount of a material from the experiment. One group did more yeast, another did more hydrogen peroxide, and the last group did the less yeast.

Our group who added extra yeast and made their toothpaste yellow!

Our group who added extra yeast and made their toothpaste yellow!

The group that made the most elephant toothpaste! They added more hydrogen peroxide!

The group that made the most elephant toothpaste! They added more hydrogen peroxide!

The group who did the most hydrogen peroxide resulted being the one with the most elephant toothpaste. I think the girls had the time of their lives!

The results:

Oct 24 - 6

Next week, we will have another scientist that was going to do experiments related to Halloween! Oh the fun!!