Carter WOW Day!

Thursday, May 14th, 2015 – written by STEM Facilitator, Kiara Byrd

May 14 - 1 ITS WOW TIME!!!! The girls have worked so hard these past 10 weeks and now family and friends will see what the girls have been up to. We all set up the materials at each station (Lip Balm, Elephant Toothpaste, Pop Rocks) and the girls did a run through before all the guests arrived. We had s really great turn out. We had s few parents and we also had US2020 come to see what the girls had to present. Ms. Wyland and I got everyone’s attention and the WOW Event began.

Our first group to present was Elephant Toothpaste. Somayyah and Jamelya got right down to business. They spoke clearly and even added the safety precautions with their experiment, “If you plan on doing this at home, make sure you do it outside because it can get May 14 - 3messy.” The girls did a great job with presenting the experiment and had a nice show for us. People were really interested in their topic. We even had a question from the audience. What makes the bottle warm?” Jamelya was happy to answer with, “It’s an exothermic reaction so it means things get warm.”
May 14 - 4Our second group was Lip Balm. There were a few girls in this group so they did a great job in taking turns in explaining the experiment to the audience. This experiment takes a little time, so the girls brought their own lip balm they created to show to the rest of the people. This was very helpful for people to be creative and to save money. At the end of the experiment, Dakira was the first one to show that the lip balm actually works and applied it on hers. After that, everyone else grabbed their lip balms and shared it with the ones who wanted to try the lip balm as well.
Our final presentation was Pop Rocks and Soda.  The girls took their turns in explaining the experiment. I was really proud of Nakaylah in really stepping it up in explaining why the balloons inflated. Armani was in charge of directing the steps so everyone can be amazed as the May 14 - 6Pop rocks popped away in the soda. They even remembered that the main gas that’s important in this experiment is Carbon dioxide!!
At the end of this event I was proud of each and every one of the girls. I could tell that their confidence levels were at an all time high today. It was still bitter sweet. Somayyah had walked up to me and said “I don’t want you to go Miss Kiara. I’m going to miss you. I really like your class, you are so nice.” I thanked Somayyah and reassured her that I will still be around when they need me. Sisters4Science goes further than just in the classroom. We help these girls with advice and guidance for everyday life as well.

Last Touches on Presentations at Carter!

Tuesday, May 12th, 2015 – written by Kiara Byrd, STEM Facilitator

May 12 - 2The session before the WOW and the girls boards looked amazing!!!! They worked really hard and wanted the boards to have more on them so they could stick out. Each board had their own creativity to them and now it was just time to add pictures and know what our speeches were.

The elephant toothpaste group were of Somayyah and Jamelya. They both were going May 12 - 3to take turns in explaining the experiment. “I don’t do well with speaking in front of people, but I’ll introduce the board.” I could tell Somayyah was nervous and never really did a presentation like this before. But after some encouragement and getting her excited to present her own work, she agreed to explain the the hypothesis, the conclusion, and also the safety precautions. Somayyah went beyond what was asked and wanted to add what not to do if the experiment was tried at home. She gained more confidence and wanted to even more so the audience could see she was teaching them something.
Pop rocks and soda was the most colorful of them all. I told Armani that their board was very pretty. They also added balloons and pop rock packets on there to give it more pizazz!! After gathering all of the decorative things, the girls noticed that the research behind the experiment may be a little too wordy for them. “Miss Kiara, I don’t know how to say this stuff and know what I’m talking about.” Nakaylah said. So I helped her paraphrase. I told her because this is your work, you don’t have to say what is on the board word from word. You can say it in your own words and still be able to explain the experiment. I also helped Danaisha as well with paraphrasing and she became more comfortable with speaking.
The final board was lip balm. With this experiment, these girls learned how to use home products to make something that you can purchase from a store. They learned how to make a better economic choice in saving money with this experiment. May 12 - 4This board was also very special to Ajah. She explained that she worked very hard on this board and she could not stop smiling when looking at the final results. “I think I’m going to cry, can you take a picture of this please?” I was very touched to see how proud she was and that she was excited to show other people what she could do. This WOW Event is more than just showing experiments. It gives the girls a chance to get out of their comfort zone in a good way. They get to speak in front of people and build their confidence to be more than just middle schoolers. This gives them a chance to grow!!

Prepping Demos and Presentations at Carter!

Tuesday, May 5th, 2015 – written by STEM Facilitator, Kiara Byrd:

May 5 - 12 May 5 - 8We have glitter, construction paper, colorful pictures, anything else?? Today the girls will be in charge and act on what they committed to as a role from last week. They are getting the boards together and typing up their scientific research. All the groups were separated and everyone was helping each other to make sure their project looked nice and organized. Ms. Wyland and I wanted to add pictures of the girls in action so they can put it on their board. We were snapping away with all the pictures for all three groups.

With the lip balm group, Ajah was in charge of the board and the others made sure the presentation ran smoothly and correctly documented the research they learned about their own lip balm creation. Dakira was in charge of typing up all the steps for the group. Everyone had a chance to perform the experiment one more time step by step so they are able to explain it for the WOW.
With the elephant toothpaste, we have two girls and they are Somayyah and Jamelya. They each took on 2 roles. Somayyah was in charge of the board and typing up the research. Jamelya was in charge of the experiment presentation and also did the research on the science behind the experiment. Jamelya was very helpful to Somayyah in telling her what she found in her research so they both were able to present tithe project well.
Pop rocks and soda was very organized as well. Markeisha was one of the girls that really wanted to proud of working on something like this. She had a moment where she may have doubted her ability in taking on the role as direction leader.This role, she would be in charge of directing the procedure while the others did the experiment. I told markeisha that I believe in her and I know that she has the capability of taking on this role. Markeisha May 5 - 6 also helped Danaisha with typing up the research as well. They all helped each other and each girl fulfilled their duties. Armani was in charge of the board and was May 5 - 9very creative with the decorating. The idea came about in even blowing up balloons and taping them to the board to make it “pop” more. With Nakaylah assisting, I was impressed with the team work they displayed.

Prepping for the WOW! at Carter

Tuesday, April 28th, 2015 – written by STEM Facilitator, Kiara Byrd

April 28 - 2Well, it’s about that time to get down to business at Carter School of Excellence.  The girls are going to go over their experiments in their respective teams and start preparing for the WOW! event. We will be going over our roles in each group and researching about the topic at hand.

We have 3 different groups which are lip balm, elephant toothpaste, and pop rocks. The girls would really be getting a better understanding of the purpose of the experiment and the science behind it all. The girls in the lip balm group researched on the computer on the history of lip balm and how each material plays an important role in making the perfect lip balm.
Our second group was the elephant toothpaste and Jamelya did a great job in performing the experiment and explaining the science behind it all in her own words. “The reason that it’s foam is because there’s dish soap inside and that’s where the bubbles come from. The yeast also helps with the foam because yeast helps things rise.” I helped her with adding on that that the yeast would be considered a catalyst and the reaction also creates an exothermic reaction, by giving off heat.
The final group is pop rocks and the girls had the chance to understand how carbon dioxide can be found anywhere. The science behind this experiment is that the carbon dioxide is released from the candy and that is what blows up the balloon. The girls really enjoyed this experiment. Since they love candy, it even got the attention of the other girls in the other groups. I was very proud of the girls today and I feel we are really going to be ready for the WOW.

Watch out! Geysers of Diet Coke at Woodson!

Thursday, April 23rd, 2015 – written by STEM Facilitator Kiara Byrd

April 23 - 2 It’s the day after Earth Day and the Woodson girls were going to be learn about one earths natural wonders. I showed them a video clip to explain what a geyser is and how it works. Most importantly what were the three key things to have a geyser eruption. Jailon said water was one, Semajah said magma as the second part in making things hot, and Rachel said the igneous rock as the final piece to the puzzle.

To their surprise, the girls were going to make their own geysers today, using diet coke and mentos. How will they be able to do that without the three key parts?? I’m glad you asked.
I explained to the girls that with the materials we have we do have similar key parts. The first thing is the water, which is a liquid and our liquid is the diet coke. Our second part is the magma heat and how this experiment works is that, with a mentos capsule it has tiny holes around it. When the capsule comes in contact with the diet coke it causes tiny bubbles of CO2 to form off the capsule, pushing our liquid up like the magma heat boiling the water. And last but not least the igneous rock that helps with the water movement, our mentos capsule is our igneous rock.
I had 4 bottles so the girls were put into 4 groups. Because this experiment can get messyApril 23 - 3 we had the chance to go outside and enjoy the beautiful weather for a little bit. But not without our protective gear, in order to not mess up our clothes from the eruptions. The girls also made tubes out of construction paper to be able to distribute all the mentos into their bottles without an immediate blast of coke in their faces lol.
When we made it outside the girls were very excited. “Can we start now Miss Kiara?” Tahnya  asked. “Yea I want to see what’s going to happen.” Said Alana. I asked the girls to get in their separate groups and keep a safe distance between them so they do not get splashed by the other bottles. I first explained they had to duct tape the construction paper tube to the bottles and stick a toothpick at the bottom as a stopper, so all the mentos can be put in. Each group had their turn to display their geyser. One group in particular wanted the full experience, my 5th graders. Even with the protective wear, the girls stood directly next to their geyser and enjoyed every second of getting messy from the eruption. They screamed and laughed at the same time. I admired their bravery.
April 23 - 4After our geyser eruptions, we headed back inside to get cleaned up. With a few minutes left I wanted to get started on our science presentation ideas. The girls named off a few even including our geyser experiment we just did. Tahnya and Arianna even showed me on how to make a marble design with nail polish. After so many, we barrows it down to three projects and I can’t wait for them to show me their skills on creating their own things to take home.

Secret Messages at Carter!

Tuesday, April 21st, 2015 – written by STEM Facilitator, Kiara Byrd

April 21 - 2 It’s almost Earth Day!!!! To show appreciation, we had a guest today to show us how to be resourceful in sending messages to people. Our guest facilitator Alondra, one of our STEM Facilitators with Project Exploration, had a great activity on Invisible Ink. The concept was April 21 - 8to write messages to each other using lemon juice. The girls were split up in pairs and to later exchange what they wrote on the paper. Alondra was very helpful in demonstrating each step to the girls and later allowing them to do it themselves.

The first step was to get the lemon juice. After Alondra and I cut lemons for the girls, they squeezed the juice out into their own cup. After that, had to set up their own candle. With Alondra’s help, the girls used the wax from the candle to stick the candle straight up on the desks. Since the candles are for the end of the experiment, it was time to get writing!! The girls had their own toothpicks as their “pens” to put the “ink” on the paper. After exchanging letters, they revealed the messages by slowly and carefully heating the paper without burning it with the lit candles. April 21 - 3Danaisha wrote “Hey with a smile” to Armani, Skye wrote a nice compliment to Darnasha, and Gentrice wrote her favorite saying to Ajah. It took some time to get the hang of it but I saw the girls helping each other out.  They all expressed that they need to be very careful and it’s not okay to play with fire. The girls practiced fire safety techniques in order for things not to get bad and thanked Alondra for coming in and showing them a new way in writing letters. HAPPY April 21 - 9EARTH DAY!!!

Getting ready to WOW! at Carter!

Tuesday, April 14th, 2015 – written by STEM Facilitator Kiara Byrd

April 14 - 4 Today the girls had the chance to take today by storm. Today was the day to practice how to be their own scientists with their own projects. I gave the girls a list of experiments and they made their decisions and came up with 3 different experiments. The experiments were creating your own lip balm, making your own candy, and elephant toothpaste. The girls were put in their separate groups and with the assistance of Ms. Wyland and myself, the girls were in charge of their own products.

In each group the girls were given the materials and steps in order to make their own experiments work. They had to work together and also practice patience because unlike the other experiments, the results would take a little bit more time. With three different groups, I noticed the different strategies that we’re going on to make sure things went smoothly.
April 14 - 3 In the elephant toothpaste group, we had Somayyah and Jamelya. They want to test the experiment the regular way and then try a different way to see if they would get the same reaction at the end. I explained to them that that is how things are discovered. Curiosity and trials are what you need in order to possibly make a life changing discovery. I was impressed for they came up with altering the recipe, or changing the method a little bit to really understand the science behind their experiment.
Another group was creating your own lip balm. In this group, they were given a lot of materials, so this required the girls to be a little more precise in the amount of each item they mixed together in order for the lip balm to work. They were able to be creative in their own choice of flavor for the lip balm and the girls had the chance to make 2 flavors each. They were heating things up, mixing ingredients, and at the end I know they were very proud of themselves to know it is possible to make something at home that a lot of us girls use, in order to save money.April 14 - 2
Our third group was making their own candy. We all know we enjoy a sweet every once in a while so in this group the girls were learning patience.  With making edible things, it takes a little more longer so things can form from something else. The girls were reading the steps off for each other and picking selective roles amongst the group in order for everyone to have a successful product. They were also being careful not to make a mess and cleaned up after themselves. With the rock candy, they also were heating things up and refrigerate their product, in order for the candy to form. They were excited to see the results.
All the girls really displayed their confidence today because there is nothing like being proud of something you made on your own! They are truly inquisitive scientists in the making!

What Do Cells Really Look Like?

Tuesday, March 31st, 2015 – written by STEM Facilitator, Kiara Byrd

March 31 - 4 Have you ever wondered what your cells looked like? What makes all of us different?? At Carter today, the girls had the chance to meet Dr. Ana Shulla. She studies Microbology at the University of Chicago and started our day with interesting questions. She wanted to know how much the girls already knew about cells. The girls first expressed to Dr. Shulla what they already knew about cells and later learned the differences in the many different cells. “Today we are going to see our own cheek cells and see the bacteria that’s in yogurt.” Said Dr. Schulla “I thought bacteria is bad, so why would they put in yogurt.” Somayyah was a little confused but after we explained there’s good and bad bacteria, she was more curious in learning more.

So today the girls would learn how it is to work in a lab. They would all get a chance to lookMarch 31 - 2 under a microscope that will allow them to look at each other’s cells and even take them home!! The girls were really excited and was looking forward to see what the cells looked like. With Dr. Shulla’s help the girls all had their own cotton swab and swabbed the inside of their mouth, along the cheek area. Keshaia made sure she swabbed really well in order to get as much cells as possible. In a straight line, the girls took the next necessary steps in spreading the used swabs on their own slide and secure it with a March 31 - 1plastic cover and using blue methylene.
The cells that were able to be seen first were Darnasha. When she saw her cells she thought it was cool and gross at the same time! Other girls agreed as well when they looked at their own cells. Jamelya was one of the first who said “I want to put on the gloves so I’m a real scientist” Somayyah also added that she wants to be as professional as possible. After all the girls viewed their cells it was time to look at yogurt. Through the microscope, they had the chance to see all the bacteria from a small scoop of yogurt. Skye was so surprised and was the lucky girl to take that slide home for herself. The girls really enjoyed themselves and will never look at yogurt the same again lol.

Tornadoes in the Classroom!

Tuesday, March 24th, 2015 – written by STEM Facilitator, Kiara Byrd

March 24 - 3Let’s build today!!! I gave the girls the opportunity to really work as a team, and by listening to every step, build their own tornado!! We had 4 bottles so there were 4 different tornadoes ready to be made. The girls started to cut the remaining paper from the 2 liter bottles to make confetti. It really helped the tornadoes looked more colorful. Nakaylah of course was my helper with helping all of the groups with proper materials. She helped with filling the container with water and even thought of a better way to transport the water into the bottles without spilling. The first group was Semayyah, Danaisha, Dekira, and Ajah. They wanted to be the first group to finish so the other groups can follow, lead by example if you will. Danaisha, another helper of mine today, wanted to help the other groups with their tornadoes and helped everyone secure their bottles.

Skye was one of the first to express how cool the experiment was!  She was very determined to make sure her tornado was just right. I really admired Semayyah today because I could see she March 24 - 2really felt like a scientist. She couldn’t put the tornado bottle down for one second “I’m definitely taking this home so I can show my mom.” Semayyah was having a really great time building.
The other groups did an awesome job building their tornadoes as well! Keishaia asked for some assistance with her tornado and finally she made it work. In our sessions, I want the girls to touch different areas in science. We have touched chemistry, psychology with our collages with using association,and today we are engineers. The girls had a chance to put their minds to the test and be proud of themselves building something all on their own.

Foam Explosions at Carter!

March 17th, 2015 – written by STEM Facilitator, Kiara Byrd

March 17 - 1Let’s play the cup game! Today at Carter I wanted the girls to get in touch with their musical side. We also had a couple of new faces today, so this was a great way to get the girls more comfortable in this type of environment. The ice breaker today I chose was the cup game where I referenced from the Pitch Perfect movie. I played the clip from the movie and allowed the girls to listen to the beat. Some got the concept right away and some needed more practice. I had my two volunteers Semaya and Markeisha to teach the rest of the girls how it was done. The object of the game was to keep up with the beat and whoever was the last person with their cup without messing up was the winner. They really liked this game for it really woke them up after a long day at school. The activity I had for the girls today, Ms. Wyland  and I decided that it was their turn to do things on their own with our assistance of course. We passed out a March 17 - 4sheet for each girl with the steps and the scientific method attached to be used with the elephant toothpaste experiment. I explained to the girls how this activity they are going to learn about what a catalyst is and also what an exothermic reaction is. Ajah explained that she has heard of this before and was excited to do it with her friends.

March 17 - 5 (2)As helpers, I had Markeisha and Nakaylah to help with materials and each girl had a chance to explain the experiment step by step. The girls worked together to make sure each of their  bottles would get the same reaction after mixing all the ingredients. They were very shocked with the results on how mixing certain things could cause a “foam explosion” each and every girl wanted to take their creation home and show their parents. We even had Danaisha, one of our 6th graders, have a bigger explosion than others and a little got on her face. She simply wiped it off but she definitely was involved in the science today. At the end the girls really helped me in tidying up and I even had a couple of helpers to stay a little bit after. Semaya asked “Miss Kiara, do you need any extra help in cleaning up?” I was very appreciative and asked if they could put the chairs back while I wiped the tables. During that time, Semaya shared with me that because of learning how to make slime, it brought her and get mom closer. “My mom really doesn’t spend time with me because she works but this weekend we are going to get some quality time and make slime together.” “She even said she has made slime before so it should be fun.” I was very glad to hear that what our program does for the girls really reaches home. We have no idea what it like at home for these girls and if our sessions can bring family members closer and being more involved in science, then that truly can make a difference for a child from here on out. Semaya at first was not very open to the science concept but telling me that because of Sisters4Science, she and her mother can spend more time together and I know she missed that.