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!

Rockets and Their Amazing-ness!

Friday, May 15th, 2015 – written by STEM Facilitator, Eugenia Ruiz

  May 15 - 5 The day has finally arrived! The girls at the Sisters4Science program at Funston Elementary have been waiting for this day for a long time! Today’s session is all about rockets. To start the day off, we began with a small ice breaker. The girls really loved mimicking each others movements and memorizing everyone else’s so we did that one again. We even included our scientist, Judy Lubin, in our ice breaker. We had so much fun and silliness! We did about three rounds just with that ice breaker.
Our scientist for today is actually a part of the board for Project Exploration. Her name is Judy Lubin. She has a Masters in Economics, yet she is also a civilian scientist. Dr. Lubin explained to the girls that a civilian scientist is May 15 - 3someone who does not have a degree in science yet has a passion for it. Dr. Lubin has a passion for science, more specifically rockets (which is amazing). She brought in a 13 foot rocket that she had built herself. She called it the “Drag Queen” and the girls loved it. Dr. Lubin and I split the rocket in half so the girls were able to see it from the inside. They touched and asked several questions about the rocket. Some questions that the girls asked were: “Where does the parachute go?” and “How much does the rocket weigh?” It was fantastic to see the girls so interested in the rocket.
She talked about how her and her son created these rockets together. She brought in several pictures and even a presentation to show the girls. She even brought a video to show how one of her rockets took off at a competition. The girls were in awe.
may 15 - 6Dr. Lubin began talking about how a rocket can actually blast off. The main ingredient was: pressure. She brought in several little rockets so the girls can work with their own. In each small bag were the rocket itself and alka seltzer tablets.  Judy and the girls went outside and they filled the rocket with 10 mL May 15 - 8of water and placed the tablet inside the rocket. Each girl took their turn to close the rockets, place it on the ground, take several steps back, and wait for it to blast off. The girls’ reactions were AMAZING. They were amazed at the reaction that water and an alka seltzer could have when combined.
Bringing the girls back in, Judy showed the girls the combustion fuel that the rocket would use. Then she asked the biggest question of the day: “How many alka seltzer tablets would it take to help the Drag May 15 - 10Queen take off?” Some of the guesses ranged from 100-1,000. The real answer? It took 2,000 tablets to even have the rocket launch. The girls laughed because it was such a large number. The day ended very well!  The girls loved Dr. Judy and all the knowledge she brought to the session. The girls left super excited and interested in knowing more about civilian scientist. I have to say, it was a great day to be a scientist!

Should I Be Pretty or Smart?!

Friday, May 8th, 2015 – written by STEM Facilitator, Eugenia Ruiz
On this warm day, at the Sisters4Science program at Funston Elementary, the girls were ready to start the session. This Friday’s plan was specifically to have a TrueChild lesson and prepare for the Reflections of Knowledge coming up! It was finally hitting the girls that the ending of the program for the year was quite near. To start it all off, we began by playing an ice breaker together. We circled together and played a game where we were to mimic a persons movement and make one up on our own. It was so much fun to see the girls come up with some crazy movements!

image3As we sat back down, we got straight to business. The main question of the day was: what experiments/activities did we want to present at the Reflections of Knowledge? All the girls pitched in their ideas and we came up with the top three experiments/activities rather quickly. The top three were: Sutured Banana, Radios, and Galaxy Slime. These were definitely subject to change seeing as we had a guest scientist the following week, whose main topic was rockets!

It was settled then. Those were the three experiments that we wanted to present. Then we figured out the main supplies that were needed for the experiments and poster boards. It all was going pretty smoothly with the girls and preparing for our event.
image4To end the session, we did a TrueChild lesson. The lesson was to create two columns: in the first column, have the girls describe what a “pretty” girl looks like and acts and the second column was having the girls describe what a “smart” girl looks like. The top three descriptions were: “they feel superior”, “worries about how she looks”, and is “rude”. The descriptions that were common with the girls that were smart were: “low self-esteem”, “on their own”, and “good future”. It was interesting to see the girls think of these descriptions. Many had a lot to add to the descriptions, some even related to either category. After completing that exercise, we all had a discussion on if they think it is possible to be both smart and pretty. Many thought that it was impossible, yet I went on to explain to the girls that you can be both smart and pretty. I let them know that they have a beautiful mind and to always be smart about choices. It does not matter whether society likes them, I told them that it was important for them to love themselves. That is all for this session! Next week we have our rocket scientist coming and the girls are looking forward to it!

Dirty, Old Pennies Transform!

Friday, May 1, 2015 – written by STEM Facilitator Bori Kim

May 1 - 4Another beautiful day in Chicago! The first day of May, spring is here (we still had a load of snow around this time last year). The girls may be distracted if it is too beautiful outside like this, so there must be something fun that wins over this spring breeze.  Luckily, Ms. Angelina Jaimes, a Project Exploration STEM Facilitator brought so much fun and even practical science into our Funston Sisters4Science session!

Ms. Angelina set up the materials on a table and the girls and I sat around.  White Vinegar, Lemon Concentrate, Salt, and Water. The girls were so excited to see these simple materials or ingredients that made us think we were about to “cook” May 1 - 1something.  Then, Ms. Angelina showed us a bag of pennies.  Old, dirty pennies.  A-ha, we are not cooking!  “We are cleaning these pennies only with these materials here. I will demonstrate first then you are all going to make them clean,” said Ms. Angelina.  She put one tea-spoon of each in a clear plastic cup and let pennies sink into lemony water. “Ok, now it is your turn girls,” said Ms. Angelina handing them out the clear cups.

“Since we have a small group of girls, what about experimenting with four different variables?” I added an idea. “Yes, that’s good idea,” agreed Ms. Angelina.  I gave them a direction, “So, you have four options girls.  You create those options for yourself and see which one makes your pennies cleanest.” “Ms. Angelina and I want to see the cleanest, purest pennies.”

May 1 - 3“Can I taste these before we do?” “Can I too?” the girls so wanted to taste them so we let them do.  They wanted to figure out which ingredient would play a major role to clean the pennies by tasting. Very creative and cute idea!

“Oh my, I love vinegar,” said Victoria. “Really?” Julie asked and tried it with her baby finger then “Yikes!” she screamed.

“Okay girls, let set up your four variables.” “Oh, one more question for you. What is penny made of? If you know this, it might be easier to come up with variables.” I explained a bit more to help the girls think critically. “Oh, it’s copper,” said the girls in unison. “Good. So try it.” I encouraged them.

The girls were very engaged in figuring out which mixture would work best forMay 1 - 7pennies. One cup without water, but the rest of ingredients. One cup with less vinegar than others. One cup with more lemon than vinegar. All different variables the girls have set up.

“I think salt,” said Emely, “because I put one cup of salt with a spoon of others. This one is cleanest,” pointing her cleanest pennies. “Wow, one cup of salt! That’s a nice try.” I complemented her. “What about others?” asked Ms. Angelina. “I think lemon, the acid does something,” responded Julie.  “That’s a good guess too” Ms. Angelina said.

Looking at their cleanest pennies, we all agreed that the salt plays a more important role than other ingredients.  Without all ingredients, however, the pennies would’ve never had a chance to take a bath.

May 1 - 9 Special Thanks to Ms. Angelina for visiting and giving the girls a really great experiment!

Radio, Are You There? Over!

Friday, April 24th, 2015 – written by STEM Facilitator Eugenia Ruiz
April 24 - 2 April 24 - 4Greetings from the wonderful Sisters4Science girls at Funston Elementary! It’s a brand new week, which means a brand new session day. The weather is finally getting nicer and the sun keeps peeking out. For today’s plan, we have Dr. Michelle Harris, from Northwestern University, as our scientist of the day. She has a PhD in Chemistry and she was always interested in science growing up. The last time that Dr. Harris came to visit, she brought solar panels for the girls to see how much energy power from light can actually turn on a mini lightbulb. For this session, she brought along something greater: radios!
To start the session off, we had a small physical ice breakers. The girls all gathered in a circle. We called April 24 - 7the ice breaker ‘Copy Cat’ but it basically consists of having one student start off by making a movement. Then, the next student was to copy the movement and create their own. The third student would copy the previous two movements and create their own and so on and so forth. The girls were having so much fun that I, along with Dr. Harris, decided to join the fun. Julie Astudillo decided to challenge herself and be the last student to do all of the movements. I must say that sure was a fun ice breaker.
To begin the activity, Dr. Harris had a worksheet for the girls. In the worksheet, they recapped the last session they had together with the solar panels. Then it began with explaining how to BUILD the radios and how to make them work. The girls separated
into four groups. They each had the supplies to create their own radio. Lizbeth was amazed at how, with what seem like simple supplies, were able to create a radio. You can definitely tell when all the groups figured out how to get the radios working becauseApril 24 - 3 all the music would be going around the room. Dr. Harris went around to each group to make sure they understood as to what was happening with he radios. Julie Concepcion was beyond intrigued asking what would happen if a wire was changed or an antennae.
It was so good to see the girls enjoy building a radio that they thought would not work. They learned that with hard work and concentration, they can accomplish anything. Until next time!

Another Day, Another Banana to Save!

Friday, April 17th, 2015 – written by STEM Facilitator Eugenia Ruiz
April 17 - 1 Greetings from the girls at the Sisters4Science program at Funston Elementary! On this beautiful, sunny Friday the girls were ready to seize the day! For today’s session, Dr. Mussat was going to be our special scientist. We all remember Dr. Mussat. She completed her medical degree in France, where she was born. She has her own practice now. To start the program off a little differently, I decided to take the girls outside to get a breath of fresh air. For the ice breakers, I had the girls play Simon Says. One by one, every girl had the chance to be Simon. It was great seeing all the different things that the girls would have to do and how they were tricked into doing something without having to say “Simon says…” Julie LOVES cats and for almost her entire turn, she had the girls doing cat noises and such. It was great to see the girls outside and be active.
When coming back into the building, the computer lab was set up for the mini presentation that Dr. April 17 - 2Mussat had prepared. She showed a small, yet funny, clip about CPR. In the video, they mentioned to pump the unconcious person’s chest to the rhythm of Staying Alive. Victoria asked: “Why should we keep the same rhythm?” Dr. Mussat then explained that if the person doing the pumps on the chest were to pump without a steady rhythm, they could hurt them. It April 17 - 5was a silly yet educational video, and really caught the girls attention!
Downstairs in the classroom, Dr. Mussat set up the ten bananas for the girls to suture. In this session, the girls were having a competition as to who has the best looking sutured banana. The girls were absolutely ecstatic about the challenge! As the girls began suturing, you can see the concentration happening in their faces. It was good to see the girls having fun and not being too loud. Julie A. and Emely made such great April 17 - 9sutured bananas, that they began suturing a second one. Once it was time to present the bananas, Dr. Mussat checked to see who’s banana was sutured the best. Turns out, Julie’s banana was the best one out there! It was such a wonderful experience having Dr. Mussat come and introduce the girls to surgery and more specificly, letting them get more hands on experience. Until next time!

Save the Bananas!

Friday, March 27th, 2015 – written by STEM Facilitator, Eugenia Ruiz
March 27 - 4  Code blue, code blue! Calling all doctors! On thisexciting day at Funston Elementary School, the girls in the Sisters4Science program were about to get a special treat! Our scientist for today is Dr. Florence Mussat. She is a plastic surgeon who has her own practice. She went to medical school in France and did her surgical training in New York.
Today, she brought scrubs for all of the girls to wear! Each girl had her own mask and scrubs, and little foot protectors for their shoes. It was fantastic to see all the girls get really excited for the scrubs. Many had never had the chance to actually wear the scrubs but only see them on doctors.
For the activities today, the girls had two choices: learn how to lie knots OR suture a banana back to health! All of the girls took turn doing each activity since we had enough time for both. Dr. Mussat paired the girls up and they each had a banana that had its peeled cut and “blood” (Hersey’s strawberry syrup) was coming out of it. The girls loved it March 27 - 6soooooo much! They used all the of the medical instruments to suture up the banana! At first, the girls were a little impatient as to how they were supposed to suture the banana. Victoria was one of the girls that had a hard time at first working with the needle and instruments. Once she got the hang of things, she began feeling more comfortable with the instruments. Lizvette and Lizette were beyond excited to be working on the banana. They continuously asked for help from Dr. Mussat so that they could get the suture perfect! It was so good to see the girls focus on a task that actual doctors do when treating people.
Afterwards, Dr. Mussat went over some general medical tips to give to the girls. She taught them from what is a heart attack to what to do if someone was lying on the floor unconscious. She even quizzed them on what a hemorrage is and what is pathology. The girls and I cannot wait for Dr. Mussat to come back and bring all her wonderful knowledge with her! Till then!
March 27 - 1