Up, Up, and Away!

Tuesday, May 12th, 2015 – written by STEM Facilitator, Nedum Aniemeka

May 12 - 1 This week at Sisters4Science, the girls of Ariel got a lesson in Aviation with Ms. Karen Staten. Ms. Staten is a paralegal specialist at the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and was able to tell the girls everything the FAA does when it comes to flying in the great, big, blue skies. Before Ms. Staten began her lesson, the girls all participated in another game of human knot to get in our physical activity for the day. This time, we had a ew extra girls, and even Ms. Carmichael, our Program Manager, joined in, so we had quite a bigger knot to untangle! Despite tons of twisting and squirming, the huge knot wasn’t as easy to untangle as last session’s knot, and many of the girls ended up in a heap on the ground. Regardless, it was a super fun activity and it got everyone’s blood pumping after a long day of school!
Ms. Staten began her lesson by telling the girls a little about what the FAA does. The FAA basically has the responsibility of making sure that all aircrafts flying in the country are properly tested, that pilots are licensed, and that airports are properly regulated. They also make sure planes are flying safely by controlling air traffic. Thus, the FAA is very important for aviation and without it flying wouldn’t be as safe as it currently is. The FAA even works with spaceship training with NASA!
To test everyone on their aviation knowledge, Ms. Staten asked the Ariel girls if anyone new who Amelia Earhart was. A’nise let us know that Amelia Earhart was the first female aviator to ever fly across the Atlantic Ocean by herself. Speaking of female aviators, Ms. Staten also asked the girls if anyone knew who Bessie Coleman was. Nyssa said that she had heard of her before and knew that she was a black female aviator! Not only that, but she was the first female aviator of African-American descent to May 12 - 4hold an international pilot license. Hearing about these accomplished female aviators was very important to the girls, as it showed them how back then, even when there were so many barriers for women, these ladies were able to accomplish great things in their field! Christiana said learning about them is important because it lets young girls like them know that they can do anything they put their mind to. What a great lesson from Ms. Staten!

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!!

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!

Finalizing our WOW!s at Woodson!

Thursday, May 7th, 2015 – written by Kiara Byrd, STEM Facilitator

Today is the last day we have before the big event! The girls have worked hard and will finally have the chance to show it all off. I asked each of the groups of girls what exactly they knew about their experiment that they will be presenting. What would be the purpose and also what exactly did they learn from it? Ms. Harrell and I went around the room to see what the girls thoughts were. We wanted them to write down everything in their own words, so they would know what to say when they presented. There were a couple of challenges with wording but they knew I would be there for assistance.

In each group, there were different objectives related to their specific demonstration. With the lantern group, I asked Tahnya what did she think the purpose was, “So we can make lanterns on our own and not buy them.” I wanted her to know she was right. This experiment was more crafty but because it still involves science, it’s about being resourceful, and you could even consider it recycling! Creating a product out of what you already have is a wonderful thing. It can also show other kids that even if you can’t afford something, with the right creative mind, you can make it!!!
Our second group with the Coca-Cola geyser was more understanding the function of a real action. Associating it with things we find in our grocery store. As a couple of girls worked on the board, Semajah and Asia were in charge of doing more research. I asked the girls to tell me what they learned about geysers. Semajah explained that when the magma gets hot, the water explodes. With a geyser eruption, yes water bursts out and with associating our materials, the magma is our carbon dioxide. With the mentos reacting with the soda, tiny bubble form around the mentos capsule, pushing the soda out to erupt. “Really? So the pop explodes from the mentos.” Asia asked and made sure she kept note of that.
Our final group was the tornado vortex. Don’ya was in charge of typing out the research, but wasn’t sure if she could do it by herself. But Stephanee reassured her that she will not be doing it alone. “It’s okay Donya we are going to help you, we’re all going to do it together.” As soon as that was said they all worked together in the research. With this experiment, they learned how a tornado looks when it firms and also when materials. such as structures are caught in a tornado, how would it look. This is where the confetti came in. Rachel and Stephanee were really taking initiative in knowing the science behind this. I could tell they were really interested. One more week to go and the world will be WOWed by our amazing Woodson sisters and their presentations!

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.

DNA Extraction is Bananas!

Tuesday, May 5th, 2015 – written by STEM Facilitator, Nedum Aniemeka

May 5 - 1 This week at Ariel, the girls of Sisters4Science received a visit from Dr. Ana Shulla! After the initial excitement over Dr. Shulla having the same name as Ana from Frozen, Dr. Shulla was able to tell the girls about her work as a scientist. Dr. Shulla works at The University of Chicago as a microbiologist and came the school to teach the girls about DNA! By completing a simple experiment, the girls were able to extract DNA themselves from a banana. A lot of the girls already extracted DNA from strawberries last season with Joyce Pieretti, so it was nice for them to get a refresher on this super fun experiment with a different type of fruit! Plus, all the new girls that joined this spring were able to extract DNA for the first time!
Dr. Shulla started off her lesson by asking the girls if they knew what DNA stood for. Because so many of our girls did their final Reflection of Knowledge presentations on the DNA extraction last season, we had a few DNA experts in our midst! Antoinette let everyone know that DNA stands for deoxyribonucleic acid, and it’s the building blocks that make all of us unique. To add on to this, Nyssa told us that DNA is shaped like a double helix. With that quick debriefing, the girls got to mashing some bananas for their extraction. Each girl got a chance to smash the banana they were using so that it would form a smooth enough mixture to pass through the filter paper they were using for the experiment. By following the experimental protocol that each of the girls had a copy of, we were able to successfully see the DNA when we added our mixture to May 5 - 3ethanol in the end! The DNA looked like a white blob at the bottom of the girls’ test tubes. Christiana said it looked like floating cotton candy! Overall, the girls seemed to really enjoy the experiment and loved working with Dr. Shulla as well.
For a physical activity break, the girls and I formed a Human Knot! The point of the May 5 - 2game is to entangle everyone together by grabbing each other’s arms, then untangle the knot without breaking arms. The game was a bit rough at first and the girls spent more time laughing than untangling themselves, but we eventually did it. A little teamwork goes a long way!