Shark Tank Day! – Spring Break Exploration Day 5 Recap

Friday, April 10, 2015 – written by STEM Facilitator, Magaly Perez

IMG_1524Practice, practice, practice! Our fifth and final day began with an icebreaker that allowed each group to present themselves and their product to the rest of the girls. The girls were also reminded that each presentation should be within four minutes, including 30-second pitches about themselves. Following the icebreaker, Ms. Eve had a short lesson prepared on what makes a good and bad pitch. The girls were shown a video of four kid entrepreneurs giving their product pitches. The video included sales pitches from Are You Kidding socks by the Kendall brothers, Zollipops by Alina Morse, Bee Sweet Lemonade by Mikaila Ulmer, and Super Business Girl. After watching each clip, the girls were asked to write whether the kid entrepreneurs had a problem statement and solution, an innovative product, and good presentation skills. Then as a whole group, the girls shared what they wrote and created a list of what makes a “Good Problem Statement”, an “Innovative Product”, and “Good Presentation Skills”.

IMG_20150410_152812554_HDR  After going through each list once more, the girls were reminded of the three things the judges were looking for; Most User-Focused Problem Statement, Most Innovative Prototype, and Best Presentation Skills. Before letting the girls continue working, Ms. Eve announced what the amazing prizes were going to be! The winners of each category would receive a wireless Bluetooth headset and the group that does best across all three categories would receive a Motorola E phone! The excitement was instantly felt in the classroom as the girls immediately started discussing their pitches within their groups. For the following hour and a half, the girls kept working on their product pitch, assigning parts, and perfecting their presentation. After giving the girls some time to work on their own, Ms. Eve, Ms. Angelina (another wonderful PE facilitator), and myself (Ms. Magaly) checked in with each group, listened to their complete presentation, and gave some feedback. By lunch time, all teams were feeling confident and ready to go! Before leaving for the Merchandise Mart, the girls had delicious pizza for lunch!

By 2 pm, the girls, parents, and staff had arrived at Merchandise Mart and checked in at the Motorola Headquarters for the main event! The girls were led up to the Chicago Theater to do final dry runs of their pitches on stage. While the girls IMG_20150410_154306855_HDRpracticed for 30 minutes, Ms. Sue and Ms. Monica held a reception for the parents and took them on a tour of the Motorola HQ and Merchandise Mart. Thirty minutes before showtime, the girls were able to change into their business attire and go on a short phone-testing lab tour with Ms. Kelly!

At 3:15 pm, it was time to start the show! Guests began to fill the seats as Ms. Eve welcomed everyone and introduce Innovation Launchpad. A short video of the spring break camp was shown which included pictures and IMG_20150410_162130171videos taken of the girls working throughout the week. Before being introduced by Ms. Eve, the girls warmed up for the big event with Ms. Kelly. The girls walked in looking fearless! The first team up was J.J.J.A. with their product, The New Revolutionary Anti-Crack Phone, which was guaranteed to never break and allowed each person to communicate their own style through customized built-in cases. The second team was Magic Techs with their product, Talk to Me, which aimed to prevent people from texting while driving by creating an app, steering wheel holder, and Bluetooth pen. The next group was Infinity & Beyond with Tap and Talk, which is an app that 14-DSC_0398allows blind people to easily make calls and use GPS on any phone. The following team was Shawties with their Motorola 500 AT product which includes a phone with a battery life of 3 days, as well as a solar charging case. The final team was Fantastic Four with Reliable Style, a compact and customized phone with a built-in chip that serves as a personal cell tower so one may have excellent reception at all times. The girls left us in awe with their amazing presentations! After congratulating the girls, all of our wonderful judges went off to make their final decisions. In the meantime, Ms. Kristen asked some of the girls to serve as a panel for the Women@Moto to interview as tech experts! Various women at Motorola IMG_20150410_163940959had plenty of questions to ask the girls from “What do you look for when choosing a phone?” to “Where do you use your phone the most?” Time flew by as the girls answered questions about one of their most important possessions, their phones!

With such great presentations, the judges took a bit more time to make their final decisions but it wasn’t long before they came back ready to announce the winners. The first prize announced was for “Best Presentation Skills” which was awarded to J.J.J.A.! J.J.J.A had great energy and knew their product so well that they hardly needed to look at their cue cards. The second prize was for Most Innovative Prototype which was awarded to Shawties for their originality and creativity in resolving the problem of low battery life. The final category of “Most User-Focused Problem Statement” resulted in a tie! Both, Infinity & Beyond and Magic Techs, had great problem statements that focused on a particular audience and provided a backstory. Each girl received the aforementioned Bluetooth headset as well as a certificate for successfully completing the Spring Break camp! As for the grand prize winner, the team that the judges IMG_1527believed did best across all three categories and won Motorola E phones was….. Fantastic Four!!! Fantastic Four focused on a major problem that phone companies are still trying to resolve, their prototypes were very detailed and understandable, and they were able to present it in a fun and creative way. Such a wonderful event came to an end as the girls posed for pictures with family, friends, and the wonderful people at Motorola that made this spring break camp possible. The girls did an amazing job with only a week’s worth of work. We couldn’t be more proud!

Thank you to all that made Innovation Launchpad possible. We can’t wait to do it again!

This semester in S4S Calumet…The Wrap Up!

This semester the lovely ladies of Sisters 4 Science- Calumet learned many, many things! They were afforded the opportunity to explore and experiment in many different sectors of science.

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Some of their most fond memories include making lava lamps, straw bridges, and dry ice bubbles! They got to talk about everything from science to personal hygiene and home concerns.


We talked about college, what it takes to get there and what it takes to successfully stay there. They truly enjoyed my personal stories of college let downs and triumphs, and were all reassured that college is for them!

The girls were also apart of the first cohorts for a few pilot programs this semester! The got to try out the True Child curriculum, in which we talked about gender roles and how we see/think of ourselves and other people. They also got to try out the new badging system the City of Chicago is kick starting and earned a total of four badges! These badges are electronic awards that they will be able to access in the years to come.

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In addition to all of that fun, the girls received visits from many cool scientists including Ms. Iris Berry, who taught about health and nutrition, Mrs. Shavonda Fields, who spoke about the science of the female body, Ms. Rui Zhang, who taught and experimented with mushrooms with the girls, and Ms. Andrea Henry, who explained perception and added very cool experimental stations.

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Overall, the girls had a blast! We shared laughs, smiles, frowns, cupcakes and pizza! We shared knowledge, dreams, goals and missions, and I truly believe that every girl will supersede her anticipated destination!

We ended the semester with our version of Reflection of Knowledge! Brittany Alexander, a very talented 7th grader, wrote the poem that summarized our time together! Unfortunately, I can’t share the video of it, but trust that it was GREAT!!

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Before I wrap up, I want to shout a very loud CONGRATULATIONS to Majaya Glenn, Asia Moore, Winter Jackson and Ludmilla Sylvestre!! These lovely scholars will make the transition to high school at the end of the month!! Myself and the rest of the Sisters send all of our love and blessings to the girls on their new journey!

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It was an absolute pleasure working with the girls this semester, and if they received nothing else from the program, I hope they received me as an ever-reachable mentor and friend!

This Week in S4S Calumet….Brain and Perception!

This week, the lovely ladies of S4S Calumet received a visit from SUPER SMART Andrea Henry, a PhD candidate at the University of Chicago.


Andrea started out with explaining in light detail the brain and its many parts and functions, as well as giving us jelly beans! She talked about the four brain lobes, which are frontal lobe, parietal lobe, occipital lobe, and temporal lobe. She then explained the function of each lobe, like how the frontal lobe is responsible for personality, and even shared an interesting story that proves that theory!

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She then talked about the different connections our brain has to different parts of our body, and how in order for us to see, the light and image has to travel all the to the back of the brain in order for us to see it. TOTALLY COOL info!

After making sure the girls understood the basics of the brain, she then went into a classic perception exercise involving photos. The girls went through the photos, some figuring out the hidden image, and some not.

Then came the fun! While the girls took part in the first half of their lesson, I was tasked with sorting skittles by color. Boy, if I had know what would come next!

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Andrea set up four different stations, audition, vision, touch and taste. The girls then formed small groups and visited each station to test their brains perceptions of the things around them.

The first station was vision. The girls had to stand at one end of a yard stick while another girl stood at the other end holding up a colored note card. The person with the note card then slowly turned at a 90 degree angle, switching note cards until the other person could only detect motion of the card, but not the color.

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The next station was touch. The girls were a tad bit confused with this one to start, but once they got it, they had a ton of fun. In this activity, the girls had to close their eyes and determine where the note card touching them had one, two or three paperclips. Sounds fairly easy to determine, but everything seems to feel the same!

The third station was taste. This was the girls favorite because they got to eat the Skittles! They had to close their eyes and plug their noses and guess they flavor of an undisclosed Skittle given to them by their sister.


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The last, and most difficult station was audition. The girls had to sit in a chair with their eyes closed while people clapped around them. Their task was to guess where the clap came from. This activity proved that of all the senses, hearing is the most difficult to use.

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Overall, the girls had a great time! Andrea’s lesson really embraced our motto of education and fun!


Session 4 – Observing and collecting data


On Wednesday May 1st, the girls at Sisters for Science participated in a really cool experiment that focused on the importance of being observant when you’re a scientist/engineer. Our engineer, Christel Johnson, told the girls how her job as a an environmental engineer requires her to be aware of every detail of her surroundings, so that she can make sure to produce thorough data reports that help determine whether certain land can be built on. To practice this skill, the S4S girls were given samples of soil and water to collect data on. This allowed them to test their thinking skills and really learn what it means to be a good observer!

When asked why they thought it was important to make sure to pay attention to detail in their day-to-day lives, many of the girls agreed that being specific simply makes information more reliable, whether it be compiling a scientific report or telling a story to your friend. Nia, one of our 7th graders, said that you would even want to use details if you were writing in a diary. It looks like the girls really have an eye for specifics!

Sisters4Science May 1, 2013 Session Recap


Yesterday, the girls learned about environmental and civil engineering. We welcomed Christel, who taught us how to observe everything important in an area of interest, and to collect data in detail. Then, the girls were able to inspect soil and water samples, write down observations (like color, texture, temperature, etc), and analyze how their observations might affect the intended project. For example, if they “observed” children playing basketball in the area, then working on construction where there is loose soil might be dangerous because it could create a ditch that the children might fall into. After the sample analysis, the girls thought of their own experiment and had some fun by discovering the difference between adding water to a cup of soil, and adding soil to a cup of water (the soil floats!). Finally, the girls wrote and talked about when collecting data or information and making careful observations is important in their own lives (maybe they have a diary to keep their “data” in). It was a great session, and I’m looking forward to next week!

Project Exploration Sisters4Science at Ariel Community Academy

FY13 - S4S Retreat

Sisters4Science is a year-round after-school and field program for middle school and high school minority girls that combines science exploration with leadership development. The goals of Sisters4Science are to:
• Create a safe space for girls to explore science and develop leadership skills
• Introduce girls to the wide variety of roles played by women in science
• Improve girls’ overall attitudes about science by developing team-building, communication, and leadership skills
Sisters4Science sessions are held weekly for approximately 90 minutes at each site with 12 – 15 girls at each session. Girls, and their interests, are at the center of the Sisters4Science program. Girls co-create the curriculum with facilitators based on their interests and, in the past, have chosen to investigate a variety of topics that include forensic science, chemistry, earth science, and girls’ health. Sessions are often led by Women in Science – professional women scientists from around the Chicago area that represent various science fields including scientific illustration, chemistry, biology, medicine, geology, and engineering. Girls read and write together at each session and experience-based curricula and activities are designed to refine skills in content areas such as language arts, science, math, research, critical thinking, organization, and leadership.

This year at Ariel Community Academy we are focusing on Engineering in partnership with the US Army Corp of Engineers.