Reflections of Knowledge at the Anti-Cruelty Society!

On Friday, May 29th, roughly 30 Sisters4Science from Ariel, Funston, Woodson, and Carter gathered at

ROKthe Anti-Cruelty Society downtown to share some of their favorite hands-on activities from the spring semester, and celebrate a year of hard work and dedication.

Greeted by Precious, the Anti-Cruelty Society’s Ambassador Dog, the girls filled the room with excitement, fueling up on pizza and getting their activities ready to share with the entire group. Natasha Smith-Walker kicked off the program, thanking the girls for all of their hard work, and welcoming the parents and scientists who were there to support them.

Small groups from each of the four schools gave short presentations of their favorite activities, showing how they work and explaining the scientific principles behind them. Crowd favorites included “banana sutures” from the Funston girls (supported by surgeon and frequent S4S guest Dr. Florence Mussat), explanations of luminescence and density from Ariel, lessons on making elephant toothpaste from Carter, and tornados in a bottle from Woodson.

Elephant toothpaste 2

To end the program, the dynamic STEM facilitators presented each of the girls they’ve been working with all semester with a certificate to acknowledge their dedication and growth.

Thanks to parents, scientists, and friends who came to support the Sisters, including the Motorola Mobility ladies from the recent Spring Science Camp. The knowledge, humor, and teamwork of these wonderful girls have made this a great year for S4S, and we hope to see them all back in the Fall.

Dr. Mussat and the Funston crew

S4S is made possible with support from the Chicago Foundation for Women, Department of Family and Support Services, Siragusa Foundation, and the REAM Foundation. Essential partners include Logan Square Neighborhood Association and Citizen Schools. Facilitators chilling

NSW laughing 3Banana suture 1

ED Natasha Smith-Walker with the Motorola Mobility ladies

 Rok1

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!!!