May 26th, 2015 – written by STEM Facilitator, Nedum Aniemeka
With the end of the season Reflection of Knowledge just a couple of days away, the girls are hard at work finishing their presentations for the special event! Today, the girls had some time to add more detail to their presentations and were able to practice their projects. Most of the girls have experience talking in front of people but they wanted to make sure they were comfortable enough with the material that they could present it clearly to the audience. What a great idea!
To start off the day we did a quick physical activity. The girls wanted to do something that would give them a quick energy burst, so we decided to do a quick game of Shake It Out! Shake It Out is basically a way for you to shake out any stress and tightness you may have in your body. To start, you shake one arm 10 times by counting down from 10, then you shake the other arm, then your legs in the same fashion. You continue shaking each limb and count down each time until you’re eventually left with no shakes
! The girls loved it and were ready to continue on their projects by the end of the activity.
After that, each of the girls worked on finishing their presentations. Antoinette was one of the first to finish, so she practiced her presentation for me. She was great! After that, Shaniya, Alanah, Antimia, and Lyric also got to practice their public speaking. The girls seemed super prepared and I can’t wait to see them present at the Reflections of knowledge event on Friday!
Tuesday, May 19th, 2015 – written by STEM Facilitator, Nedum Aniemeka
Today, the girls began their prep for their Reflection of Knowledge presentations! The Reflection of Knowledge is an event that Project Exploration puts on for the girls of Sisters4Science at the end of each season. It’s meant to be a time for the girls to reflect on all of the things they’ve learned at Sisters4Science, as well as share all of their great new knowledge with friends and family. The girls were all very excited to get to show everyone what they’ve done, because they said they wanted everyone to know as much about science as they now did!
To get the creative juices flowing, the girls and I did a quick physical activity as a study break. Because they had been sitting down all day in class, I wanted to make sure they weren’t too blocked up to think of some awesome ideas for their posters! A’nise suggested that we play a round of zip zap zop because it required quick-thinking and keeping alert. The girls love that game, so it was a great way to get their creative juices flowing.
After our physical activity, the girls all had to decide which experiments they wanted to use for their presentations. Shaniya chose to do her presentation on Luminescence, Nyssa and Lyric decided to do their presentation on the surgical experiment that Dr. Mussatt showed us, and Alanah and Antimia wanted to do their presentation on the banana DNA experiment that Dr. Ana Shulla showed us! The girls were all great about remembering the details of their respective experiments and were very creative with the drawings and figures they put on their posters. Can’t wait to see their final products!
Tuesday, May 12th, 2015 – written by STEM Facilitator, Nedum Aniemeka
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
hold 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!
Tuesday, May 5th, 2015 – written by STEM Facilitator, Nedum Aniemeka
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
ethanol 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
game 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!
Tuesday, April 28th, 2015 – written by STEM Facilitator, Nedum Aniemeka
This week at Sisters4Science, the girls
of Ariel Community Academy were pleased to participate in another activity with Dr. Florence Mussat! The girls absolutely loved having her visit and teach them how to sew stitches last week so they were excited to see her again. For this session, Dr. Mussat taught the girls about a very useful skill – CPR – Cardio-Pulmonary Resuscitation. Most of the girls said that they had already begun babysitting kids for friends and family, so it was super important for them to know the basics of CPR so they could know what to do in case of an emergency.
To start off her lesson, Dr. Mussat showed the girls a few videos so they could see examples of what a real-life emergency would look like if someone were choking or unconscious. When asked what the first thing they should do when they see someone in trouble, Brianna said that they should call for help. That’s right Brianna! Whenever anyone thinks they or someone they’re with is in danger, the first thing they need to do is call 9-1-1 to ensure the proper
authorities are alerted to the situation. However, after that CPR may be necessary, and this is what Dr. Mussat covered in her demonstration. Because we didn’t have any actual dummies to practice on, the girls had to use our junior Kids4Science – Brooklyn and Jadyn. Don’t worry, no six year olds were harmed in the making of this demonstration! All of the girls got to pair off in twos and simulate an emergency situation in which they were babysitters. Dr. Mussat told the girls that “Staying Alive” had the perfect beat to do chest compressions to, and because of that she asked each pair to have someone sing the song while they did CPR! Antimia had a blast out of that and even got everyone else singing a
long with her.
At the end of the demonstration, the girls had a dance break for their physical activity, and what better song to use than “Staying Alive”! Overall, it was a successful week of Sisters4Science at Ariel!
Tuesday, April 21st, 2015 – written by STEM Facilitator, Nedum Aniemeka
This week at Ariel the girls of Sisters4Science got a chance to be surgeons! Dr. Florence Mussat, a plastic and reconstructive surgeon, came to Ariel and brought her surgical tools with her. To start the lesson, Dr. Mussat gave the girls a crash course on all things in medicine, asking the girls about a variety of health issues that doctors encounter on a daily basis. It looks like the girls are all already experts, because they knew the answers to all of the questions Dr. Mussat asked! Anise even knew all of the signs of someone having a stroke, which is very impressive.
To get to know the girls, Dr. Mussat went around the room and asked everyone what they wanted to be when they were older. The girls all had different professions in mind! Brianna said she wanted to be a doctor while Shanyia said she wanted to be a teacher and Martinisha said she wanted to be a veterinarian. We’ve got some ambitious girls on our hands!
After her brief introduction, it was time to get down to stitching! Using some surgical scissors, needles, and of course scrubs, the girls got to experience what it would be like to give someone stitches. Of course they needed someone to operate on, and what better patient to have than a banana! The bananas they used were emergency patients, so the girls had to try to be quick to save them from loosing too much blood (strawberry sauce). The girls loved learning how to make a stitch and though they had some trouble at first soon enough they were all sewing up their banana peels like pros. Nyssa even said she thought she could walk into a surgery right then if she had to. I think she’ll need a few more years or school before she can do that, but we appreciate her confidence!
All in all, the girls loved Dr. Mussat’s demonstration and are definitely excited to have her back next week!
Tuesday, April 14th, 2015 – written by STEM Facilitator Nedum Aniemeka
This week at Ariel the girls had another TrueChild lesson on a very important topic regarding the choices girls are forced to make between popularity and studies. Often, adolescent girls are told that being interested in school is nerdy or not cool, while on the other hand popular girls are expected to only care about their looks. To discuss this problem, the girls drew a picture of an imaginary girl on the board and were asked to think of things that people would say about the girl. On one side the girls wrote things that people would say if the girl were popular/pretty and on the other side the girls wrote things that people would say if the girl were nerdy/studious.
The girls all agreed that the girl who was considered nerdy would not be as liked by boys as the popular girl. Shania said that boys may only want to talk to her if they are trying to get answers from her. When I asked the girls what they would say about the imaginary girl, they said they would think she was smart and hardworking but a little boring. For the popular girl, the Ariel girls thought that boys would say she was pretty and would want to date her. The Ariel girls said they would probably want to be friends with her.
The girls were then asked to think about what each imaginary girl thought about herself. Kiara noted that the nerdy girl would probably be sad because she didn’t have many friends and realized people only used her for homework. On the other hand, Alana said that the popular girl would think people didn’t want to get to know her past her looks.
So how do stereotypes affect girls’ desires to engage in science? According to Antoinette, if people always project ideas of what they think girls should be onto other girls, it will make girls only want to do things that make people like them. Because of that, a lot of girls may feel pressured to not come off as too smart or else people will think she’s weird or nerdy. But do the girls of Ariel buy that? No! We all want to make sure that girls feel comfortable exploring any interests they may have regardless of what people will say about them. Sounds like a good mission for Sisters4Science!