The Woodson girls are back for 2014. On January 31st, there was a small group with Brianna and Ashanta (perfect attendance), but these girls both brought their enthusiasm. We revisited our Code of Conduct and tweaked it a bit. Brianna thought the C.O.D.E is all about Creativity, being Omnivores (she learned about them that week), Dangerous and Enlighteners. Ashanta thought that Sisters should “stay smart” and “stay healthy.” Brianna also voiced her frustration about people telling her what things she should like “just because I am a girl.” This is was the first time she talked about stereotyping in class, and it probably will not be the last. It inspired STEM facilitator, Tolu Rosanwo to discuss stereotypes in more detail in the future.
The main activity for the day was a “Moon Landing” exercise. The girls imagined they were astronauts who landed 200 miles away from the mother ship on the moon. Their task was rank the 15 items they were given in importance as they make their trek over to the rendezvous point. The girls really had to think critically about what is important to survive and what is possible in space. Matches, for example, have no utility as there is no oxygen, but 200 lb oxygen tanks are so necessary and much lighter as the moon’s gravitational pull is much smaller than the earth’s!
The girls ranked the items and compared their results to NASA’s rankings. For some items they were spot on while for others (like the .45 caliber pistol) they were a bit off. NASA had a rubric, and the girls were disappointed to see that they had a long way to go to be successful on the moon. Brianna threw up her hands and said, “We failed!” But, Tolu reminded both of the girls that we often have to fail in order to learn!
Brianna wrote in her journal, “I used to think the moon is not special. Now [I] know it is.” And she challenged Tolu with the question, “Why is the moon important?” Tolu told her about the tides but really needed to do her research and get back to her.
Ashanta, who had recently watched Sandra Bullock’s Gravity said, “I used to think the moon was not cool but now I know it is totally not cool and dangerous.”
The moon and our planet are very dangerous places. It is hard to survive and these girls overcome many obstacles to make it back into the safe four walls of the Sisters4Science science lab. The Woodson girls are indeed survivors!