Woodson Girls are Survivors!

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.

Brianna (7th Grade) and Ashanta (6th Grade) both have perfect attendance!

Brianna (7th Grade) and Ashanta (6th Grade) both have perfect attendance!

The girls pose with their code of conduct.

The girls pose with their code of conduct.

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!

A list of 15 items for the "Moon Landing"

A list of 15 items for the “Moon Landing”

Ashanta and Brianna rank the items in most importance

Ashanta and Brianna rank the items in most importance

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's journal entry

Ashanta’s journal entry

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.”

Brianna's journal entry

Brianna’s journal entry

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!

-Tolu Rosanwo

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Welcome-Back Day

By Bori

We have waited so long for Sisters4Science to get restarted this semester!  The girls were so excited to come in the Sisters4Science class!  The girls were running into the classroom all the way from the hallway, giving me a warm fuzzy hugs!

I jotted down the following journal prompt to open the class: “What would you like to do in Sisters4Science this semester? You may list your ideas and explain why.”  One response caught my eye.  Faith wrote, “Let the lesson be interesting. Surprise me.”  Most girls always love hands-on learning.  They do not think Science is boring anymore.  By revisiting the Code of Conduct we created in the beginning of the year, we had a whole group discussion—what we’d like for this class to be like this semester.  All girls were very passionate making a positive learning environment.  I always love seeing the girls come up with their own ideas to make Sisters4Science so wonderful!

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Moving onto the next mission we had, we were working on the recruitment strategy.  We needed more girls to keep this class going.  I said, “Most girls think Science is boring.” “No, actually not. Everything is hands-on!” claimed Ashley.  “Yes, that’s right! All of you are the witness.  That’s why I am asking for your help to recruit the girls.  Any ideas?”  “I can make a list of 8th graders and we can start from there,” said Faith.  “Thank you, Faith.” So we have set up the schedule for a recruitment party.  It will be next Wednesday!

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Last mission before the class ends, we were packing the most critical items for the emergency moon landing at a spot 200 miles from a rendezvous point.  There were 15 items listed and we were to find which one is the most or the least critical for the survival.  The senior girls were very interested in searching the items. “It’s fascinating!  I love it!” said Shelby.  “I don’t think we need matches at all. It wouldn’t work up there.”  “I have water come first.  Without food it is fine, but we can’t survive without water.  Our body needs water.”

I loved just listening to their on-going science conversation!  They did such a fabulous job!  We are all looking forward to another amazing semester in Sisters4Science.

WEEK 1: Meet the Woodson Girls!

Woodson North

By Tolu

The Sisters4Science after school program began on October 25, 2013 at the Woodson North Middle School. For the first session, the girls bonded with STEM Facilitator, Tolu Rosanwo, by sharing about their favorite foods, who they admire and their grade in school. All students except one said that they “hated” science the most since they currently do not have a science teacher. Nonetheless, the girls seemed so happy to be there after school, and Rosanwo was excited that they were excited.

Woodson North As pictured from left to right: Stephanee, Ciera, Briana, and Desiree are incredibly bright. The girls’ grades ranged from 7th to 8th grade, and their heroes were their mothers (Desiree), Batman (Briana), Inyuasha (Ciera), Beyoncé and Edward Cullen (Stephanee).

For the first lesson, Tolu and the girls helped formulate their Code of Conduct, and asked, “What does it mean to be a sister?” Desiree and Briana (both biological sisters) immediately chimed in, but they all got to work writing their codes on the board. 7th grader, Stephanee, thought a sister should be “special, interesting, social, trustworthy, excellent, and respectful,” but all came to the consensus that they must all trust and believe in one another. Desiree wants it to be the group motto.
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The class concluded with a discussion about the Scientific Method and a definition of science. The girls shouted out terms like “hypothesis,” “statistics,” “data,” “experiments” and developed hypotheses for why the sky was blue.

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At the end of the day, they journaled their experiences and Stephanee wrote, “I used to think science was boring, but now I think it’s fun!”
One session was already so transformative, and we are excited about what is to come for these girls.