Erosion + Dirt, Rocks, and Mulch = Fun and Learning!

Thursday, April 2nd, 2015 – written by STEM Facilitator, Nedum Aniemeka

April 2 - 11 Let’s be one with nature. It is important for us as people to understand nature and try to understand what happens when things change and how we fix problems that may come about.  Today our special guest was Ms. Natalie Mills, a civil engineering for the US Army Corps of Engineers, and she wanted the girls to get dirty today. She wanted the girls to further understand flooding and the efforts that are made to prevent it. She wanted to explain how different flooding can be with different minerals. The process she chose to emphasize was erosion. She showed the different types of flooding that can occur with slopes, which is more April 2 - 1capable of minerals to be carried away. The girls were first asked what they knew about flooding and was given pictures of bad flooding so they can see how severe things can get.

After a short lesson the girls were on their way to get their hands dirty. They were put in 3 groups where they had soil, mulch, and dirt. The first group had dirt and with extra rocks in the mixture, when the girls viewed what happens when it is sloped some minerals were carried away but stayed on top. Our next group had mulch. In this group they learned about absorption and April 2 - 8how mulch actually helps with decreasing the chance of flooding. Stephanee had noticed this and explained that she doesn’t think that there is erosion because the water that was added just sank to the bottom. Last but not least, we had soil with our third group. When the girls added water to this, they noticed there wasn’t anything absorbing the water and it mainly stayed above the soil, allowing more flooding. The girls also got a chance to see how soil softened and how when sloped, more soil is carried with the water as well.
It was important for the girls to really get in touch with Mother Nature and have a better perspective in how natural disasters can happen and possibly getting into a career in helping others being victims in these tragedies. It was the last day of April 2 - 5school for them, before Spring Break, and the girls explained they enjoyed themselves and will miss the program. One of the girls, Rachel, even told me that I remind her of her older sister, someone she can look up to. It was wonderful to learn this before the break and for the girls to appreciate the sessions we bring to them more and more! Cannot wait to continue our amazing Sisters4Science program after Spring Break!