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Archive for the ‘Key to STEM’ Category

My Dad is a retired Fisheries Biologist and when my nephew was born, his dad gave my dad Trout, Trout, Trout – a Fish Chant by April Pulley Sayre. Nephew is almost 11 now … he loves his Grampy and is obsessed with fish. And we have wonderful memories of the two of them reading the “Fish” book (the littler kids are enjoying it with Grampy now). But we can all recite it by memory. 9781559719797_p0_v1_s192x300

Brownies had a sleepover at a local conservation area this spring and in the morning we enjoyed a fantastic pond ecology program. We read a random book at bedtime, but I wish I had had Trout, Trout, Trout in my kit.

There’s also a neat resource for teachers here that looks like a meeting in a box that I would like to try for Key to the Living World (it mentions wetlands, plants and animals that live near you)

Also try our Key to the Living World: Water all around meeting.

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We’re planning a winter camp in February and this idea from www.cottagelife.com shows us what happens when you blow bubbles (a typical summer camp activity) in the winter. This experiment was done at -40 degrees (at that point it is so cold that both Celsius and Fahrenheit match up). We are hoping (please please please) for much warmer weather than that, but anything is possible in Ottawa in February. Snowy Owl is going to be angry with me for even suggesting that it might be -40 at camp.

Go to www.CottageLife.com to see what happens.

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Vortex science demoed with a plate in a pool.  So Cool! And explained really well, in a way that a Guider (like me) could learn it and explain it to a group of girls. I think we’ll try this next time we do Brownies Splash.

Physics Girl: A Unique and Crazy Pool Vortex

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As we ease into planning our 2014-15 Brownie Year, I am going to shock you. I am going to be so bold as to suggest that you abandon your traditional Halloween party in favour of a themed dress up meeting that contributes to program.

Many of you will gasp with horror at that idea. What! No Halloween Party?! Brown Owl Cara, you’re a cruel and horrible Owl to deny the girls a fabulous spooky party. The truthful reply is that we are really bad at Halloween parties.  We had a real stinker two years ago and so, last year, we tried something different and redeemed ourselves.

The meeting was called “Science and Sleuth Dress Up Night”.

Instructions: Girls were asked to wear Scientist or Detective type costumes. We suggested that an easy scientist costume could be made with a man’s shirt over play clothes. We had one girl come in full CSI dress with a tackle box as a tool kit and everything, there were a few mad scientists, an awesome Albert Einstein, a couple of Sherlock Holmes characters and a bunch of lab coat/man’s shirt combos.

2013-10-29 07.14.26sciencenight

We used ideas from the e-Patches & crests Mystery Meeting and the BC Girl Guides CSI Challenge … both free downloads. The grand finale was Blue Goo for Caboosh (make sure you have Borax).  Health Canada advises against using Borax There are lots of alternatives that don’t use Borax (do those!).

Here’s what we did:

  • 6:30: Arrival Game – we used a word search from the BC Girl Guides CSI Challenge.
  • 6:40 Regular Opening activities
  • 7:00 Story discussion from the e-patches Mystery meeting
  • 7:10 Fingerprint comparison from the Mystery meeting – we used washable markers instead of ink pads (that’s the photo above)
  • 7:20 Ice magnifying glass from the Mystery meeting.  (The ice didn’t work for us, but we had some magnifying glasses and the girls had a surprising amount of fun peering at things).
  • 7:30 – Game – How Good a Witness Are You? from the CSI Challenge.
  • 7:40 – Blue Goo – STEM Caboosh
  • 8:00 Close. (We did give out a small treat for Halloween – we’re not THAT horrible!).

It was a fantastic meeting! The only thing is, now we have to come up with another dress up idea for this year. We are tossing around the possibility of a book party where we ask the girls to dress up like their favourite book character – and e-Patches has a Reading meeting!

Now, if you love Halloween and are actually good at throwing Halloween parties, please proceed as usual – but consider throwing a dress up science & sleuth meeting another night.  It was fun!

I hope you’re enjoying your summers.

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Tonight is our last meeting before Advancement and, as always, we’re a mixture of sad that Brownies is ending, and ready for a break.  But we are going out with a bang (or a pop!) with a really fun Bubble Meeting.

6:30 Arrival Game – play your favourite game of the whole year.  They picked Captain’s Coming.

6:40 Circle Inspections

6:50 Circle Time

7:00 Program

All together (while the stations were setting up):

  • Talk about what an experiment is.  Listen to instructions, observe what’s there, predict the result, do the activity, and report the actual results.
  • Make Bubble Solution – Compare it to Commercial Bubble Solution.

Then split the girls into three groups.  Circulate through the stations (about 8 minutes per station)

  • Station 1 – Make individual wands in different shapes (circle, square, heart, triangle) and then blow bubbles to assess if the shape of the wand impacts the shape of the bubble.
    The answer: it always makes a sphere.  From Bubbleology.
    Supplies – Pipe cleaners/Chenille Sticks and a pan of bubble solution.
  • Station 2 – Make a rectangular frame (String with two straws threaded through to make a rectangle).  Also to assess whether or not the shape of the wand makes a different shaped bubble.
    Answer: It always makes a sphere.  From Bubbleology.
    Supplies – straws and string, with scissors. And a pan of bubbles.
  • Station 3 – Make Paper Cone bubble maker and Make a Bubble Snake.  Not an experiment – but super fun.

7:30 Bubble Party.  Have fun making bubbles.

7:45 Our favourite songs campfire (Tall Trees, Land of the Silver Birch, Littlest Worm) and Closing at 8.  Done!

Resources:

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Brownies slept over at the Canada Science and Technology Museum in Ottawa on Friday and it was one of the best sleepovers we’ve ever had.  We hit the jackpot with a session leader who reviewed our Key to STEM requirements and who took the time to work out a program for us.  The girls loved the program and were super interested.  The leader hit all the points in STEM – people in science, caboosh, Stargazing (we even got to go out to the observatory!), building up… the whole thing.  The program ended around 9:15, and the girls were asleep by 10PM.  Without shushing and goofing around.  Our Owl team is pretty good at settling the girls down to bed, but even we were surprised.  You hear nightmare stories of girls being up all night… but, we’ve never had that happen.

  • Pros: Excellent program, neat place to sleep, they feed you breakfast (with coffee and tea for leaders) in the morning.  Excellent cell service so I was able to send e-mails to parents to update them on our evening (because, as much as this first outing is for us to suss out how the girls will do on a longer trip…it is possibly the first time the parents have left their girls for a non-Grandparent sleepover).  And the museum provides sleeping mats (so you don’t have to deflate 20 Thermarests).
  • Cons: Expensive – we charged $30 per girl to cover most of it with the unit budget covering the rest.  But we were blown away with the program.  In our opinion, we got a great deal.

As a public service for future sleepovers… I thought you would appreciate some direction about where to put your bed.  Some spots are better than others and you can’t tell until the lights are out… and once they’re out, you can’t move people around.

Where to put your bed at your next sleepover at the Museum of Science and Technology.

It was a great night.  If you’re looking for more info, check out Brownie Sleepover, Night at the Museum and don’t forget to advise the Fire Department that you’re in a building that isn’t usually occupied.

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Two Tuesdays ago (yes, it has been that long since I updated the blog) we did Key to STEM: Communications.  As usual, we went with the tried and true.  We didn’t deviate much from the 2011 Communications Meeting plan and it went beautifully.  You’ll note that we focus a lot on Morse Code and I don’t know how we got into that, but the girls were extremely (weirdly?)  interested and engaged in an “ancient” code.

Try Snowy Owl’s Morse Code Relay (details in the 2011 plan).  Here are some photos of the action.

Morse Code Keys in Action

Morse Code Keys

Girls would run to the Owls who had their letters - they were also able to ask their Owl for assistance if they needed it.

Girls ran their relay – collecting their letter cards from the Owls at the other end of the gym – they were also able to ask their Owl for assistance if they needed it.

Figuring out the code was tough, but they got it in the end.  These girls are figuring out "Brown Owl".

Figuring out the code was tough, but they got it in the end. These girls are figuring out “Brown Owl”.

And the Morse Code Bracelets (also from the 2011 Communications Meeting) are pretty awesome too.

Starry Owl helping out with the bracelet construction.

Starry Owl helping out with the bracelet construction.

Tomorrow night we will be sleeping over in the Science and Tech museum.  Wish us well.  =)

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