Posts Tagged ‘Caboosh’

Tonight’s meeting is a repeat of one of the first non-Key to Brownies meetings I ever planned (nine years ago!).  That original meeting was after an area training day where I took a class on how to teach STEM.  The trainer stressed that we should just let the girls get messy and that they’ll learn better if you let them try it for themselves.

Science night works best with stations to circulate through.

Science night works best with stations to circulate through.

But be prepared too:

  • Ask girls to wear play clothes that they don’t mind getting messy.
  • Tarp the heck out of the place: We’ve got lots of painter’s tarps (Walmart sells a three-pack for less than $4 and I have about 10 of those).
  • Have everything prepped and tested in advance.  My plan here has stations – make sure each station leader knows what’s going on (and why the chemical reaction or whatever it is, is happening).  Everyone needs to know how to explain what they’re explaining so that they can have the confidence of an expert. Try to do your experiment at least once before you talk the girls through it (it shouldn’t be a complete learning experience for the leader too).
  • Have lots of garbage bags on hand.  And camp wash bins.  This stuff is messy and you won’t have time between sessions to tidy.
  • My plan uses a lot of pop/water bottles.  If you go this route, line up your bottles in advance by asking families to save theirs.  Or raid the recycle bin at work.

The Plan:

6:15 – Guiders set up your stations and ask any last minute questions

6:30 – Arrival Game H2O Tag from the Brownie Leader book

6:40 – Brownie Circles

6:50 – Brownie Circle Time

7:00 – Program.  (10 minutes per station with a bit of travel time built in…)  Split into three or four groups for experiment stations.  We like smaller groups per session and have enough for 4 stations to run.

Instructions:  Everyone will have an opportunity to do each of the four stations (each leader ran the same program four times).  When you arrive at a table, Pause (without touching), Observe (what do you think will happen?), Listen to instructions, Do the activity, Observe what happened.

7:05 Station 1 – Non Newtonian Fluid Demo (Cornstarch and Water). The link has an excellent explanation.  Or call it Ooblek (this site has a good explanation too).

  • You need: A water supply (I had a Nalgene water bottle and we parked our table near a water fountain), water cups, disposable cereal bowls (cleanup is not possible between stations so it is nice to be able to dump the lot in the garbage, but you could get plastic cereal bowls and wash them at the end if you have the facilities), and cornstarch.

7:15 Station 2 – Baking Soda Balloon Demo (watch the video…especially the boy’s face at about the 2:30 mark as the reaction happens… everyone’s face did that!  Everyone’s!)

  • You need: Vinegar, baking soda, plastic bottles, balloons, funnels, measuring spoons.  We pre-loaded the baking soda in the balloons (wouldn’t that be funny to explain to police if I got pulled over?).
  • What’s happening: The baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) is a base while the vinegar (acetic acid) is an acid. When they react together they form carbonic acid which is very unstable, it instantly breaks apart into water and carbon dioxide, which creates all the fizzing as it escapes the solution.

7:25 Station 3 – Layers and Density. There are a couple of different methods.

  • This one is cool (but expensive with honey as one of the ingredients).  Shows different densities and different buoyancies at the same time.
  • Density Tower – Very pretty (Video)

7:35 Station 4 – Dancing Raisins to show Buoyancy.  This one isn’t as dramatic as the others, but it is still fun (the raisins go up and down with the bubbles).


7:45 Cleanup and a chat about Badges and how to earn them.  Then campfire (we sang The Littlest Worm – you know, with the soda fizz??)

7:55 – Close

It was a really super meeting.  Good Job Owls!

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One of my favourite non-Guidey blogs is by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, aka the Yarn Harlot (it is a knitting blog).  When she gets overloaded to a point where she can’t write up a proper post, she’ll write up a “Randomly” one.  And that’s what you get today.

  1. Key to STEM is one of my very favourite keys.  We did Building Up and People in Science (mostly as a copy of the one we did two years ago).
    Building Up Spaghetti and Marshmallows
  2. Tonight we’re bucking the trend of a Halloween Party.  None of the Owls are big fans of the spooky holiday – but here’s what we did in 2012 in case you’re interested.  Instead, tonight we’re holding a Science and Sleuth night.  We’re mostly using the free Mystery Themed meeting kit found on http://www.e-patchesandcrests.com.  We suggested that the girls could wear Scientist or Detective Type costumes (or as a minimum – wear play clothes and have a man’s shirt over the top).  And instead of doing the last item on the list, we’re going to do Blue Goo in honour of Caboosh next week.
  3. If you’re going to do Blue Goo (and oh, please do), make sure you have a source for Borax in advance.  Loblaws and Walmart (in South Ottawa) did not carry it (update – found it in Loblaws Elmvale).  I’ve heard Sobey’s and Metro are good places to go.  It turns out that I had some in Brownie Mountain.  Phew.   I did a test “Goo” and have been playing with it at work all day.  Totally fun.
  4. If you’re on centralized banking in Ontario, a good way to frustrate your treasurer is to lose your mind mix up your Brownie card with your personal Visa. I’m going to write a cheque for the personal groceries I accidentally bought with the Brownie Card, and expense the Brownie groceries I paid for on my personal card.  Yeesh.  Not my shining moment.
  5. Next week we’re hoping to do STEM: Stargazing at the rural home of one of our past Guiders – but if it is rainy or cloudy, our backup plan is to do STEM: Caboosh.  The links are to our previous meetings.

And there you are.  =)

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Mrs. January (a favourite Canadian Coupon site) often has frugal tips.  Today’s is about making Homemade Lip Balm.  This would be a neat STEM Caboosh activity… or Mother’s day gift… or activity at Camp.

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My Mom found Pinterest a little while ago and she’s obsessed.  But she’s also got good taste (hi Mom!).

For STEM Caboosh, this Slime from Tot Treasures would be fun.   It might be a fun activity for camp too!

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This is kinda cool… could Brownies make their own sunscreen?  Might be a little expensive, but it would be a neat chemistry sort of activity – maybe at a residential camp.


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In years that we do Key to my Community, we aim to have the Canada meeting around Remembrance Day and Veteran’s Week  Here is the meeting plan for November 2010 (link updated Oct 2012).  You may also find the Simple Flag Ceremony Script useful.

In opposite years (like this year) we are usually in the middle of Key to STEM so we do a Remembrance Day opening ceremony instead (Circle Openings > Brownie Opening > National Anthem > Poem (“Just One” Author Unknown – although Maryam Kazimi is credited in this link). > Brownie Promise > Discussion.)  Here is the STEM Caboosh Night from 2009 which we repeated mostly last night.

Remembrance is important.  I realize that we did the bare minimum last night and I’m not sure I’m happy with it.  But there you are.

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Have you ever made your own hovercraft!?  The folks at http://www.thechocolatemuffintree.com/2011/06/cd-hovercraft.html have posted a neat tutorial for one that looks like loads of fun.  It probably would fit into STEM Caboosh, or Building up.   As well as Key to the Living World: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle!

The big thing will be to give the girls balloons that they can blow up on their own.  =)

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