Posts Tagged ‘STEM’

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’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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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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Today’s post on Zakka Life is called Kid Craft: Packing Peanut Igloo

The post itself is very neat – it shows you how to make a Packing Peanut Igloo – great for a meeting about the Arctic or Canada’s North (check out MyGuideStuff.com for an excellent resource on the Arctic – including crafts, games, and instant meetings), or STEM Building up.   But the added bonus is the revelation that water soluble packing peanuts stick together and can be used to make things.  Who knew?

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I just found www.sciencebob.com and, in particular, this post about a Ketchup Experiment that could be useful the next time we do STEM.  Cool!

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STEM Caboosh night

STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Math) is all about science.

One of my favourites is the Experiment night!

This is a great resource for stuff to do.  A Lemon Squeezy Home (I found it through the Craftzine Blog).

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