By Isabel P.
Senior Girl Reporter
I had the opportunity to attend the S.T.E.M. for Starters in at the GSSGC High Desert Service Center on June 18, 2016. This event was created by Girl Scout Troop 1101’s own Caitlin S. This program was made to introduce girls to the basics of STEM through fun activities. There were 8 stations, divided up into two sections for different age groups. One side was for the Daises and Brownies, while the other side was for Juniors and Cadettes.
The tables split by the letters of S.T.E.M. Caitlin opened up with introductions and songs to get the girls pumped and ready to learn. Then they divided the girls by colors and showed them to their section. The first side I visited was the Junior/Cadette section “S.” At that station. the Girl Scouts made lip balm from Vaseline, Kool-aide, food coloring and glitter. They also developed their own plastic by heating up milk and adding tablespoons of vinegar.
Technology station, or “T,” was next. Here the Girl Scouts made firefly flashlights. The activity called for clothes pins, a watch battery, copper tape, shrink tubes and LED lights.
Station “E,” or the engineering station, is where the young engineers had to make marble roller coasters out of duct tape and paper. They had to use basic engineering principals to build momentum from the first initial push to propel their coaster around the track.
Last, but not least, was the math section. Yes, the “M” in STEM, here the girls learned fractions, how to simplify them and how math is important in STEM careers. The girls also learned probability with cards and how to play Sudoku. It turns out, girls really love Sudoku!
On the other side of the facility was the Daisy/Brownie section. Instructors showed the little ones step by step how to create their own plastic and lip balm products, and allowed them to mix all the materials together. The younger girls also learned about decoding with the Ceaser cypher. They were given their own cyphers and a sheet with letters to decode. The instructors carefully showed how to find the letters with the substitution of another by tuning the over 4 times so that they could decode the message. For example, the letter “a” would become “e”, the letter “b” would become “f”. The message they decoded said “Julius Caesars cipher”, “on my honor”, “believe in yourself”, “keep calm and do STEM”.
In addition, the Daisies and Brownies learned about gear construction using Lego-type gears and math where they learned about complex shapes such as the square, trapezoid, diamond, parallelogram, hexagon, equilateral triangle and the rhombus.
This being a Girl Scout event, we closed with songs, a thank you and a patch for each participant. Caitlin designed the patches herself!
This event was a fun, education introduction to STEM programs. More importantly, it showed girls that if they have a dream, or an idea, that they can make a plan and do it! Caitlin plans to develop this event into a patch program where girls and volunteers can come and learn about the benefits that STEM provides girls.
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