Week 2: February 16th, 2011

This week we went more in-depth into basic circuit design. First we played a game by making a human circuit.  One person acted as a switch telling the circuit to turn on or off, another as a battery which sent electricity (in the form of hand squeezes) and the rest of the girls were wires passing electricity throughout the circuit.

Next, we built a simple circuit using a light bulb.  We made the circuit progressively more complicated by adding switches and multiple light bulbs.  We even learned the difference between a series and parallel circuit and the situations where one is better than the other.  These girls have an amazing knack for understanding how electrons create electricity and the effect of circuit design on electric current!

Finally, we listened to a presentation by Morse School 8th graders who were in the process of using their circuit design skills to develop robots for a competition.

Week 1: February 9th, 2011

This semester we have one third grade group and we'll be working through the Circuits and Magnets curriculum! Below is a group picture of our group this semester, minus a few of our mentor scientists.

Here's a recap of the first week's activities from Dewi, one of SCFG's mentor scientists. Dewi is a graduate student at Boston University studying Biomedical Engineering.

"This week we got an introduction to electricity. We learned that electricity- the power that lights up light bulbs and keeps our computers and phones going- is due to the flow of negatively charged subatomic particles, known as electrons. The girls rubbed balloons against their hair, generating static electricity, and built their own circuits! Can you figure out how to put a battery, light bulb, and wires together to turn on a light bulb? The girls at the Science Club for Girls at the Morse School did!"

Here are a few pictures of the girls and mentors in action:

A group circle getting to know each other and going over plans for the semester.

The girls in action under guidance from SCFG mentor scientists

Week 8: December 8th, 2010

Today was Science-fest day and our last Science Club for Girls session of the semester. Last week, each club picked out their favorite activity of the semester to share with the other club. The third graders decided they would demonstrate their knowledge of chemical reactions to the forth/fifth graders using baking soda and vinegar. The forth/fifth graders decided they would show the third graders surface tension using milk, soap and food coloring. Everybody had a lot of fun and enjoyed interacting with students in the other clubs. I'm looking forward to seeing everybody again next semester!

Week 7: December 1st, 2010

3rd Grade Group:

The third graders had a fabulously messy time making their own ice cream!  We used sugar, milk, whipping cream and vanilla to make our own blend of SCFG ice cream.  Theoretically, an ice and salt mixture would freeze our ice cream mixture, however in practice we ended up with a very cold milkshake.  Even though our experiment wasn't completely successful, it was quite a delicious demonstration of a chemical mixture!

4th/5th Grade Group:

The fourth graders created Cartesian divers.  Each girl made their own using a piece of a drinking straw, some paper clips, a twisty-tie and a full water bottle. After properly constructed, the diver will float or sink depending on how much the full water bottle is squeezed. Cartesian divers may seem magical at first, but we soon discovered that their behavior was based on the principles of buoyancy.

Week 6: November 17th, 2010

3rd Grade Group:

The girls did some really fun activities today while learning the difference between a chemical reaction and a chemical mixture. First, we made playdough, a chemical mixture made using ingredients that you can find at home (flour, salt, oil, vinegar and water). After having some fun with our creations, we set off baking soda and vinegar volcanoes!  The volcanoes are an example of a chemical reaction, to contrast the chemical mixture we made earlier.

4th/5th Grade Group:

Today the girls learned about the relationship between temperature and the volume of a gas. We then used our knowledge to "magically" inflate balloons.  For one experiment, we put hot water into a plastic bottle and shook it around, then we emptied the bottle and placed a balloon over the mouth of the bottle. When we stuck the bottle into a bowl of cold water, the balloon inflated inside of the water bottle! This is because as the air in the bottle gets cooler, it contracts and sucks the balloon into the bottle.

Week 5: November 10th, 2010

3rd Grade Group:

Today we were able to see the results of our crystal gardens that we started last week and further delve into the science of crystallization. After examining the crystal gardens, an example of slow-growth crystals, we began an experiment with fast crystallization. We used dissolved epsom salts and a little glue into boiling water, and then painted this solution onto the sides of glass jars and construction paper.  After the liquid evaporated, each girl was left with a beautiful piece of crystallized art!

4th/5th Grade Group:

The 4th and 5th graders explored the properties of carbon dioxide. First, we learned how to "magically" blow up a balloon using the carbon dioxide produced by a packet of instant yeast. Our second trick of the day was to extinguish a flame by "pouring" carbon dioxide onto a candle.  We mixed baking soda and vinegar together in a cup to produce carbon dioxide. We then carefully tilted the cup over a candle. Since carbon dioxide is heavier than air, the gas flowed out and extinguished the candle's flame.

Week 4: November 3rd, 2010

3rd Grade Group:

This week the 3rd graders created beautiful crystal gardens! After learning all about what crystals are, the 3rd graders mixed bluing, salt and ammonia together to make their basic crystal solution.  They added food coloring to give their crystals some color and then added a piece of charcoal as a seed for the crystal to begin growing.  The girls are very excited to see what their crystals will look like next week after having a chance to grow!

4th/5th Grade Group:

The 4th graders did a variety of experiment to explored the amazing properties of dry ice.  We learned the concept of "sublimation" and how that is key to many of the abilities of dry ice.  For one experiment, we carefully put a piece of dry ice into a plastic bottle and then added water.  We put a ballon over the mouth of the bottle and watched as the balloon slowly filled up with carbon dioxide released by the dry ice. Next we added soap to the mix, creating soap bubbles filled with dry ice "fog".  Finally, we found that if a penny was pressed against dry ice, it produced a screeching sound!