Written by STEM Facilitator, Eugenia Ruiz
On your marks, get set, go! The Sisters4Science (S4S) girls at Funston Elementary started off the first month of program with so much enthusiasm! In this year’s class, we have a lot of returning students but also many new faces that brighten up the classroom. For this year, we are going to try and focus on Environmental Science and its many wonders.
Sisters4Science at Funston is lucky enough to be partnered with the Chicago Botanic Garden! With this partnership, the girls have already been involved in fantastic lessons and a field trip.
On October 28th, the main lesson of the program was called Climate Change Collage. This began with a group discussion on what climate change was. Many of the girls knew it had to do with temperature. Taneeyah said that climate change was: “when the hot weather in summer and the cold weather in winter lasts longer.” I thought that that response was right on the dot.
From there we discussed ways in which we as humans create climate change and how we can make, both individually and as a group, less of an impact to the climate change problem. We created a list for both these questions. With these lists, the girls were going to create their own collage of how they can help lessen their impact on the planet. Once the magazines and other supplies came out, the girls started working very hard on their collages. It was great to see a lot of girls cutting out fruits and vegetables and thinking about starting their own garden. I really enjoyed that activity and I am positive that the girls did too.
Following this lesson, on Saturday, October 31st, the girls had the chance to visit the Chicago Botanic Garden (CBG) for a field trip! I must say that the girls were definitely excited about visiting a place that they had never been before. Kathy Johnson, the Youth Education Programs Director at Chicago Botanic Garden, was kind enough to be our instructor for the day. The girls did so many things! They discussed what was important in the photosynthesis process and which one was the most important of them all. She had the girls use clear nail polish and put some on the bottom of some different leaves, use tape to remove the impression once the nail polish dried, and look at the impressions through a microscope. So many of the girls were wowed at how interesting and different the impressions were. Next, they were able to plant their own spider plant and take it home with them! Knowing the girls, they’ll definitely try and water them every day. Kathy’s last activity placed the girls in two groups with oxygen and carbon dioxide readers. These machines were used to read the levels of oxygen and carbon dioxide from the plants. Kathy took us to a few greenhouses and had the girls try it out. It was great to see the girls look at the readers and see the different spikes.
Lastly after lunch, the girls and I, along with Jaclyn Carmichael, Program Manager at Project Exploration, and Hilda Arias from Logan Square Neighborhood Association, decided to tour the Gardens. It was raining at the time, but that definitely did not stop the girls from enjoying such fantastic views of the different gardens. We went from seeing the waterfall to being Zen in the Japanese Garden. It was so great to see the girls so excited about nature. They all enjoyed and appreciate the beautiful scenery that was around them. Victoria kept repeating: “Everything is so beautiful.” Just hearing those words makes my heart feel so much greatness for my students. It’s been fantastic so far. This just makes me more excited about what’s to come from the rest of our sessions. Until next time!