This fall/winter semester is quickly coming to its end, but my girls have never closed their wondering minds. From Giving Tuesday to our last session of the year 2016, we had so much to celebrate. On November 29 that is called GivingTuesday across the country, we had a special Open House for the families and friends. I let my girls dress up as they want and have them prepare for each workshop station. Mrs. Natasha Smith-Walker, our Executive Director, came in a bit early get ready for live feeds on Facebook. She interviewed a couple of students how they would feel about this. Then, we kicked off the show as the families and friends came in. Yes, their dads visited us too—this was too exciting for us! In Latino culture, it is quite hard to see fathers encourage their daughters to study or work in STEM field, but what a wonderful opportunity for all of us to show the girls’ incredible work. The girls were so confident to share what they have done with their families and friends—I’m so proud of each student that they’ve become confident presenting themselves and what they do (yes, there is so much progress with these shy girls!)
One of the best picks that my girls have chosen is “Mystery Smoothie”—yes, everyone at the Open House loved this one as well. This particular experiment makes the concept of density easy to understand. You just need simple kitchen materials: canola oil, olive oil, jellies, walnuts, marshmallows, and water. Oh, you need at least 16oz cup or bigger one. If you want to test out other ingredients, yes, you’re more than welcome to. I let the girls draw first a complete cup with an order of what they think stays from the bottom. Before they got to a hands-on part, they shared what they think might be a right order.
Here it goes: we began to put each ingredient in the order we have drawn. Every moment each ingredient makes a layer in between; the girls got so excited. “Oh, see it’s very interesting.” “It smells so good.” Melissa asked, “Ms. Bori, what is the name of this activity?” “Hmm…I honestly don’t know. It is about density. What about you all come up with the title?” A moment later, Teenayah said, “I want to call it smoothie. It looks like smoothie and smells so good.” So, this activity has been called, “Mystery Smoothie’ and it is our favorite pick from this semester.
On the last day before a Christmas break, my girls had a mission to “keep bubbles alive.” Yes, keep bubbles alive. I works like this: once you blow on them, the bubbles disappear—that is what we’ve all experienced in our childhood. I had all supplies ready for them to make a recipe that makes a bubble alive—hand soups (that has glycerin in it or you could just use glycerin itself), laundry detergents, and sugar with water. The girls had to figure out how to portion these supplies and blend them. Then, I posed a question: “Do you think you need cold water or hot water? Or warm? You may want to consider this as you make a recipe.” They tried it with water at different temperatures and different proportions of each material. Teenaya, all the sudden, shouted “See, it bounces. It does. It stays on the floor.” Delhel said with an excitement, “Let’s time it and see how long it would stay there.” Again, Teenaya said, “We found what makes it alive. We need a lot, a lot of sugar.” “Yes, you do and make sure you dissolve all sugar in warm water,” I responded. “I see different colors in the bubble. See, there is purple,” said Melissa. The more sugar they added, the bigger a bubble was created. They even learned that they could create baby bubbles inside a bigger one. The more bubbles we blew, the more slippy the floor was, and we got to dance with the bubbles. Laughter. Messes. Bubbles. That’s how we ended this semester.
Written by: Bori Kim