This month has started off to a great start!This is our first year bringing Sisters4Science to Spencer Technology Academy, and the girls enrolled in the program have proven to be a real pleasure to teach. They are smart, lively, and enthusiastic to learn.
Our first day was a day of introductions and ice breakers. We had survey’s to fill out, and in between sections of the survey, we played a game about famous women. We had post-its that had names of famous women written on them. We stuck them to our foreheads, and everyone took turns giving hints of what that person was famous for. We also played the game Heads Up, which was a huge crowd-pleaser! The girls had so much fun playing that game, and it was funny to listen to the clues they gave to guide each other to the answer.
Our second day started off with a bang! We had a healthy snack of apples and popcorn, and then got into the lesson. We talked about engineers, what the girls though that meant, and what engineers do. We were able to boil it down to one simple definition: Engineers solve problems. We then played with magnetic putty, discussed why the putty was magnetic (we also had non-magnetic putty as a comparison), and how the putty was manufactured and how engineers are involved with that process. After that, we made gyroplanes, which the girls were thrilled with. We cut up strips of paper, attached them to a straw, and flew them around the room. We talked about why and how the planes were able to fly, and compared it to a straw without paper attached, and to a strip of paper. We also touched on the concept of lift, and how the air flowing through the paper is helping is stay “afloat” longer. Then came the big experiment – building a catapult! The girls were not familiar with catapults, so we took a little history lesson, and learned about the history of catapults and how they were used. The girls then got to work in a team using boxes, a long flexible tube of packing material, tape, and a Styrofoam cup to make their catapult. It was so fantastic watching them work together as a team, and figure out what worked, what didn’t, and tweak their design until they came up with a working catapult! At one point, Arionna was trying to figure out something, and fixed it, and I told her, “See, you’re being an engineer, solving problems!”, and her whole face lite up. We took turns launching a ball. We had so much fun in that hour, that one of the girls commented at the end, “Wow, I can’t believe how fast the time has gone!”
Written by: Kamentha Pillay