We need your help to change the face of science! Sisters4Science is a Project Exploration program where girls explore science after school through hands-on experiments led by female scientists. Every week the Sisters engage with a new scientist from the greater Chicago community. The experience exposes girls to positive role models and unique perspectives. We are seeking female scientists interested in guest lecturing. We provide a $75.00 stipend, coaching and material reimbursement. Each classroom will have a STEM Facilitator to assist you and to provide logistical support during your lesson. Below is a link to a calendar with all open guest lecture opportunities for spring. Take a look and see if anything works with your schedule. You are welcome to sign up for multiple slots if you would like. Send an email if anything looks like it will work for you and I will get you signed up! Spring Opportunities https://www.google.com/calendar/embed?src=a2t2azg1bGgydmtqMDYxM2tmcmhja3M5ODBAZ3JvdXAuY2FsZW5kYXIuZ29vZ2xlLmNvbQ (Click on the link above. Note that there are opportunities through May.) Our blog will provide a look at other presentations going on in classrooms. http://sisters4science.wordpress.com/ (Click on the link above.) Please contact Krystal Meisel (contact information below) with any questions and to reserve a space today! Krystal Meisel Program Manager firstname.lastname@example.org 4511 S. Evans Avenue, Chicago, IL 60653 p. 312.273.4026
By Marilee After a restful winter break, Finkl Sisters4Science reconvened this week to the delight and excitement of all involved. We began our session with a Knowledge Sharing Session, a new initiative the girls requested in which I will share the story of a female scientist, and they will teach me a Spanish phrase. We thus embrace the role of both teacher and student, each sharing something we know. I chose Marie Curie as this week’s female scientist of the week. We learned that though she graduated from high school with honors at age fifteen, she didn’t attend college until 24 since she underwent a nervous illness, couldn’t attend university in Poland (girls were barred from receiving such education) and had to save up to attend the Sorbonne in Paris. There, she became one of the first women to receive a doctorate in the sciences and went on to meet Pierre Curie, her husband, whom she helped with his own work. In 1903, she received the Nobel Prize in physics with Pierre for their work on spontaneous radiation, becoming the first woman to receive a Nobel Prize. In 1911, Marie Curie became the first person to receive a second Nobel Prize and remains the only woman to receive a Nobel Prize in two different fields, garnering the Nobel Prize in chemistry for her discovery of the elements radium and polonium. [The American Institute of Physics has a quick biography at http://www.aip.org/history/curie/brief/. I asked the students how they felt about Marie Curie. “Wow!” Lesly exclaimed. “Maybe one day I’ll study science and get a Nobel Prize!” Everyone agreed Marie Curie had accomplished an impressive feat. “Now, we’ll teach you,” Lesly said, and chose this week’s Spanish […]
Syda Segovia Taylor, Director of Programs & Evaluations; Stephanie Levi, Government Relations Liaison; and Krystal Meisel, Manager of Programs for Project Exploration have been selected to participate in the Chicago incubator for The Art of Science Learning initiative. Chicago is one of only three cities hosting the program. From January to December 2014, 100 people will participate in 17 workshops that use an innovation curriculum and integrate arts based learning tools to meet the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) challenge of urban nutrition in Chicago. The National Science Foundation funds The Art of Science Learning project that aims to use the arts to spark creativity in science education and the development of an innovative 21st Century STEM workforce. The initiative is built on more than 15 years of work by Harvey Seifter and colleagues, exploring the impact of artistic skills, processes and experiences on learning and the innovation process. National Partners include: – The American Association for the Advancement of Science – Americans for the Arts – The Association of Science-Technology Centers For more information visit the Art of Science Learning website:
By Maureen On Friday, January 3, 14 hardy girls (and four boys, including my four-year-old son!) braved the cold and snow to travel to the Chicago Botanic Garden and learn more about photosynthesis. On the way there, Program Manager Krystal Meisel challenged them to learn—or review—as much about photosynthesis as they could, either from each other, from the chaperones, or by texting or calling a friend. When we arrived, CBG volunteers led a review of photosynthesis and the group aced all their questions. Then they explained the basics of cellular respiration, when plants use up stored food they’ve made through photosynthesis. Knowing that plants make food when sunlight is available, the youth were invited to hypothesize whether plants in the garden greenhouse would be photosynthesizing food or using up stored food through cellular respiration. Inside the garden, the students formed teams and used probes to measure the amounts of oxygen and carbon dioxide the plants were releasing overtime. The teams captured clear readings of decreasing amounts of oxygen, showing that the plants were using up stored food, not making new food. In a second activity, the students put plant cell samples from a desert plant and a rainforest plant under a microscope to find and count the stomata in each. They found that the jade plant had fewer stomata because it needs to conserve water more than the rainforest plant does. After lunch the group took time to explore the Winter Wonderland model train exhibit. This was my son’s favorite part, and the older kids enjoyed it too. “Before I came, I didn’t know anything about photosynthesis,” said 6th-grader CHECK Eryn W. “I’m going to remember it’s how we get oxygen.”
We still have slots for our January 3rd trip to the Chicago Botanic Garden! Check out the flyer for more information! If you want to come we just need you to fill out a permission slip found here: Winter Science Exploration Permission Slip
The Sisters will be presenting culminating projects that reflect on their experiences this semester in Sisters4Science. Each week the classes hosted a different female scientist and conducted an experiment. We asked the girls to create a final product to reflect on what they learned. The Sisters have prepared dances, raps, power points, experiments and poems!
By Bori We are close to the end of this semester. Chicago is getting its reputation again for the icy windy season and getting dark early in the winter. It’s Monday again, which is not easy for the girls to be awake, especially for the after-school clubs. They have been in school like forever. We’ve all needed something refreshing for this tiring day. On this not-easy-Monday, we had “the most awesome” experiment ever that would awake everyone! Chocolates! We love chocolates! We were so grateful for Miss Louesa Akin, a biochemist at University of Chicago. Before moving on to the fun experiment, she shared a little bit of what she is studying and why. Miss Louesa Akin wanted to know how things in the world would work. She loves to find out why the things worked out. Her passion in finding the causes has led to her career being a biochemist. Following her passion, we were on the way to our journey, finding how all ingredients work together in one chocolate cake. If we miss one or two ingredients, what would happen to the chocolate cake or what taste would be like? The girls were discussing with Miss Akin; “If we have it with no milk in it, it wouldn’t be moist enough,” said Shelby. “I’d like to make one without eggs and taste it,” said Micah. From our hypothesis, we all started making each mug of chocolate cake as assigned. The recipe was on the board as well as the assignment. The girls were very excited as they were putting flours and the cocoa powder. It was our very exciting moment! Once we were putting the ingredients as assigned, we took a turn to […]
By Stephanie Levi, Ph.D. It’s no secret that great staff are essential for STEM program success. Front-line staff are the folks who will be interacting with the youth in your program, the people your participants will remember as they grow up, and the role models your participants will be looking up to as they consider their future in STEM. Great staff are also essential, as they are the ones likely to be interacting with participants’ families, setting the tone for families’ comfort level with STEM. The ability to put a welcoming, friendly face on a STEM program can change the way people feel about STEM in general – program staff are STEM ambassadors of the highest order. Research indicates that some of the strongest factors in success or failure in youth engagement in STEM is teacher quality, and this extends to teachers and instructors in informal settings, too. It is truly essential that programs ensure that OST front-line staff are equipped to convey positive qualities in their STEM work, ensuring that the staff who deliver STEM programs, communicate about STEM to youth and seek to inspire enthusiasm, interest and a sense of wonder regarding STEM topics are fully equipped to do so. You may find the following resources helpful in supporting your staff members’ professional development for STEM OST programs. These resources can enable programs to develop comfort and competence with STEM processes, techniques, methods and protocols, develop aptitude for teaching STEM using inquiry-based, experiential methods, help staff link STEM to the disciplines’ real-world applications, help staff learn to make clear career and college connections with the STEM experience, and help staff identify and integrate clear youth development connections that are brought out in practice. […]
Sara Paretsky talks about her new book “Critical Mass” and Sisters4Science on WBEZ’s the Afternoon Shift!
Any STEM OST practitioner wrestles with this question. As the field of STEM OST becomes more diverse, as offerings increase, and a groundswell of services arises to meet the needs of youth and their families, understanding (and agreeing on) learning outcomes for STEM OST programs is important. A recent report from the Afterschool Alliance produced with sponsorship from the Noyce Foundation and the S.D. Betchel Jr. Foundation has undertaken a study to support the STEM OST community in answering this critical question. The report, entitled “Defining Youth Outcomes for STEM Learning in Afterschool,” aimed to identify the STEM learning outcomes that STEM OST program leaders and supporters believe are best practice for STEM OST programs. The report examines which indicators of progress toward the outcomes should be, and what good measurement and evaluation for these indicators would resemble. One caveat to consider is the fact that the evaluation methods outlined do not always include tools that have been created – some are on practitioners’ wish lists, but that shouldn’t stop anyone from digging in to think about how they might learn from the research encompassed by this report, and join the conversation with their own perspectives. You can access the report here, and join us at the Chicago STEM Pathways Cooperative’s LinkedIn page to share your thoughts on the report and talk with us about the ideal outcomes for STEM OST programs, the indicators for those learning outcomes, and how they might be measured. If you have methods you like, we’d love to learn about those to share them with the community!