After School Fall 2017: Week 4

During Week 4 of Girlstart After School, our girls explored the careers of electrical engineers! First, they learned new concepts and vocabulary, like conductor, insulator, complete circuit, closed circuit, open circuit, and energy transfer.

Then, the girls formed groups and put their skills to the test. They experimented with various objects (aluminum foil, brad clip, cotton ball, plastic spoon, penny) to determine which ones were conductors and which ones were insulators. At the end of the day, everyone came together and formed a giant human chain of thermal energy to illuminate a bulb!


After School Fall 2017: Week 3

This week, the girls in Girlstart After School were environmental engineers. To begin, they tested the solubility of salt and sugar in water, finding that while salt is completely soluble in water, sugar is not. The girls then hypothesized the solubility of four items: newspaper, packing peanuts, popcorn, and packing pellets. They then placed each item in a cup of water to observe the effect. To their surprise, only the packing pellet dissolved. The girls observed that the water had little effect on the newspaper and the packing peanut, and the popcorn just grew soggy.

The girls were then tasked with predicting how long household items take to dissolve, such as Styrofoam and plastic bags. Most we astounded to discover that a Styrofoam cup takes one million years to break down. A plastic bottle takes forever, or never, to dissolve. Plastic bottles and soda cans take 500 years to disintegrate.

The girls concluded that packing pellets are more sustainable for the environment than packing peanuts because the pellets reduce waste. However, the solvents such as salt and packing pellets present the problem of invisibly contaminated water. The girls then identified and compared renewable and nonrenewable resources and discussed the impact on these on the environment. Our young environmental engineers left conscious of the effect human waste has on the environment!

After School Fall 2017: Week 2

Things are building up on week two of Girlstart’s After School programs. After a mini lesson on density and buoyancy, the girls predicted which types of foil objects would float and sink.

Girls then worked in teams to design various shapes that would float or sink. After formulating their hypothesis, they tested their designs in water and evaluated their results. Throughout the process, they applied their knowledge of the scientific method as they learned how to plan, design, develop, and improve their foil shapes according to density and mass.

After School Fall 2017: Week 1

We are so excited to have our after-school programs back in session! At Girlstart, we are brave, creative, and curious. Last week, we broke down Engineering Design Process, the process in which we create and test experiments. To put this process into practice, the girls were tasked with designing and creating a parachute prototype.

First, the girls identified the problem. Each pair of girls was given a bag containing coffee filters, string, paper clips, and tape. Together, the girls brainstormed solutions and created a design for their prototype.

The girls then put their parachutes to the test. One by one the girls set their parachutes to flight, observing what designs were successful and where their design could use improvement. At Girlstart we never give up. If your design fails, you identify the problem and you try again. And again.

The girls quickly discovered how the weight and size of their parachutes impact the parachutes’ travel downward. Our young Girlstart engineers learned about the effect of drag, how increasing air resistance allows a parachute to travel slowly and return skydivers to the ground safely!