Girls learn about fun of science, math and engineering at camp
By Cheryl Cottrill, Executive Director of WiN-Canada
Have you ever mined chocolate chips from a cookie or made a machine from recycled materials that would make flavoured water?
Last week at the Girls in Real Life Science (GIRLS) Camp, 25 girls aged eight to 13 took on the role of scientists and inventors in a number of science- and engineering-based activities. The day camp, run by Camp GEMS (http://www.gemscamp.org) (Girls Engineering Math Science) took the girls though a week-long program incorporating engineering, math and science principles in a hands-on and fun environment. Bruce Power sponsored the camp through the local Women in Nuclear (WiN)-Bruce chapter (www.wincanada.org).
“The girls’ collective intelligence and creativity was absolutely amazing as they brainstormed their way through various projects,” said Bruce Power’s Laurie Glover, a volunteer at the camp. “It was a great experience, watching these young minds solve complex problems together as a team.”
Each day the girls began working on a group project called ‘Rube Goldberg Machine’ to design a machine that could perform an activity. By the end of the week the machines were able to pop balloons, turn on a fan, sharpen a pencil, dunk a ball, pour water into a cup and make flavoured water. All were very ingenious and creative projects!
A little science magic was worked into the morning program so the girls could impress their siblings and parents with disappearing pennies, exploding Mentos and Coke and changing the colour of milk with a Q-tip and soap.
The campers learned everything from chromatography – separating colours from M&M candy – to telling time using homemade sundials, to the economics of mining using chocolate chip cookies, and to designing and building a Popsicle stick house on a budget.
The biggest hit of the week was ‘science tie and dye’ when the girls brought white items of clothing and applied permanent markers and rubbing alcohol to create colourful designs.
Mentors from Bruce Power, Ontario Power Generation and Ian Martin Limited helped out each day, providing the girls with female role models who are successful in science and technology.
Additional information and pictures from the camp may be found on the WiN-Canada website at www.wincanada.org.
A second camp will run July 23-27 at the Whitney Crawford Community Centre in Tiverton. There are currently two spots available. For further information, contact Kate McKenzie at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 519-361-2673 ext 17126.