Friday, July 10, 2015

Mad Science Camp

Girl Scout Camp Apasus was abuzz with young scientists who were experimenting, discovering and analyzing during a weekend-long summer camp session at the end of June. The camp was designed to engage girls in a variety of STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) activities and allow them to explore their interests in the STEM fields.

During their two days at camp, girls participated in 12 different science experiments. They conducted density experiments as their made their own lava lamps, learned about the states of matter by making their own slime and experimented with light refraction through prisms. The girls also explored solubility and properties of matter as they used permanent markers and rubbing alcohol to tie dye T-shirts. A favorite activity for the girls was the egg drop experiment for which the girls had to engineer a container to protect an egg that was dropped by a Girl Scout volunteer from a roof at camp.

“It’s important to teach girls that science can be fun,” Kim Dewitt, the Girl Scout volunteer who organized the camp, said. “I want girls to see that you don’t have to be in a laboratory with expensive equipment to explore and discover.”

In addition to planning special events and summer camps for girls, Dewitt is also the leader of Girl Scout Troop 436 in Virginia Beach, which is made up of 13 first and second graders. As the girls get older, Dewitt looks forward to introducing them to more science activities, including learning about electricity through snap circuits.

In today’s world, women hold only about 25 percent of STEM careers. The Girl Scout Research Institute found that girls are interested in the process of learning, asking and problem solving, but about half of girls feel that STEM isn’t a typical career path for girls. In fact, 57 percent of girls say that if they went into a STEM career, they would have to work harder than a man just to be taken seriously. Girl Scouts is working to fill this gap providing girls with fun and comfortable environments where they can solve problems, learn about how things work and do hands-on science projects.