Thursday, June 22, 2017

Gold Award Spotlight: STEM for Them

Madeline, a Smithfield Girl Scout, has earned the Gold Award, the highest honor and achievement a girl can earn in Girl Scouting.

For her project, Madeline created an educational program designed to introduce children to STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) through engaging, hands-on activities. Madeline led workshops at Quality Time Child Care and Preschool and Main Street Baptist Church in Smithfield, where she worked with children ages one to 12 to increase their interest in STEM. Activities that Madeline organized for the children included cleaning up a simulated oil spill, making rubber band catapults, building simple machines using household objects and creating a rain cloud in a cup.

Madeline also coordinated her lesson plans with Virginia Standards of Learning and shared them with elementary school teachers in Isle of Wight schools. Many teachers are incorporating her activities into their lesson plans.

“I wanted to create a STEM program that would be fun for kids to participate in, but also coordinate with the Standards of Learning,” Madeline said. “Working with the kids and watching their excitement for STEM grow was the best thing I could have asked for.”

Madeline also created a series of how-to STEM activity videos that she placed online to encourage people to try STEM activities with children at home or at school. She has coordinated with the National Honor Society at Smithfield High School to offer her workshops in the future.

The Gold Award requires girls to identify an issue in the community and carry out a Take Action project to address the matter through leadership work. Nationwide, less than six percent of eligible Girl Scouts earn the Gold Award, which adds Madeline to an elite group of female leaders across the country with the honor.