Year end celebration!

We had a marvelous end of year competition and celebration.

Our scientists competed in teams in two different engineering competitions. Provided only a minimum of supplies, the teams were afforded only 10 minutes to design and build their competition entries.

Our first challenge used 50 gummy bears and 100 toothpicks to build the tallest freestanding structure possible. Many unique design methods were employed. In the end, the winning team members received their prize. See photos below.

Our second challenge materials list was comprised solely of 100 post it notes. No glue, tape, or staples were allowed. This challenge proved to be very difficult. Our scientists struggled to find usable design methods. In the end we had a tie!

Each scientist was then presented a most valuable scientist certificate.

Finally, we enjoyed mini cupcakes.

Thank you to all the parent helpers whom supported this session and the club throughout the year.

A big thank you to Mr Mead as our sponsor too!

See you next year!

Polymers Revenge!

An icky, slimy day was had by our scientists on Monday, February 4th.

Our experiments were focused on creating polymers using food grade ingredients.

Sodium alginate (a seaweed derived food thickening agent) and calcium chloride (a good grade salt) were prepared in distilled water solutions.

The alginate solution was then carefully placed into the salt solution. Experiments were conducted including time, physical properties, and finally Taste!!!!!

See the photos below for our gooey creations of edible orbeez!

Off to a flying start!!!!

On Monday, October 29th, we welcomed 50 scientists to our first session. Many veterans returned and were joined by a host of new stars in training.

Our incredible engineers were faced with a pressing and urgent task: design a flying contraption to save their Halloween candy from marauding skeletons.

The scientists were arranged into 9 teams with our more experienced scientists serving as team captains. Provided with a finite set of supplies, and a limited time frame, the teams designed and built extraordinary devices. Our key learning lessons included mass, lift, and engineering principles.

See below for the action photos of the day!

Thank you to all including our intrepid parent helpers!

Awards!!!

We made it!! On June 4th we concluded our 2017-2018 inaugural year. More than 35 scientists joined with a number of parents, teachers, and administrators to celebrate our year.

Our scientists are always up for a challenge and we obliged them. The scientists were organized into teams and given toothpicks, marshmallows, and gumdrops. The teams were then given a limited time to build the tallest freestanding tower they could construct.

We then moved on to our awards ceremony. We presented awards for our local winners of the Earth Week Contest. We further had a special award to present to Lauren Haines.

Lauren’s poster entry came in 2nd place in the nation!

Each scientist was then presented a medal and certificate for their incredible science contributions.

Mr Mead and Ms Maltese were presented their awards as well.

Cake was then enjoyed by all!

Cannot wait until next year!

Earth Week!

On Monday, April 16th, we had the honor of hosting Dr. Abby O’Connor as a special guest. Dr. O’Connor (Dr. O for short) is an esteemed Associate Professor of Chemistry at TCNJ. Dr O shared her own unique career path opening our scientists’ minds to the possibilities in their futures.

Dr O then led the scientists through chemistry experiments demonstrating water density and salinity, and the effects of acid rain. She then introduced the girls to an Earth Week competition. Dive into Marine Chemistry is the theme of a national illustrated poem competition sponsored by the American Chemical Society. The girls then went to work selecting their topics and creating draft poems. Some scientists were able to complete their poems and began the illustration work. The girls were sent home with official entry forms and their draft entries. Final works are due back to school (via backpack delivery) to Ms. Maltese by the end of this week. Entries will be collected and submitted to the ACS by Dr O.

Here are some photos of our fantastic session. Thank you so much to Dr. O – great topics, great experiments, and a great role model for our scientists!

Our planet gets closer

On Monday, March 5th, we welcomed our largest group of girl scientists yet (46!).

Continuing our space theme, the intrepid scientists divided into three groups to push our planet finding plans further into the stratosphere.

Team 1 returned to the STEM Lab with Mr Mead to further their rocket designs and apparatus work. Great advancements in design and materials selection were made. These scientists will be continuing their work during lunchtime with Mr Mead in the coming days.

Team 2 began their work with Ms Maltese (again hosted in the most generous Mr Deneka lab). Their focus was on atmospheres and related phenomena (think clouds). Questions were posed, experiments constructed, results returned. The girls created their own self contained clouds complete with rain and condensation. Upon completion Team 2 swapped projects with Team 3.

Team 3 began their session under the expert guidance of Mr C. The day’s work revolves around the vastness of space. The girls learned about the dramatic distances between objects within our solar system. Moving into applied mode, the scientists trekked to the long hallway outside of the labs. A 150 foot long roll of paper was taped the floor with each pair of scientists adopting the role of a solar system object. They measured and marked their rightful places seeing distances at scale in real life.

Once again we would like to thank our great science leaders and our fantastic team of parent assistants.

Well done all!

The Next Frontier

On Monday, January 29th, our girl scientists commenced a narrative journey to other worlds. Specifically, we cast ourselves as planet hunters working at NASA seeking new planets in distant solar systems – and we found one!

The session began with a brief discussion and video of imagining the planets awaiting discovery and the great advancements in the field occurring daily. A truly exciting time to be a space scientist.

Our intrepid lead scientists, Ms Maltese and Mr Mead, were joined by a host of parent volunteers as we organized the girls into three teams.

Team 1 journeyed to Mr C’s lab next door and began the work of naming our newly found planet and designing and building a model of its solar system. The creations were truly stunning and the knowledge and thoughtful application of their knowledge was in full force. Parent volunteer all-star Kathy Hoffman began this session with an informative reading of our existing solar system and planets. Ginny, Stacy, Debbie, and Craig provided heavy letting assistance in the building of our astronomical creations.

Team 2 stayed resident in Mr Deneka’s lab to design and build working telescopes (the better to see our new found planet!). Ms Maltese led this fantastic hands on lesson of understanding and building working telescopes. The photos speak for themselves!

Team 3 (our older scientists) departed for the STEM lab with Mr Mead. Their task was daunting: begin designing and building a working model rocket ship. Prototypes were created and tested to powerful effect. More sessions will be planned to explore this deep and exciting area of science.

Finally, the teams reconvened with each group nominating speakers to update on their findings and show off their developments. The scientists demonstrated excellent skills at questioning, exploring, investigating, and reporting their findings.

Thank you once again to our sponsors, Ms Maltese and Mr Mead; our parent volunteers, Kathy, Ginny, Stacy, Debbie, Miller, Craig, and more! Thank you to Mr Deneka and Mr C for their lab use.

We are excited to continue our space exploration in the coming sessions. Stay tuned!

Let it Dough! Part 2

December 11th brought the scientists back to work on squishy circuits. For this session, we used the dough from Part 1 to cut out holiday shapes and make ornaments. Another full house lab pushed our creative efforts to the max.

The scientists were challenged to creat working circuits using both conductive and insulating dough. We learned many things including the fickle nature of our previously made doughs! Lots of trial and lots or error led to learning and fun by all participants. Especially the adults.

Mr Mead and the parent support team did a marvelous job with this ambitious project. The experiments were kept at school where they will cure and be repaired and finalized over the next few days. Mr Mead will then distribute to each scientist later this week.

Thank you once again to all. Our support team of volunteers really stepped up for this ambitious session.

The Dough!

On Monday, November 27th, we were pleased to host 40 scientists for Part 1 of 2 in the Squishy Circuits program.

After our refueling snack and social time, Mr Mead and Ms Maltese led our scientists through a video and discussion of electrical circuits.

The project teams then began the messy business of creating conductive and insulating “play dough”. It was very ‘hands-on’!

Extra thanks to our parent volunteers, as adult supervision was a true necessity during this grand experiment.

The scientists’ dough will be used in our next session (Monday, December 11th!) to create squishy circuits. Stay tuned for final results.

Thank you again for your support.

The new year begins!

On Monday, October 30th, we held our kickoff event after school.

40 young scientists actively engaged in some serious SQUID science.

Our fantastic team of Ms Maltese and Mr Mead invited Mr Deneka to lead a squid dissection session with his 8th grade girl scientists.

The event began with snacks and socialization time. We then distributed personalized lab notebooks and lab coats to each girl (apologies for being four coats short! More on the way!).

A tactile activity began our session with the girls reaching behind four dividers to feel unknown (yet safe) icky substances. The girls then captured their guesses in their lab books before the grand reveal.

Thank you to Kathy Hoffman – parent volunteer all-star for managing this cool start to the night.

Once cleaned up, it was squid time. A brief video was shown and the girls asked to capture their hypotheses and questions in advance.

Squids were then distributed with the 8th graders leading each project table in a full dissection.

The photos speak for themselves…

A truly remarkable evening. Real science. Real engagement. Real learning. Real fun.

Thank you to all!

Next dates arriving shortly!