Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Girls Experiment with Their Future

Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Girls Experiment with Their Future

Article excerpt

During a fast-paced day, preteen girls learned that scientific experiments can be fun.

Girls, Gadgetry and Galvanizing Genius, a program for girls ages 9 through 12, was offered Friday at the Elsie Quirk Library in Englewood and sponsored by the Venice Branch of the American Association of University Women.

Fun activities in the STEM educational program, which incorporated science, technology, engineering and mathematics, included using a zoomy, building a LEGO balloon-propelled car, a probability game of rolling dice, and a treasure hunt for a choice to win an iPad, a mini iPad or a smartphone.

"It is a myth that girls don't like math and science," AAUW President Shirley Reid said.

Reid said middle school-age girls are at the target age to get and keep them excited about science and math and the variety of career fields available through the STEM program.

Lining the room were boards depicting the stories of many of the Nobel Laureate women in physics, chemistry, medicine and economic sciences along with a display of books written by some of the prize winners.

The "centers" caught and kept the attention of about 20 girls during the event.

For a scavenger hunt, girls employed iPad minis and smartphones to search out facts about the female scientists. They also scanned Quick Response, or QR, codes on an iPad to activate a voice to verbally reveal more facts on the accomplished women of our time.

The exercises made an interesting technology project for the girls.

The math center taught probability as the girls tracked the results of rolling a large roll of sponge dice.

Elsewhere, girls assembled a small LEGO car, blew up a balloon and attached it to the car. When air in the balloons was released, the cars zoomed down the track.

That was the technology project of the day. The only downside? Racing on a carpet.

"It's OK," Andrea Egloff Vega, 10, said. "It's just fun."

Every 20 minutes, the girls received a two-minute warning that they would be changing centers.

The one center that seemed to take the longest to leave was the science center. There, the girls used a hand-held digital microscope, called a zoomy, to view a flower or butterfly on a laptop. …

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