Girl Scouts Explore the World of Science at Mary Baldwin

February 13, 2013

Excited youngsters filled Hunt Dining Hall on Saturday for Girl Scout Science Day to learn about reflexive reactions, fundamental physics, and other wonders of science. More than 80 local Girl Scouts in grades four through eight attended the event, which has been held at Mary Baldwin University for three years.

Chemistry major Brittany Shaw ’13 has helped with the event for two years. “It is great to see girls at such a young age participating in science. This is just a small piece of a big puzzle to prepare them for their future,” Shaw said.

Girl Scouts participated in 18 hands-on scientific activities selected and planned by Mary Baldwin students under the supervision of Maria Craig, assistant professor of chemistry. Expertise in a range of scientific fields was provided in the planning stages by the Mary Baldwin School of Science faculty.  Students represented science clubs that included the American Chemical Society, Psi Chi Psychology Honor Society, Sigma Pi Sigma Physics Honor Society, Math Club, Beta Beta Beta Biology Honor Society, and the American Society of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.

Attendees were divided into two groups based on the badge they were working to earn. Junior scouts, who are fourth-and fifth-graders, participated in Get Moving activities. Older Scouts at the cadette level took part in workshops related to their Breathe badge.

Younger girls in the Get Moving track focused on energy and the way we use energy. Some of the activities they took part in were Cloud in a Bottle, Egg in a Bottle Trick, and Magnet Motor.

This year was Girl Scout Junior Leah Germain’s first time participating in Girl Scout Science Day, and she enjoyed discovering things related to the Get Moving badge. “I learned how to make a motor magnet and the egg in the bottle trick. I have had so much fun so far, I can’t wait to come back,” Germain said.

The Breathe group focused on air pollution and noise pollution. The session included demonstrations such as Tornado in a Bottle, Holding Bubbles, the Ruler/Newspaper Experiment, and a tour of campus during which they used to their senses to check for air quality issues.

All participants were given a guided tour the Pearce Science Center labs.

“The goal is to get Girl Scouts to see college students that are involved in these science fields,” said Laraia Flores, program manager for the Northwest Girl Scouts of Virginia Skyline, who helped coordinate the event.

Girl Scouts receive a publication twice a year called the Sky is the Limit, emails, and newsletters that show the activities that they can get involved in during fall and winter. Girl Scout Science Day is an important annual event that gives them a break before the start of cookie-selling season.

Flores added that the event is a great mentoring activity that gives participants exposure to science studies and related career opportunities available to them.