Scigirls 1 2018 FCIMScigirls 1 2018 FCIM

We can’t believe we’re already up to Day 7 of SciGirls! Time flies when you’re having fun! We began our day with Claudia Miller, a nurse for BASF. She taught us the basics of hands only CPR. Our girls have mastered chest compressions and are ready to step up and help out when needed.

After the CPR lesson, we finished sharing our research on women in science. We focused on the accomplishments of women and also the challenges they faced. Dr. Roxanne Hughes, SciGirls camp director, facilitated this discussion. We were so impressed by the effort our girls put forth in their research and the insightful comments they made during our discussion.

We ventured over to the nearby WFSU station for our next encounter. Tasha Weinstein and her team hosted us for Water Moves, an engaging activity where we collaborated to move water from one large body of water to smaller buckets. Our girls solved puzzles to earn tokens, which were cashed in for a variety of tools used to transport water. SciGirls were certainly creative in their problem solving!

Finally, we spent our afternoon at FCIM (Florida Center for Interactive Media). Andrew Dennard and his team (Cody, Chelsea, Drew, Gillian, Steve and Sebastian) walked us through the steps of creating an app. We recorded voices, designed levels of the game, played with Garage Band to create music and eventually spent time playing the Quest to Quench game we created.  You can play our game at http://fcim-web.fcim.org/scigirls2018/group2/

Tomorrow we’ll put our news production and engineering skills to the test!

SciGirls II at Florida Center for Interactive MediaSciGirls II at Florida Center for Interactive Media

Today was a “tech”tacular Tuesday day!! From The Florida Center for Interactive Media (FCIM) to Challenger Robotics, it was a fun, technological experience! Our day started at FCIM, where Andrew Denard and his staff were waiting to give SciGirls another interactive activity for this summer! As always, FCIM never disappoints, and our girls created a game! Our girls were split into groups of three that rotated. One rotation worked on the graphics behind the game, with Jillian. Another rotation, working with Sebastian and Chelsea, made photos in front of a green screen and recorded sounds used in the game. This rotation also got to explore with the music in the game, using the program, Garage Band. The last rotation actually made the mazes in the game using simple pattern blocks, then translated them into code. When all this was put together, the girls got to play their game, and it’s very challenging, in true SciGirls fashion! To play the game, simply go to http://fcim-web.fcim.org/scigirls2018/group1/. From there, we went back to the Maglab for lunch, and awaited the arrival of Jana and Jess from the Challenger Learning Center. Jana is a teacher at Leon High School, Jess is an undergraduate at FSU studying Environmental Science. Jana and Jess started with a brief power point highlighting the history of the Challenger Learning Centers, robots and their uses, and highlighting some women in robotics! This was truly interesting to us and our SciGirls mission to learn about Helen Chan Wolf, who helped to create Shakey, one of the first robots to use AI, Neha Chaudhry, who created a robotic walking stick, and Ayorkor Korsah, who has a PhD in Robotics and AI and co-founded the African Robotics Network. Then, using EV3 Mindstorms, SciGirls worked with building and programming robots! Each group of girls built a robot and then learned to program it, starting with an easy task and graduating to harder, more challenging tasks! All in all, it was a “tech”sational day!

SciGirls I paint DNASciGirls I paint DNA

What do art and science have in common? Well, today we found out they have a lot more in common than we thought. We started our day with two ladies who were on our Ladies in Science panel last week, Dr. Stephenson and Dr. Gordon. Kylie from LeMoyne and Khadijah Weathers, an instructor at FAMU, along with a crew of volunteers from the FSU DREAM program also joined us to help make a connection between science and art. We learned about deoxyribonucleic acid, also known as DNA and how it is our individual “blueprint.” Just like our DNA, our paintings of DNA were all different. Capturing a scientific concept in an artistic way turned out to be a fun time for all!

We spent our afternoon with Dr. Amy McKenna, a chemist here at the Mag Lab. She taught us about molecules being two or more atoms. We learned that those molecules can be hydrophobic, loving water or they can be hydrophilic, loving oil. Other substances partly “like” water and partly “like” oil. These are called surfactants. We used liquid dish soap to demonstrate how surfactants work in different liquids (skim milk, whole milk and half and half). The results were stunningly beautiful, colorful creations.  All in all, today we learned not only is science cool and interesting, it can also be beautiful! We also started working on our research of women in science. Stay tuned tomorrow for more SciGirls adventures as we learn life-saving skills, apply engineering skills in a wet setting and get a little techy!

SciGirls2 visit the Florida State Caverns in Marianna, FLSciGirls2 visit the Florida State Caverns in Marianna, FL

Today was a “mine”blowing day!! We spent our day in Marianna, FL, first at Florida Caverns State Park, and then Blue Springs State Park. At the caverns, we first completed a nature hike, called the Beech Magnolia Trail. Our SciGirls brought along their scavenger hunts and wildlife guides to look for native plants throughout the trail. We found many plants, such as cabbage palm, white oak, lichens, ferns, saw palmetto, champion tree, American Beech, and so many more! We filled up much of the plant area of our scavenger hunts! Then, we took a tour of a cave that was found in 1937, by Oliver Chalifeaux, of the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC.) We were led b y Park Ranger, Cassie Brown. She gave us lots of history and science as we were led through the caverns. We were walking on what used to be ocean floor, so there were many fossils throughout, such as sea shells, sea urchins, and coral. The colors of the caverns are all due to minerals throughout, like calcite, iron, manganese, and a green coloring which was algae, since the caverns stay at about 100% humidity, with a constant 65 degree temperature year round. Cassie told us all about the stalactites (hang tight from the ceiling) and the stalagmites (you might trip over), as well as “soda straws,” baby stalactites, and columns, when stalagmites and stalactites meet. Interestingly, there were a few columns that had fractures. This, we learned, is due to the fact that we were standing over an aquifer. As the aquifer gets filled up with rain, and then drained by wells over and over again, it causes shifts in the ground of the cave, creating fractures in the columns. There were also trenches in the ground we were walking on, caused by carbonic acid, when water mixes with carbon dioxide and then drips down from “soda straws.” The caverns tour is always such a wonderful experience for our scigirls, and this year was no different! From the caves, we traveled about 20 minutes down the road to Blue Springs State Park! We started with a nice picnic lunch, and then hit the canoes, kayaks, and pedal boats for some adventurous fun on the spring! Along our paddling adventures, we stopped at a couple of cave diving holes, swam around, and looked for turtles, small fresh water fish, and ibis. Our pedal boat girls quickly realized that in order to make their boat move, they had to collaborate and work together!! Once we got back to the docks, we had some free time to swim, play, dive, and slide in the beautiful spring water! No trip to Marianna is complete without a stop at SciGirls’ favorite froyo joint, Milk and Honey! All in all, it was a wonderful day full of learning fun!

SciGirls 2 campers enjoyed their Gulf World experienceSciGirls 2 campers enjoyed their Gulf World experience

What a fantastic beach, marine, dolphin tail spinning day! Today, SciGirls 2 spent the day in Panama City! We started the day at St. Andrews State Park, and ended the day at Gulf World! Upon arrival at St. Andrews State Park, we did a nature hike, led by David Morris, Park Services Specialist, and Morgan Powell, Americorp and Non-Native Plant Specialist. We hiked Pine Flatwoods Trail, and along the way Morgan told us all about the plant communities, while David showed us all the old dunes. There were fresh water marshes, as well as sea marshes along the way, and we saw a dolphin! We encountered many native plants, such as Yopon Holly, Smooth and Saw Palmettos, Rosemary, Wax Myrtle, Button Bush, Dog Fennel, Woody Golden Rod, Scrub Oak. Some of these were quite tasty, some were spicy, and many of them are used in making different types of tea! We also saw some invasive plants, such as torpedo grass and popcorn pine. Morgan was explaining how he will spend some time today to try to cut out these invasives, but they are very hard to completely get rid of. Afterwards, we met with Leann Hinson, Assistant Park Ranger Manager. She discussed how she got involved in being a ranger and her day to day duties as a ranger. We then took a tram ride to Gator Lake (where we saw an alligator!) and to the Jetty to get a bit of “sand in our toes” time! Then, it was off to Gulf World we went! Upon arrival, we split up into smaller groups, and all got to enjoy a variety of marine animals, encounters, and time with marine professionals! We participated in a meet and greet with dolphins, where each girl got to kiss, shake, and play with the dolphins! We also took the opportunity to ask a bunch of questions to the dolphin trainers about how they learned to train, and how the dolphins learn! In addition to the meet and greet, we saw a variety of shows about cockatoos, African Grey parrots, sea lions, rough toothed dolphins, bottlenose dolphins, even alligators! 2 of our SciGirls got picked to go on stage! Aida got to practice training a parakeet, Maggie, and Ellen got kissed by a sea lion, Cooper! All of the animals at Gulf World are either rescued, donated, or born at Gulf World. Towards the end of our day, we met with Lauren Albrittain. She has a BS in Marine Science and a minor in Environmental Science. She is the Stranding Coordinator for Gulf World Marine Institute. She led a question and answer session about marine animal rescue and rehabilitation. Our girls got a special behind the scenes look at the sea turtle rescue area, where Lauren told us about each turtle. Several turtles were remaining from the 1200 turtles that were rescued during the two cold spells in northern Florida this winter. All in all, it was a splashtacular day!

SciGirls1 2018 WakullaSpringsSciGirls1 2018 WakullaSprings

This morning we dove into a variety of STEM investigative simulations using the PBS NOVA labs. The SciGirls could choose which areas were most appealing to them and take on the role of the scientist behind the investigation. Some girls investigated the role of clouds in severe tropical storms. Others played the role of a molecular engineer solving RNA folding puzzles.We explored what makes the sun so volatile and used scientific data to design renewable energy systems for cities across the United States. Cyber Security was a popular topic as we attempted to defend a company being targeted by sophisticated cyber attacks. We also puzzled out the evolutionary relationship linking together a spectacular array of species in the evolution lab.

We spent the afternoon at Wakulla Springs, where the girls frolicked in the water, and some were even brave enough to take on the high dive. We were rained out for a bit, but many girls used that time to enjoy ice cream! On our jungle boat ride we were fortunate to see 24 alligators, 3 manatee, countless anhingas, Suwanee Cooter turtles, green herons, blue herons, yellow crowned night heron, tri-colored heron, snowy egrets, mullet, gallinule (formerly called moorhens) and many other species. Captain Bob navigated us down the Wakulla River, which moves 400,000 gallons of water per minute! Rain or shine, SciGirls always have a good time!

We'll kick off next week with an opportunity to make a connection between art and DNA as well a chemistry investigation with one of the coolest chemists around!

SciGirls2 visit Novey Animal HospitalSciGirls2 visit Novey Animal Hospital

Today was another fun filled, educational day!! We started the day visiting Novey Animal Hospital, run by Dr. Patricia Novey. Her and her staff greeted us for a picture and we were off to learn all about the day to day behind the scenes of a veterinary hospital. SciGirls learned about heartworms and how to test blood for heartworms, tapeworms, and other parasites our pets can get if not prevented properly. The girls also watched some dental surgery, learned about social behaviors of dogs and cats, got a kennel tour, and saw x-rays of animals that had swallowed foreign objects. We also had a chance to look at the bacteria on our own hands from petri dishes collected on Monday, where some of our girls realized they could most definitely wash their hands better! We also learned about the reception area and wrapped everything up with an interactive game reviewing everything we had learned. Thanks so much to Dr. Novey and her staff for accommodating us once again. When we returned to the lab, we switch gears to forensics, when Kelly Walker, with the K9 Search and Rescue Team came to visit us. She gave a presentation about their work, how she was the first female canine team with LCSO, and eventually supervisor. She discussed how they train dogs to find living and deceased victims in the field. She discussed the Jacobs Organ, unique to dogs, and how it assists them in smelling traces. Then, Barb Whalen, another search and rescue volunteer, demonstrated how the dogs use scent by having her dog find our SciGirls volunteer, Julia. Then, Kelly brought out her dog, who is trained to find dead bodies and bones, and provided a demonstration using a humerus bone, that was hidden. Lastly, we switch over to optics, physics, geometry, measurement, and technology for a fun activity! Caila Deabreu, an REU (research experience for undergraduates) student, discussed her research, using electromagnetic stimulations. Then she led us in creating prisms that project holograms on our cell phones. Once our girls created their prisms, they were all over the room, sitting in the dark, enjoying the views. It was again, a fantastic day filled with so much science! Tomorrow, is a long day in Panama City! We will take a guided tour of St. Andrews State Park and visit Gulf World, where we will meet and greet with dolphins! Whew! So much fun!!

SciGirls 2 and members of the TMH Animal Therapy staffSciGirls 2 and members of the TMH Animal Therapy staff

Day 3 was filled with so much fun, interactive, educational SCIENCE! From therapy animals to chemistry, we visited 4 different disciplines of science today! Our day started this morning with a visit from the Tallahassee Memorial Hospital Animal Therapy group! Thank you to Heather Gainey, with dog, Brody, Stephanie Perkins, with dog, Starla, Natalie Jones, Sydney Hanselman (program coordinator), with dog, Lucke, Patty Mitchell, with dog, Sharon, Sharyn Yesner, with cockatoo, Rockie, and Annet Forkink, with dog, Benji, all for coming to the lab today. We started the morning with a brief overview of the therapy program. From helping struggling readers to criminal court cases and visits to the hospital, these animals help people in need feel better! Therapy animals help us to be less anxious, calmer, lowers blood pressure, increases oxytocin levels (the feel good hormone), and decreases cortisol (the stress hormone.) After learning about each pet and how they got into the therapy program, our scigirls enjoyed plenty of time to play and cuddle with each animal! From there, we dived into Astrophysics!! We had the opportunity to Skype with Jess Shanahan, who got an MS in astrophysics, and is currently working on her research on massive black holes. As we ate lunch, we had a question and answer session with Jess all about her research, how she got where she is today, and challenges along the way. We learned about black holes, how a lot of it is still a mystery, and she gave our girls some advice for the future in their science endeavors. Then, we moved into electricity and magnetism, with electrical engineering doctoral candidate and research assistant, Kikelomo Ijagbemi! Kike gave us a short presentation on magnets and the magnets housed here at the lab. We then got a hands on opportunity to build and investigate with electromagnets! Lastly, chemist, Amy McKenna visited us. She also discussed her journey in science and challenges she experienced along her way of receiving a doctoral degree in applied chemistry. She emphasized the fact that she struggled with math in school, and had to persevere and find her own way of learning that would work for her, encouraging our girls to never give up! Our girls were given an “oil spill” and were challenged to clean up their “ocean” with the least amount of supplies/cost. We even had time to dissolve M&M’s in different liquids learning about molecular characteristics. Whew! Today was action packed! Tomorrow, we visit an animal hospital, and see how K9 search and rescue dogs do their jobs!

SciGirls I 2018 Day 2SciGirls I camp visits Diverse Computing

Today’s adventures began at Tall Timbers Research Station as we used radio telemetry to track “quail” and learned more about the biodiversity hotspot with over 1,500 native species. Our knowledge of dendrochronology (how trees age) was expanded as we learned the effects of controlled burns on an ecosystem. Sadly, we also learned that the Southeast region used to boast over 93 million acres of pines and has dwindled to approximately 3 million acres of pines. Although we were unable to call in a bird to the mist net (used to catch and release birds for research purposes) we were excited to enjoy air-conditioned encounters with native critters. We met Otis the screech owl, an Eastern king snake, a gopher tortoise, tiger salamander and hognose snake. Thank you to Kim, Kaylyn, Dianna, Brad and Nathan for creating a memorable experience for us! From Tall Timbers, we embarked to the complete opposite side of town to get in touch with our techy sides! At Divers Computing, we used Wonder Workshop, along with the Blockley app and Darn&Dot robots to reach for the stars. Stars of constellations that is! Our group became two groups competing in challenge to program robots to accurately depict various constellations. SciGirls worked cooperatively on problem solving and both teams experienced success! Thank you so much to Desiree and team for hosting us in the midst of a crazy busy time! Stay tuned tomorrow as we get topsy turvy and go coastal!

Scigirls2 2018 visits FSU's Innovation HubScigirls2 2018 visits FSU's Innovation Hub

Today was an amazing SciGirls 2 day! We spent our day on the beautiful FSU campus and visited both the Herbarium and the Innovation Hub. We started our day at the Herbarium, with role model, Katie Pearson, MS in ecology and evolution. She’s been working at the Herbarium for 3 years, and has been the curator for 2 years. The Herbarium is basically an organized library of dried plants over hundreds of years old. The Herbarium is home to over 226, 000 specimens. Since opening in the 1960’s, it specializes with plants from Florida and southeastern U.S. Our girls were able to see how plant specimens are taken from the field, pressed, and then dried for 24 hours. After the plants are dried, they are glued, labeled and set aside for digitalization. After the Herbarium, we walked to the Innovation Hub, led by Castle Hill, Doctoral student. We started with a presentation about the history of 3D printing and the different types of 3D printers and their uses. 3D printing was actually patented by Chuck Hull, in 1984, when he printed an eye cup for an eye doctor. 3D printing is now used almost everywhere including with fashion. Fun fact…the queen’s costume in the movie, Black Panther, is mostly 3D printed! We then went to the computer lab, and using Tinkercad.com, we each created a 3D digital maker coin that Castle will 3D print and bring to us! We also get the opportunity to draw scientific illustrations that Castle will laser print on wooden coasters, keychains, or baggage tags as mementos! We ended the day with a tour of the entire Innovation Hub space, including the use of graphic computers, virtual reality headsets, sketching pads, ping pong, and all of the different types of 3D printers, some of which were in the middle of printing! We are so thankful to both Katie and Castle for our amazing diverse day of botany and STEAM exploration!

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