Students Mentor Youngsters in 15 Science Investigations
In mid-March Wellesley’s Science Club for Girls (SCFG) chapter held a very successful hands-on science fair that showcased 15 different science disciplines and increased awareness for possible career paths for young emerging scientists (grades K-8). The participants were immediately immersed and engaged in the exhibits and activities, which were interactive and broad in order to meet a variety of science interests and career paths.
Each activity was led by Wellesley students from academic departments or student orgs with interests in that area. For example, astronomy students investigated body weight on different planets using a scale calibrated to Martian weight; botanists examined and dissected plant parts; geoscience students explored the movement of water flow and gravity at the stream table in the Science Center Focus; Girl Scouts engaged students with toothpicks and mini-marshmallows to make structures and towers; the Pre-Dental Society guided students in color activities and games revealing the importance of oral health; Society of Physics Students and Cerebral Science Investigators engaged girls with PicoCrickets and Lego robots; SLAM DUNK (Science Learning and Mentoring: Discovering and Understanding New Knowledge) shared knowledge of foot types and biomechanics of human motion; and forensic anthropology taught students the bony landmarks that distinguish gender and age. And that’s just the half of it.
More exhibits were offered by App Inventor, the Biology & Biochemistry Club, the Chemistry Society, computer science students, environmental studies students, the (pre-med) Hippocratic Society, neuroscience students, Olin Engineering Students, Pre-Veterinarian Society, and WEED (Wellesley Energy & Environmental Defense).
Advisor Connie Bauman says, “The prevailing sentiment of the day was: Science is fun! I am proud of all of our Wellesley student mentors for enthusiastically sharing their passion for science. And I thank President Bottomly for her ongoing support of our Wellesley SCFG chapter.”
Among the things that the emerging scientists said they would share with their families at the end of the day were:
- The temporal lobe in your brain helps you hear.
- I want to be a scientist/non-fiction writer.
- The inside water of a river moves slower than the outside.
- Teeth are for keeping.
The Science Fair was developed by Wellesley students. Instructor in Biological Sciences Laboratory Jocelyne Dolce and PERA Professor of the Practice Connie Bauman have advised the Science Outreach Wellesley students for the past four years and the group was invited to be a Campus Chapter member of Science Club for Girls as of September 2014. Wellesley President H. Kim Bottomly sits on the board of Science Club for Girls, and as an advocate for the organization’s outreach and mentoring programs has encouraged development of a campus chapter at Wellesley.
Beyond the Science Fair, Wellesley students develop curricula and teach lessons each Saturday with girls enrolled in kindergarten through fifth grade. “Our students get the opportunity to mentor young girls as well as share their passion for science,” Bauman says. “It is our way of ‘paying it forward’ to young underrepresented girls in the STEM fields. We encourage more Wellesley students to get involved!”
Photos by Nusrat Jahan '16