The Program Development Grant (PDG) Committee provides opportunities for SWE groups to receive money to host outreach and professional development events. This is the next in a series of articles to showcase the great events sections are hosting leveraging their PDG grants. For more information on the grant process please check out the PDG website
The SWE Columbia River Section demonstrated that you do not need to “reinvent the wheel” as they conducted virtual science activity sessions for girls ages 5 and up, using Netflix Jr’s television series Emily’s Wonder Lab. Activities included making lava lamps, oobleck slime, rainbow bubbles and a “cloud in a bottle” experiment.
The SWE Columbia River Section hosted “Experiment Along with Emily’s Wonder Lab” on May 4 and May 11, 2021. Forty-six attendees included young students and parents. The event addressed the section’s advocacy goal by showing women-led experiment videos and encouraging girls to participate. The section also partnered with the Big Brothers Big Sisters of America organization to increase its reach. Four SWE Columbia River Section members volunteered the day of the event.
Each 1-hour session was held on a Tuesday and included: introductions, an important safety talk, watching the Emily’s Wonder Lab video, conducting the first experiment, a science discussion, repeating the process for a second experiment and a question/wrap-up session. Information on SWENext was shared during the event wrap-up session. Over the two sessions the children and parents conducted experiments which demonstrated: the light spectrum and density (Lava Lamp); non-Newtonian fluids (Oobleck Slime); acid/base reactions (Rainbow Bubbles) and surface tension and pressure differences (Surface Tension/Cloud in a Bottle).
Many of the young attendees voluntarily participated in discussions and asked questions about the experiment while it was being conducted. Active engagement paired with follow up discussion increased the impact of the experiment sessions.
Best practice take-aways from the virtual SWE Columbia River Section event:
• Having cameras turned on helped to encourage interactive participation. Testing connections prior to the sessions also minimized AV issues.
• Leverage QR codes to save space on materials! The event flyer held a QR code that led to the Columbia River Section’s Community Outreach page. Instructions for experiments also had a QR code to the video and the materials list.
• The organizers advise, “Don’t reinvent the wheel, piggybacking off of other’s experiment ideas is just as effective as new experiments”.
Are you interested in learning more about receiving PDG funding? Learn more on the PDG website.