What is “Girls and Sciences, an electrifying duo!”?
In 2017, this event celebrated 18 years of activity. Therefore, for the last 18 years, girls between ages 14-15 years old have been introduced to science through a full day of activities that were designed to demystify science. It’s not just about being in a research lab with a white coat, as many would think!
Here is a video that was recorded in 2014 which shows the atmosphere that takes place during this scientific day:
The logistics of the day were very simple. Each group is made up of approximately eight girls and a person who accompanies and supervises the team throughout the day.
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March 18, 2016
7 am to 8:30 am – Arrival of the girls
The day of March 18 began very early for me! We had to be at École de Technologie Supérieure for 7am-7:30am. The girls arrived at 8:30am, but the group attendants had some papers to fill in before they arrive. Breakfast was also served. Since I arrived a little later, I was able to join a group that already had one companion. Luckily for me, I was able to spend the day with my friend Sarah-Jeanne where we accompanied a group together throughout the day!
9:15 am – Opening Word
We had a short opening message. On the other hand, at 9:30 am, we did some exercise! It was fun to dance a little, and it was an excellent icebreaker for the girls! I’m very glad they kept the opening message short and sweet because they knew how excited the girls were and how short their attention span would be!
9:45 am – Activity of Folie Technique
We began our first scientific activity. Each table of 8 young girls had to face the Folie Technique challenge: build an interchange, while respecting budgetary and environmental constraints. The fewer the resources we used, the less expensive the cost! Which meant more points for the teams. We also tried to avoid making a support beam in the green square, because it would cost us dearly in terms of environmental constraint.
The girls had a lot of fun during this activity. As volunteers, Sarah-Jeanne and I were challenged with the responsibility of making sure that the girls who had trouble taking place in their game, were involved. I enjoyed this role because we succeeded in getting everyone involved at one point or another, and I liked seeing what type of personality each girl had: who is a leader, who is practical, thoughtful, etc.!
11:15 am – Paper Creation Workshop
We went to our first workshop. Can you believe the girls made paper?!? Yes! They were able to make 2 or 3 sheets of paper from paper pulp. It was nice to see them having so much fun! I will always remember the time where they had to rip out pages from magazines, and put them in a blender along with paper pulp to form recycled paper!
1:00 pm – Ozobot Workshop
After lunch, we had another workshop to attend! We were given the chance to play with Ozobots! Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to take pictures because I was too busy having fun with the robots! Those who follow me on Instagram had the opportunity to see a couple of the stories I posted with my robot—the one that didn’t always do what I wanted!
Ozobots are small robots that can be charged through USB. Using permanent markers of these specified colors: green, red, black and blue, we can make the robots do certain movements—including accelerating or slowing down according to the color code used. The girls had a lot of fun during this activity; some even wanted to ask their parents if they could take a robot home as a gift!
Although I don’t have any photos, Sarah-Jeanne took a video of the final race where we were competing to see which robot could make it to the finish point first! It’s on my YouTube channel!
2:05 pm – Shop your Future Workshop
The activity Shop your Future was the girls’ favorite workshop. They walked from one stand to another to discuss with companies, students clubs, and others. If they visited a set amount of kiosks, they qualified for a contest to win a trip to visit a Hydro-Québec Dam in James Bay. They also got free swag, which is always fun!
3:10 pm – Talk of Martin Carli
Do you know the scientist in the TV show “Géniale”? It is Marlin Carli! He was attending the event and did a talk at the end of the day. He asked a few questions with a choice of answers to the assembly, just like he does in the TV show. His presentation lasted 45 minutes, and we were able to put our knowledge of diapers to profit. Do you know how many liters a diaper can store? 😉
4:15 pm – End of the day
Phew, it was finally the end of the day. I was so tired!!! I had a lot of fun, so it was definitely worth it!
How to become a volunteer or register a girl
As the event takes place simultaneously in four cities (Montréal, Québec, Rimouski, and Sherbrooke), the organization is looking for volunteers to accompany the girls during the day (just like I did). If you want to be notified when it’s time for sign-ups, you can follow my Facebook page. I will relay the information. You can also visit the organization’s website in March and April 2018.
One thing’s for sure: I learned that leading a group of girls for a full day is very, very grueling. I am raising my hat to all of the day camp facilitators. There are many things to think about: how to manage who goes to the washroom, how to prevent a girl from leaving the group to go see her friend for “just 5 minutes” (security issues), etc. I was lucky to be with Sarah-Jeanne, an expert, as she has many years of experience as a camp monitor. One of us were always able to go with a girl to the washroom or another location without having to leave all of the other girls unattended.
I also left that day feeling accomplished. Two girls from my group came alone and didn’t know anyone, but we managed to get them acquainted with each other and pushed them to do the “shop your career” activity together. At the end of the workshop, they exchanged their phone numbers! Yeah! We did our job.