What do bouncing bubbles, elephant toothpaste and lava lamps have in common? They are all among some of the hands-on science experiments performed in the SEF-funded after school program, Supernovas, which was designed for girls by girls.
The SEF grant helped Summit high school juniors Anne Mikkelsen and Margo Reigle develop and implement an after school science program for fourth and fifth grade girls at Brayton Elementary. The 12 girls in the program meet every Tuesday after school for six weeks to perform experiments led by Anne and Margo that demonstrate different science topics. The students perform the experiments and then discuss the results and the science behind those results. In addition to performing the experiments, the girls discuss notable female scientists, including biophysicist Rosalind Franklin and astronaut Sally Ride, to name a few.
As Brayton alumnae themselves, they thought it would be a natural fit to teach the program there. With the support of Brayton principal Dr. Cheryl Moretz, Anne and Margo applied for and received the SEF grant to implement the program. "The most rewarding thing for me regarding Supernovas is the fact that two of our very own Brayton alumni were eager to come back to our school to provide such a wonderful experience for our girls,” adds Dr. Moretz.
"It's so rewarding to watch the girls share our interest in science while doing these experiments. To think that we might be a part of developing their passion for science makes everything worth it," says Margo. Anne adds, "It’s been amazing to see our idea turn into an actual after-school program. My favorite part is seeing the girls get as excited about the experiments as I am. We really hope to continue this program in the future!"
Students also share their enthusiasm; “It's really great that they have this just for girls and it’s a lot of fun because teenagers teach it and I love science!” explains fourth grader Maddie Busam.