\ All Things Girl Scouts: Science Fun Patch

March 3, 2016

Science Fun Patch

One of the MANY great things that girl scouts do, is to complete 'fun' patches.  Fun patches are just that - fun.  They technically have no requirements, and you can purchase them through the council, or through a variety of websites - www.snappylogos.com is a go to for us.

When my girls do a fun patch, our troop implements some rules.  This isn't for everyone, but we really like this process.  We choose a patch, and then we choose 3 requirements to go with it.  One requirement must be a hands on activity, one must be education based, and the third can be whatever they wish.

The patch we will talk about in this post is the Science Fun Patch.  This was a very cool patch to earn.  It was girl planned - we had two of our girls that wanted to plan it, so they got together and came up with the steps.  Then I helped them implement it. 

The three requirements that the girls chose were:
-Interview with a scientist
-Learn about the scientific method
-Complete 2 experiments

The interview was simple for us - my husband is a scientist, professionally.  He was easily roped into talking to the girls!  However, if you don't happen to live with a scientist, don't fret! Professionals LOVE to help girl scouts, and I have asked over 20 professionals to speak to my girls at various times.  I've been turned down once.  You just have to ask!

We asked our scientist to talk about his job and profession for 5-7 minutes, and we asked each girl to come prepared with one question to ask him.

Our next step was to learn about the scientific method.  I love the scientific method - its so simple, straightforward, and kid friendly.  It matches a child's inherent nature to discover, and learn.  The parts of the scientific method are:
1. Purpose: Ask a question.  This is simple for kids - they do it all day long.

2. Research: Gather information about your topic - learn all you can.

3. Hypothesis: An educated guess on how things work.  Ideally, the hypothesis goes like this: "If _____[I do this] _____, then _____[this]_____ will happen."

4: Experiment: This is where you test your hypothesis.  Essentially the meat and potatoes of science. And the most fun for littles!

5. Analysis: What did you learn? Analyze the data - was your hypothesis true or false? Draw a conclusion.

6. Conclusion: Report your findings.

Experiments used with this patch:

1. Fizzy Fun -

-Baking Soda Bombs
-Plastic Shot Glasses (I got 12, for 6 girls)
-Mini Pie Tins
-Dawn Dish Soap

I made baking soda 'bombs' (I added water to baking soda to make a thick paste, and added some glitter to make it pretty, then formed them into balls, and let them dry).

Each girl will get a pie tin, a baking soda bomb, an empty shot glass, a shot glass half full of vinegar and 2 drops of dawn soap.

They will make a hypothesis on what they think will happen when they mix the two - Vinegar is an acid, and baking soda is a base.

Then the girls will pour in the vinegar. The cups will bubble a glittery white bubbly substance over the edge of the cups into the pie tin.

Afterwards, we will discuss what happened and why. Acids and Bases make a chemical reaction where CO2 is released and thats what causes the bubbling, etc.

2. Colorful Milk Magic
-Whole fat milk
-Clear plastic plates
-Food coloring
-Q tip
-Dawn Dishsoap

Each girl will get a clear plastic plate (clear is important), a paper towel with a few drops of dishsoap on it, a q tip. I will add milk to the girls plates - enough to cover the surface, and one by one they will each add 4 drops to their milk (at the points of a cross shape, if that makes sense).

They will hypothesize what they think will happen when they touch the plain q tip to the center of the milk, and then what will happen when they dip the q tip n soap, then touch it to the center of the milk.

With the first, nothing will happen. With the second, the color will rush away from the q tip. It may also get drawn down into the milk and appear in another place, due to the convection that happens.

With this experiment, we will talk about surface tension. Food coloring is less dense than milk, so it didnt move when they first place it. The soap, however, lowers the surface tension of the milk, by dissolving fat molecules (which is why you want to use whole fat milk).

When you add the soap, the surface tension inside the soap drop has a lower surface tension, so the milk (higher surface tension) draws the surface away from that spot, taking the food coloring with it.

Depending on the cognitive understanding of your girls, you'll want to modify the explanation to be somewhere between that^^ and, the soap breaks down the fat in the milk, which causes the movement of the color.

If you have any questions, please let me know! I hope your troops enjoy this patch work.  If you try it out, please let me know how it turns out! 

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