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Science scouts

The Women in Science student organization helps Girl Scouts earn the "Home Scientist" badge.

April 29, 2015

April Hill, assistant professor of chemistry, shows Girl Scouts how to make ice cream with liquid nitrogen. PHOTO: Jessica Taves
April Hill, assistant professor of chemistry, shows Girl Scouts how to make ice cream with liquid nitrogen. PHOTO: Jessica Taves

A bevvy of Brownies descended upon MSU Denver earlier this month for an annual workshop sponsored by the University’s Women in Science (WIS) student organization. While the event is designed to help the girls earn the “Home Scientist” badge, event organizers hope to make an impact that will be felt long after the Scouts outgrow their sashes.

“In addition to helping the Brownies earn their badge, the workshop’s primary goals are to allow the Brownies to see grown women from diverse backgrounds in the role of ‘scientist,’" said April Hill, assistant professor of chemistry and WIS faculty advisor. “The workshop also helps increase the science rigor of the Home Scientist badge.”

WIS student members led approximately 20 Brownie Girl Scouts through activities including concocting “slime” to illustrate polymer structure and crosslinking; making a soda geyser with Mentos and Diet Coke to demonstrate how CO2 creates carbonation; and floating an egg float in salt water to illustrate the concept of density.

“The WIS students provided seven activities when only five are needed to earn the badge,” said Hill. “They also added their own touches to make the activities more scientifically exciting, such as making ice cream with liquid nitrogen rather than with ice and rock salt.”

Because of its popularity, WIS plans to offer this workshop for Girl Scouts each fall and spring. “Our hope is that the Brownies leave the workshop excited about science and with the clear message that girls make great scientists.”

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