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Girls Inc. STEM Day at the Great Minnesota Get-Together

By Ma Xiong, Girls Inc. at YWCA Minneapolis Youth Counselor
September 14, 2017
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On August 24, Girls Inc. at YWCA Minneapolis participated in the eighth annual STEM Day at the Minnesota State Fair. STEM Day featured over 30 participants who shared hands-on activities and interactive demonstrations including robots, rocketry, computer coding, astronomy and animals.

Girls Inc. at YWCA Minneapolis engaged fairgoers in STEM-oriented activities and illustrated how the objects, systems and buildings we encounter every day are driven by science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

Creating Circuits

At the Girls Inc. table, visitors had the opportunity to learn more about LEDs and circuits by creating their own light-up decorations to take home. Participants were given basic materials of paperclips, brass fasteners, a battery and a selection of color LED bulbs. The circuits varied from basic, connecting one end to another, to a more challenging option of integrating a switch. The switch allowed for the circuit to be turned on or off.

LED Unicorn Horn

Providing these activities to the public required the girls to have a knowledge about basic circuits, engineering and creativity. The most memorable light-up decoration was one of a unicorn. One participant used the white LED bulb as her unicorn’s horn!

Science in a Bag

Each person who stopped by our table was given a “science-in-a-bag” activity set to take home. This allowed anyone interested in STEM to take the initiative to try scientific exercises at home.

Some of the science-in-a-bag activities included:

  • Insta-snow: a fake snow that is actually a super absorbent polymer (a type of plastic) that can also be found in diapers and is used as fake snow in television and film
  • Balloon blow-up: chemical reaction between baking soda and vinegar
  • Water beads: small plastic beads that can expand up to 500 times their size to hold water; they were originally invented for plants but are also used in toys and sensory play
  • Light-up Life Savers: the ability to create small rings of light (about the size of a Life Saver candy)