Archive for March, 2011

Spring Break Camp in Killeen, Texas: Camp Hermione!!!

Killeen group!

Over Spring Break, the ladies of the Clements Boys and Girls Club in Killeen enjoyed exploring the magical world of Hogwarts with the help of Hermione Granger.  From dissecting owl pellets and learning about chromatography to diet coke explosions and more, these ladies discovered the magic of science.

Dissecting owl pellets was a huge hit with the girls.  They were each able to learn how owl pellets are formed and determined their contents with tweezers and a magnify glass.  Many of them found various bones of small rodents and were able to reconstruct the rat skeletons. Then the girls expanded their knowledge of nocturnal creatures with a lesson on bats and echolocation.

Later in the week the girls became forensic scientists and solved a mystery using chromatography.  A mysterious note at Hogwarts was found, so the girls tested the reaction of different inks with alcohol, a solvent, to determine which pen was used to write the note.

Throughout the week, these ladies also participated in discussions about the importance of attending college and the various types of STEM careers they can pursue.  To highlight these discussions the girls made achievement bead bracelets – each bead color representing goals for their future including graduating high school, attending college and graduate school, and pursuing a STEM career.

For a finale the girls learned about the process of nucleation with the legendary mixture of  Diet Coke and Mentos! First the girls experimented with one Mentos, dropping it into a small bottle of Diet Coke.  While that reaction was fun to watch, the girls were most impressed when we dropped a whole roll of Mentos in a 2 liter bottle of Diet Coke. This was well worth the mess.

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March 28, 2011 at 8:27 pm Leave a comment

Proclamation of Girlstart STEM Day by the Mayor

Mayor Lee Leffingwell declared March 26, 2011 as Girlstart STEM Day in honor of the Girls in STEM conference.


Be it known that


We’re pleased to welcome all the 4th through 8th grade girls attending today’s Girlstart Conference; and,


The workshops on the schedule are designed to show you the variety and excitement that careers in science, technology, engineering and math offer for women in the workforce; and,


We join Girlstart in encouraging young people to investigate careers in the sciences – careers that have the potential to shape our future and improve our world; and,


We also applaud Girlstart for putting on this conference and thank all the volunteers whose efforts are vital to its success;

Now, Therefore,

I, Lee Leffingwell, Mayor of the City of Austin, Texas, do hereby proclaim March 26, 2011 as Girlstart STEM Day in Austin.

March 26, 2011 at 5:08 pm Leave a comment

The Multimedia Classroom- tips for engaging students

Girlstart teamed up with the PBS show SciGirls for a presentation on the Multimedia Classroom at the National Science Teacher’s Association Annual Conference in San Francisco. Both Girlstart and SciGirls are developing online STEM modules for educators to use in their classrooms, camps and after school programs. Girlstart’s online module will be available this summer on our new website.

Here are some of the tips from our presentation:

  • Engage students in the creation of multimedia- have them present their group findings/projects using interactive slides
  • Don’t be afraid of the technology- embrace it! You can be guaranteed that technology will not always work 100% of the time. It’s your reaction and problem solving skills that your students will remember the most.
  • Ask your students about the latest technology- kids are usually eager to show you what they know!
  • Plan for change. Technology is changing at a rapid rate and tomorrow there will be a new/better/improved version. Embrace the fact that change is part of the multimedia classroom, and the way your multimedia works today will probably be a little different next school year.

Engaging students in multimedia will enhance your classroom and your student’s enjoyment doing STEM. Stay tuned for some great resources from Girlstart and SciGirls coming this summer.

March 24, 2011 at 3:12 pm Leave a comment

Girlstart Featured on

Austin, Texas (CNN) — “Historically, the tech industry has not been especially hospitable to women. In 2009, the U.S. Department of Labor released a list of the 20 leading occupations of employed women. None of them was in the technical field. That same year, only 3% of the CEOs of Fortune 500 companies were women, according to the National Center for Women & Information Technology.”

Read what Tamara Hudgins our Executive Director has to say in the full article here!

March 21, 2011 at 3:00 pm Leave a comment

Exploring the Effects of Oil Spills

The environmental scientists of Trinity!

This week the Trinity Girlstart Club learned about many of the devastating effects that can be caused by an oil spill! We took a look at what it is like to be an environmental scientist by exploring several methods of cleaning up oil slicks in the ocean.  We also investigated a few of the negative effects that an oil spill can have on wildlife.

Bird feathers are soft and light weight. They keep birds warm and allow them to fly.

If a bird’s feathers are covered in oil, it would be really difficult to fly!

Environmental scientists remove the oil from a bird’s feathers with dish soap. “I learned that it can take hours to clean an animal covered in oil!”

One way to remove an oil slick is through absorption. It takes a long time!

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March 18, 2011 at 3:14 pm Leave a comment panel on STEM Education for Girls

As part of the new SXSWedu program – a two-day series of panels on education
and technology hosted by the Texas Education Agency and South by Southwest
– Girlstart Executive Director Tamara Hudgins will participate in a panel
specifically geared to addressing issues around STEM (science, technology,
engineering and math) education for girls.

The panel, “Collaborating and Communicating to Engage More Girls in STEM,”
was organized by Tricia Berry of the Texas Girls Collaborative Project, and in
addition to Hudgins, will include representatives from UTeachEngineering and
the Austin Children’s Museum. Hudgins will not only elaborate on innovative
ways in which Girlstart has developed STEM education for girls, but also plans to
address the importance of furthering STEM education for girls.

Wednesday, March 9, 4:15 p.m.

AT&T Executive Education & Conference Center, 1900 University Avenue
Classroom 107

Phil West, 512.769.3838 (cell/text)

March 9, 2011 at 9:35 am Leave a comment

Make Your Own Lip Gloss

Check out Katelyn on We Are Austin (Keye) at 4pm. She’ll talk about Girls In STEM Conference and make lip gloss! Here’s the recipe to make it at home:

What you will need:

  • shortening
  • honey
  • hot water
  • old lip gloss container
  • 2 small bowls
  • favorite flavor of Kool-Aid mix
  • Cake decorating glitter (optional)

Let’s get started!

  1. In a small bowl, mix 1 tbsp of shortening with 1 tsp of honey.
  2. In the other bowl, mix 1 tsp of the drink mix with 1/2 tsp of hot water. Stir until the mixture dissolves.
  3. Add 4-5 drops of the drink mixture to the first bowl. Stir well.
  4. Add cake decorating glitter for extra sparkle and shine.
  5. Pour your finished mixture into an old lip gloss container.
  6. Store in the refrigerator.

March 7, 2011 at 6:42 pm Leave a comment

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