2021 Girls in Science Outreach
November 6, 2021 Eastern Oregon University, La Grande OR
In 2020, The CoronaVirus had taken our existence by storm, engulfing us in a global pandemic that we largely did not understand. When given the choice to cancel that year’s Girls in Science camp, or continue with a virtual version, our team adapted to an online experience. We also realized an opportunity to diverge from our core camp topics, and dig into the science behind COVID-19. The collaboration with faculty and students in the Eastern Oregon University Chemistry, Biology, Math, and Computer Science departments was the perfect opportunity to capitalize on to grow our students’ knowledge of this virus. In 2020 and 2021, over 80 middle school students registered for Virtual Girls in Science representing 13 different rural schools in Eastern Oregon. This camp provided students with supply boxes that included all the required materials to participate as a novice scientist in the camp activities. We focused on activities that students were able to conceptualize through real life and creative hands-on experiences.
These activities included things like:
- Building a model of the CoronaVirus with toothpicks, styrofoam balls and Dot’s candy
- Using a spray bottle and different mask types to see how far their sneeze could travel
- How to make their own hand sanitizer
- How viruses react with soap and surfactants
- Computer simulations that provided a representation of the spreading of this novel virus
We used our experience from previous virtual events to make Girls in Science completely virtual using Zoom and Google Classroom. “Students are well experienced with Google Classroom and Zoom due to the majority of their schools using this platform as well. We decided to stick with what was familiar and to provide an engaging opportunity that all students were able to take part in. I think this opportunity was unique because the students were still able to participate in hands-on learning activities, while socially distancing and in the comfort of their own homes. The virtual platform may not have been able to provide the same experience as an in person camp would have, but the equality that it provided to students of different backgrounds was unparalleled. We were proud to offer this camp for only $5.00 and make it an opportunity that everyone could afford” said Hailey Hulse, NEOAHEC Program Coordinator.
With capacity being limited for this year’s camp, each session was recorded, and was available to teachers to use in their in-person or virtual classrooms. Our team believed that with COVID-19 cases surging across the region affecting our friends, neighbors, schools, and hospitals knowledge, and discovery of something that we don’t understand, provided the power and some light to overcome this crisis.