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"Girls Only" Science Workshop

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Keywords: scientific method, sled design, girls only, engineering, Science
Subject(s): Math, Geometry, Photography, Technology, Physics
Grades 2 through 12
School: Keystone Science School, Keystone, CO
Planned By: Ellen Reid
Original Author: Ellen Reid, Keystone
This workshop was created to give female students a chance to design and implement both scientific and engineering skills. Female students are sometimes discouraged from entering the fields of science and engineering so we developed this curriculum and hosted an All Girls Science Camp Weekend.

-Gather sled materials (scrap wood, old skis, nails, screws, rope, hot glue, decorations, seat materials, etc.)
-Gather tools (drills, saws, clamps, hammers, rulers, sand paper, etc.)
-Develop safety rules for student tool use
-Split students into sledding groups

Part 1 - Introduction and Design/Brainstorming (1-2 hours)
-Materials introduction: show students the materials and tools available to them and cover safety guidelines as needed
-Engineering introduction: Create a slideshow to introduce students to the typical and design components of sleds, snowboards, skis, etc. The slideshow can also include relative information related to the physics of sled testing (gravity, Newton's laws of motion, friction, slope angles, etc.).
-Introduce students to the scientific method - give them a challenge - who can make the fastest sled? Who can make the most durable sled?
-Ask students to design their own sled on paper using rulers, protractors, colored markers, etc. When each student is completed have them share and justify their designs with their group members. The group can then work together to draw a detailed engineering sketch of their proposed sled design.

Part 2 - Sled Construction (2-4 hours):
-Each group of students should work together, with an instructor, to construct a sled from their design using the materials provided
-Students can then decorate their sleds

Part 3 - Sled Testing (1-2 hours):
-Find a safe destination to test the sled out on - address safety concerns and proper sledding techniques with the students
- Complete timed several trial runs for each group - Does the time change when different people ride the sled? Does slope angle affect the sled run time?
-Take pictures/video of each group using their sleds - these can be incorporated into a slide show presentation later
-Make any changes to the sleds that students believe may help improve sled performance

Part 4 - Conclusion (1-2 hours):
-Students enter data into a spreadsheet program to create a graph of the sled run time trials.
-Students analyze their own data and compare it to that of other groups.
-Students can then create a slide show presentation which includes sled designs, pictures of the sled details, videos of the sled trial runs, graphs of the sled trial runs, etc.
-Groups can present the slide shows to eachother
This workshop seemed to be very beneficial to the female students who participated in it.
Cross-Curriculum Ideas
Math - focus more on calculations (velocity, average speeds, etc.)
Physics - demonstrate physics principals
History - acknowledge contributions to the fields of science & engineering made by women
Students could redesign their sleds to improve the trial times.
Materials: Spreadsheet, Video Tools, Projector Screens, Projectors, Point and Shoot, Video Cameras, Slideshow, Integrating Technology