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Education Outreach: Fun for All!

2013 January 29

By Maureen Gwinn, Ph.D., DABT

Since 2007, the Girl Scouts Council Nation’s Capital Chapter has organized a Girl Scout Science Day to give local Girl Scouts an opportunity to learn more about science in a fun and friendly environment. 

I first became involved as a friend of the troop leader in charge of the event.  She and I would work on ideas, adapt experimental protocols and talk our science friends into volunteering at the event. 

EPA's Maureen Gwinn: "I enjoy every opportunity I have to encourage kids to have fun with science."

From the beginning, experiments have been led by Cadette or Senior Girl Scouts with the assistance of volunteers, including troop ‘moms’ and ‘dads’ and area scientists. We have hands-on experiments that address concepts of chemistry, microbiology, genetics, and toxicology.  We have had discussions related to what goes into your personal hygiene products, why DNA is unique to each of us, and how forensic science can help to solve a crime.

The Cadette and Senior Girl Scouts running the experiments at a recent event were the 4th graders who participated five years ago.  It has been a pleasure to see these girls not only learn the scientific concepts well enough to teach them to the new Brownie and Junior Girl Scouts, but to watch them take on more responsibility for the event itself.  Through my involvement in this event, I have been privileged to watch those young, giggly ten-year-old girls turn into responsible young ladies – that still giggle, but do so while teaching or setting up for the next group of girls. 

This event inspired me to volunteer in education outreach at other events, including the Society of Toxicology Annual meeting, EPA’s Earth Day celebrations, and the USA Science & Engineering Festival

Volunteering in education outreach was not something I had considered in the past, but after participating in the Girl Scout Science Day for the past five years, I enjoy every opportunity I have to encourage kids to have fun with science, to ask questions about how things work, and to work together to solve scientific problems. 

The Society of Toxicology Education Committee has ways to help support these types of opportunities, and for K-12 in particular we are putting together a website of ideas, experiments, and how-to’s to get you started in the new year. 

Are you interested in getting involved in education outreach, but don’t know where to start? Or are you already involved and have some tips or favorite resources to share? Please post your questions or suggestions in the comments section below so we can join forces.

The impact these events have on the kids is worth the effort. 

About the Author:  Maureen Gwinn is a biologist in EPA’s National Center for Environmental Assessment and works as an Associate National Program Director for Sustainable and Healthy Communities.  She is currently serving in her final year as the K-12 Subcommittee Chair for the Society of Toxicology and is always looking for ideas for scientific outreach.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action.

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6 Responses leave one →
  1. Gianni Nocchi permalink
    January 29, 2013

    wonderful! :D

  2. Raja permalink
    January 30, 2013

    Good article, Great Joob..

    Chardham Yatra

  3. Abhishek Jacob permalink
    January 30, 2013

    Interesting post! I used to find science boring in class rooms- I could not relate to subjects like chemistry, biology and physics. I bet it would have been interesting, if it was more fun.

  4. Master Melvin M. Lusterio permalink
    January 30, 2013

    The Good Force be with you!

    Excellent, Maureen! Thank you for taking good care of our Girl Scouts!

    Live forever & prosper!

  5. Carolyn Hoskinson permalink
    February 6, 2013

    I have volunteered in my sons’ classrooms for years in attempts to provide them with fun science experiments and lessons. If you really do develop a “Society of Toxicology Education Committee website of ideas, experiments, and how-to’s” that would be a fantastic resource!

  6. economics tuition singapore permalink
    September 27, 2014

    What a helpful post and article to Education, Thanks author for your Excellent tropic and information. Really I got effective content here.

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