Girls learning about science
at GEMS Camp

By Liz Dadson


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"Science is fun and anyone can do it."

That could be the motto for the GEMS (Girls Engineering Math Science) Camp which began Monday at the Bruce Power Visitors' Centre, and runs all week.

Sponsored by Women in Nuclear (WiN) Bruce, the camp is open to girls, aged eight to 13, and encourages them to learn about science and engineering, and possibly choose a career in those fields.

The camp runs 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day, through to Friday, and is being run by Rafia Waraich, Tamara Simmons, Zainab Waraich, Carley McGlynn and student volunteer Fiona Robertson, with assistance from Cheryl Cottrill of WiN Bruce.

Monday morning, the girls spent some time drawing what they believe a scientist looks like, with some hilarious results. They then studied optical illusions, bread-making, did a gluten experiment and made ice cream, all under the category of "Kitchen Science."

Tuesday, it's "Flight and Air" which includes learning about different types of airplanes, air and aerodynamics, making wind bags and launching solar bags.

Wednesday, it's "Healthy Bones," with the focus on bones and fractures. Each girl would receive an X-ray of a fracture and must do a fracture analysis to determine what it is and how it happened. In the afternoon, the girls were studying teeth and making their own toothpaste.

Thursday, the subject would be "Energy and Us," and the girls would work on the study project from Engineers Without Border. This includes learning about the energy crisis, and comparing developing and developed countries - their differences, resources and coping strategies.

One experiment would have the girls fill ice trays with water - if they are a developed country like Canada, they have the tools and the job is easy; however, if they are a developing country like Ethiopia, they must try to do the task using drinking straws and sponges.

Friday is Designer Day when the girls would be making free-standing structures from drinking straws. Later, they would be making bridges from popsicle sticks. The structures would then be judged, and families are invited to the open house at the end of the camp, Friday afternoon.

Cottrill said there was a waiting list for this camp which has gained in popularity each year.


Victoria Grabas, 8, of Kincardine displays her drawing which states: "Science is fun and anyone can do it."

Taylor Ferguson, 11, of Port Elgin looks closely at an optical illusion ...

... which looks as if it's moving

Megan Grabas, 11, of Kincardine holds up an optical illusion that shows two different women in it

Shelby Van Sickle, 13, of Port Elgin holds up her drawing of a scientist

Eila Barger, 11, of Kincardine displays her rendition of a scientist; she wants to be a marine biologist

Amber Splettstoesser (L), 10, of Ripley and Hesther Page, 9, of Kincardine, hold up Amber's drawing of a scientist

Zainab Waraich holds up an optical illusion that appears as if the vertical lines are wavy when they are, in fact, straight

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Monday, July 18, 2011