On August 22nd, the All Girls STEM Society held their first workshop of the 2020-2021 school year. Kaavya, Sebrina, Anusri, Lindsay, Sonakashi and Nayana from Del Norte High School branch of AGSS led the workshop. From 2:00 to 4:00, girls learnt about the 11 systems that make their body run.
After Emma introduced the workshop and went over Zoom procedures, Lindsay started small with the building blocks of the human body: cells. She taught girls about organelles of the cells and how the nucleus is like the brain of the cell while the mitochondria is the powerhouse of the cell. Participants also learnt about how cells make up tissues which make up organs which make systems which make up our entire body! Finally, she introduced the girls to the nine systems that would be covered in the workshop: cardiovascular, skeletal, nervous, respiratory, digestive, immune, urinary and muscular. She asked participants what each of the systems did, and girls responded both out loud and in the chat.
Next, the girls were introduced to the cardiovascular system and were asked to do 15 “heart jumps.” After they exercised, they could feel their hearts beat faster. Lindsay showed the girls how they could listen to their pulses, or their hearts beating. Sebrina and Lindsay taught the girls about the cardiovascular system and why they needed blood. To help the girls understand blood vessels, Sebrina analogized them to a highway. After the girls learnt about the different parts of the heart, they played an interactive game to help cement their knowledge. Using a labeled map of the heart, the girls had to figure out how blood flowed through the heart. Every time they made it through a part of the heart, they had to do a challenge. Some challenges were questions about the heart, like why do we need oxygen? However, some were silly dances like the can-can and the floss.
After that, Anusri taught the girls about the skeletal system by explaining that they are the system that makes sure that humans aren’t flopping around on the floor like slugs. To encourage the girls to stay healthy, Lindsay explained that the potassium from bananas and the calcium from milk helps their bones grow strong. Ansuri walked the girls through ligaments, cartilage and joints, and after a short break spent showing off various pets, the girls put their skills to the test by building and labeling a model skeleton from Q-tips. Nayana helped participants represent and learn about bones like the skull, spine, ribs, pelvis, femur, fibula, humerus, radius, clavicle and ulna. While they worked on their projects, they discussed the functions of these bones. The girls also got to share their skeletons with each other.
Because the girls really enjoyed the skeleton activity, they almost didn’t have enough time to go over the immune system, but Sonakshi was able to give a quick summary of the immune system and explain that the immune system was responsible for protecting your body from “invaders” like pathogens. She also explained the difference between innate immune system (a general defense) and the adaptive immune system (a more targeted attack). Sonakshi and Lindsay closed out the workshop with a game of “Name That System!” Girls were given examples of activities that people do like eating cookies and playing tennis and they had to name which of the human body systems would be involved in doing the activities. Girls typed their answers in the chat and volunteers responded to their ideas. At 4:00 the workshop ended, but hopefully the girls walked away with a little more understanding of how they were able to do so.