By Danica Chen, Del Norte High School
On March 4th, 2018, the All Girls STEM Society held another one of its entertaining Biology workshops at the Mission Valley Library. The workshop began with a set of presentations about the field of biology, followed by two hands-on experiments for the girls to do.
After a presentation about the accomplishments of X-ray crystallographer Rosalind Franklin, Sahil Malhotra and William Tian gave an informative presentation that covered basic biology concepts, like the definition of life and the different fields within biology. Girls were given an opportunity to earn prizes by answering questions at the end of the presentation.
Following the presentation, participants rotated through three stations with different activities. Inside the library, they labeled the parts of a plant. After their labels were checked by a volunteer, they solved crossword puzzles of biology-related terms that reinforced their earlier learning.
Outside the library, the hands-on projects took place–one booth conducted an experiment that taught the girls to extract DNA from strawberries. Though the fragments were minuscule, they were still blatantly visible, and the girls were delighted to see the molecule they had learned about with their own eyes.
The other booth dealt with photosynthesis: after putting tiny leaf chads in water and leaving them in the sunlight, the girls could watch the leaves floated back to the top due to the produced oxygen.
After all the activities concluded, the girls were given an opportunity to perform a skit based on what they had learned. The participants split into groups, and each one used their creativity to devise a brief scene presenting biology in an often humorous and insightful way.
Each activity addressed a different biological concept, painting a broad and informative picture of biology concepts that the students would go on to learn in their classrooms or perhaps research as they pursue STEM careers. No matter what awaits them in the future, however, there is no doubt that this day was a fun experience that instilled in the girls a greater understanding and appreciation for one important field of science.
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