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Fall 2022 Science Clubs: Tons of Fun with Chemistry & Crystals!

Saturday, December 10th was the final day of our Fall Science Clubs! Over the course of eight weeks, 500 participants in grades K-12 – 82% of whom are underrepresented in STEM by race and/or socioeconomic factors – took part in our Chemistry and Crystals curriculum, guided and supported by 100 volunteer mentor scientists – 59% of whom are also from underrepresented communities. By continuing our hybrid model of delivering both in-person and virtual Science Clubs, we are expanding options for families and even further reducing barriers to access, one of SCFG’s primary goals. As a result of this increased access and expansion of enrollment, this semester participants came from a whopping 156 schools in the Greater Boston area!

This fall, our young chemists took a deep dive into chemistry concepts and learned how chemistry applies to everyday life while completing fun and messy experiments. Some favorites were: exploring states of matter by melting candies, investigating the complexity of crystal structures by growing one's own crystals, and observing phase changes by making delicious slushies!

Even better is the fact that the science doesn’t end once Science Clubs are over for the semester! Our participants go on to rave about Science Club to their friends at school, integrate the information they learn by applying it to their coursework in the classroom, and share their findings at home. One volunteer mentor named Leslie explained:

“One student in particular frequently told me that she went home and did the science experiments we learned with her mom and brother (using the pH strips to test liquids in their house; splitting the geode between her and her brother; making oobleck and fizzy slime). I loved that she was so engaged. I also really enjoyed seeing the girls experiment beyond what they were instructed to do, just out of curiosity. It felt like we were providing opportunities to explore.”

This level of engagement can be attributed to the supportiveness of our dedicated volunteer mentor scientists, in addition to our highly participatory educational methodology. STEM topics can be intimidating to young students but our mentors go the extra mile to connect with our participants, recognize their academic strengths, and inspire them to find science all around them.

A mentor named Soumya reflected:

“Every week, I felt like the kids got more and more talkative and inquisitive. I loved being able to share with them that science is about asking questions that you don't know the answer to, and that it is not only ok to not know the answer, but actually the whole point of doing the experiment in the first place! I was also really touched at how sad they were at the end of the semester to not have Science Club every week, and also how they asked if I would be coming back as a mentor next semester - it was a concrete moment that really made me feel like I was able to positively impact them and foster their enthusiasm and curiosity."

A good mentoring relationship goes both ways. At Science Club for Girls, it is clear that our mentors have a significant impact on participants AND that our participants continually show the benefits of engaging regularly with committed mentors, allowing both to grow personally and academically in STEM. This is what brings our students and mentors back year after year!

This semester would not have been possible without the help of our wonderful supporters, funders, collaborating schools, packing partners, and of course our inquisitive K-12 grade participants, including our amazing high school Junior Mentors, volunteer mentors, parents, and caregivers! THANK YOU for your continuous support and we are so excited for our Spring 2023 Science Clubs through which another 500 girls and gender-expansive youth will explore Engineering and Architecture through our "Dream Home" curriculum.

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