Thursday, 11 February 2016

Cealla Guides declare science is fun!

When the Leaders and senior Guides started to plan the 2015/ 2016 programme for our Unit all the interest badges were reviewed and the Science Investigator Badge got everyone’s vote!

We started with forensic science, learning all about fingerprinting and how prints are lifted at a crime scene. We examined our own prints and discovered all the loops, arches and whorls in our group. Our fact sheet said that it is possible for relatives to have the same fingerprint pattern; however, our investigation into this matter was inconclusive. We have two sets of sisters in our unit and they had different fingerprint patterns. We learned that you can outgrow your shoes, but not your fingerprints and that koala’s fingerprints can be mistaken for human ones.

It was fun to examine our own prints and compare them to our friends. We did wonder if having the same fingerprint pattern as your friend could actually make you even better friends, although this theory was also unproven! We also learned that the Leaders would be able to track down the culprit who had not washed the ink off their fingers and had left a mini crime scene on the hall floor!

Last week, with the first ever ‘International Day of Women and Girls in Science’ (11th February 2016) fast approaching, we completed our badge. One of our Leaders was able to borrow some very interesting models from the hospital medical school; normally, these are for the student doctors and nurses, but we were able to examine them all. We donned some scrubs, popped on the surgical masks and caps and got ready to learn!

We started by learning about body temperature - what is normal and how to keep your temperature up when it is cold. We checked our own temperatures using a disposable thermometer and then conducted an experiment on heat convection. Babies lose heat very quickly if not wrapped up warm and kept in a warm environment, as they have very little white fat and can’t shiver or jump around to stay warm.

We used two hot water bottles for our experiment babies - Molly and Holly! Molly was kept inside and wrapped warmly while Holly was dressed in a light outfit and left outside in the cold. Heat moves from an area of warm to cold and so Holly (our hot water bottle baby that we left outside) got
very cold very quickly. Molly (our other hot water bottle baby) remained snug and warm for our meeting. This helped us understand the theory of heat convection and why babies get cold very quickly.

A model of the heart, a stethoscope and a model of blood vessels helped us understand heart health. We checked our own pulses, our friends’ pulses and used the stethoscope to listen to our heartbeat and breathing. We learned that the smaller you are, the faster your heart beat, so while your new baby brother might have a heartbeat of 150, your Dad might have a heartbeat of 70!

The university also lent us lots of different bones - some were easy to identify, some were helpfully labelled (the ribs and the clavicle) and there was no mistaking the skull! However, the scapula took a little longer to identify!

The brain was really interesting, learning which part does what. Did you know your brain is divided into lobes and each part is responsible for different things, like your behaviour and your thoughts and feelings? It was challenging piecing the brain together, but Alex (our budding neurosurgeon) was able to do it every time!

Muireann Reilly summed up the science exploration really well: “My favourite part of the Science Investigator Badge was learning about the heart and all the bones in the body.  I enjoyed dressing up in nurse and doctor clothes and wearing facial masks. The thing I didn’t like was the thermometer because it didn’t work for me, but the results looked cool on the other girls’ thermometers.  I learned that the brain is divided into sections - sight, touch, movement, intelligence, personality and hearing and that it is protected by the skull and three layers.”

~ Tracy O'Sullivan, Cealla Guides, Co Meath