Thursday, February 4, 2016

STEM Challenge

Today we finished up the STEM challenge.  We decided to do a modified version of this challenge - but for the full challenge click on the badge above!

To begin - we did some astronomy last week (and counted it for this challenge).

This week we started by making goop with cornstarch, water, and a few drops of food colouring.  We mixed it, allowed the girls to poke at it, then put it over a speaker and turned up the bass.  It's a non-Newtonian substance.  So it's solid when you poke at it/hit it with soundwaves and it's a liquid when it isn't.

Then we divided into three groups.

Sparkle Owl helped the kids fold themselves paper airplanes and had the girls run races with them down the length of the room.

Tawny Owl ran the microscope.  Our local library (after having you sign that if you break it you bought it) will allow you to borrow their really nice microscope, along with 25 pre-prepared slides.  The girls got to look at a blood smear, corn root tip, a penicillum and some other cool slides.

I ran the snap circuits station.  We can also borrow one from the library, and I have a copy, so in our groups we were able to have the girls work in pairs to complete some of the experiments.  Here's the link.  Using the kit they were able to make some electrical circuits - minimally they all got through making a light turn on, a motor spin and a sound start.

Friday, January 29, 2016

All About Canada Badge

Tonight the girls completed the All About Canada badge.  We decided during planning that we'd like to complete one badge from every key that we're getting this year, and All About Canada seemed like a good fit.

We started with circle and singing O Canada as well as God Save the Queen.  Then we talked a little about how cool and wonderful it is to live in a country like Canada.

Then we split into circles, and rotated centers.

Tawny Owl and I ran the center where the kids got to draw Canadian symbols on fabric.  We asked them at the same time what other symbols they think represent Canada to the wider world.  We also taught them the chorus to the Canada in my Pocket song.

The Canada In My Pocket song my Michael Mitchell.  The lyrics are easily google-able.  This is a way more fun way to talk about the coins and symbols they represent than just talking about them.

Sparkle Owl printed out lots of copies of Alberta's provincial mineral (petrified wood), flower (wild rose), bird (great horned owl), animal (big horned sheep) and tree (lodgepole pine).  The girls got to colour them in, cut them out and glue them together.

Brown Owl's station ran something a little bit different.  We're doing a STEM night next week and since you can't predict the weather, she talked about stars, constellations, the stories we tell about them and had them make their star sign out of marshmallows and toothpicks (she drew the star signs on paper and each girl got to make their own star sign).

Finally we got back together in circle and the girls sang the chorus of Canada in my Pocket and I sang the verses while showing pictures of the coins.  I just found pictures of the penny, nickel, dime, quarter, loonie and toonie online and printed them out so they were on 8x11 paper (big enough for the girls to see).

The song only goes to the quarter, so we passed around the loonie and toonie coins, as well as paper money.  We had a five, ten, twenty, fifty and a hundred.  We told the girls what the bills used to look like as well (five dollar used to have hockey players on it, now has the Canadarm) and why we pick different things as the years go by.

Closing and good night!

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Winter Outside Badge

This week all the girls completed the Winter Outside badge.

We started around a table, where I showed the girls a variety of fabrics - tshirts, sports fabrics, jeans, long underwear, wool socks and cotton socks - and I poured water over them.  They had a chance to feel the fabrics, and saw how the water on the wool basically beaded up and ran off.  I told them we'd have a look at the end of the night as well.

Then we had a relay race.  We put all the girls' snowpants, boots and coats in the middle pile, then had the girls race to dress themselves.  The prize for the winners was going outside first.

Outside the girls pulled each other around on sleds and had races with different types of pull sleds and tobogganing.  

Inside we did first aid for frostbite, hypothermia and what to do if you see someone (or are on the ice yourself) and it starts to crack under your feet.  We also talked about what to do if you get stuck to metal in the winter.

I couldn't find a huge number of resources that worked with teaching the Brownies about cold-weather hypothermia, but I did find some -

Pages 16 - 20 in this website.

Paper dolls, learning how to dress in layers.  This resource is from the NWTs - and I love that it includes traditional clothing choices of the Inuit.

Page five at this website.

Staying Safe in the Cold Checklist - for taking home.  If they forget everything, at least they'd have this resource, right?

Finally at the end of the night the girls made hot apple cider, and a cup full of trail mix.  There were a bunch of different choices for them - pretzels, dried fruits, nuts & bolts etc.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

C'est la Fete!

The Quebec Girl Guides have a Challenge Crest out right now called "C'est la Fete".  Here's the link.  This week at Brownies we had bring a friend night, and also completed the C'est la Fete Challenge.  It's always fun to run Bring a Friend night like a party - and this badge gave us the perfect excuse!

We first taught the girls as they arrived a few French songs.  Alouette was the favourite.  If you don't speak French, here's the link to a Youtube version of this song for the lyrics and pronunciation.  For us, we do actions as we go along the song, creating a beak for bec, and turning round and miming a tail when you sing "derriere".

We had all but two girls bring friends last night, which was wonderful - but loud at the same time!

Because the girls had almost all brought a friend, we just had them go with their circles from station to station.

At the first station, we read a short picture book about the Maple Sugar Shack, then had the girls try La Tire (hot maple syrup on snow).

At the second they learned about Ceinture Fleshee and tried their hand at making bracelets that look like them.

At the third they made a cute little snowman.  To make this, you need to cut the toe off a sock, then tie the sock around the ball of the foot, and turn it inside out.  Add beans to the bottom as a weight, then stuff it with stuffing.  tie off the top, then use some felt to make a scarf.  Use the toe you cut off as a toque, and a hot glue gun to add the eyes on.  Finally, use a sharpie to add the smile, eyelashes, and buttons down the front, as well as about 1" of orange pipe cleaner for a carrot nose.

My daughter has plans to add arms of brown pipe cleaner.

Then we got together in a group again and we set up some cardboard box sleds and had the girls try some indoor people-sledding.  Sparkle Owl took some empty apple boxes and added string to the ends so the girls could pull each other around.

Finally we let the girls take turns wrapping the leaders in toilet paper.  Those wrapping Baby Owl won.  They were given two rolls of toilet paper and told to cover as much of the leader as possible.  We had them do it as a relay, so they weren't stepping all over each other.

At the end of the night 3/4 of the friends were begging to join!  Which was pretty darned awesome!

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Key to the Arts

Last week we did the key to the arts.

We first got all the girls together and talked about WAGGGS and what kinds of crafts other kids around the world did.

Then we split the girls up into their circles, and had them rotate through four stations.  The leader whose station didn't have anyone during that time floated as a helper to any other leader who needed it.

My station was the weaving.  I printed out a bunch of circles on card stock (bright pink of course), and had the girls cut out the circles, cut around the outside edges and then weave on an entire bolt of embroidery floss.  They can use them as decoration or as a coaster.

The other three stations were -

1)  Make a mask out of a half plate held up by a stick (in this case a straw).  The leader who did this also printed out and photocopied a bunch of ears, teeth and tongues so that the kids could colour them and add them onto their mask.

2) Charades and play the Brownie story.  

3) Make a small memory book about your time in Brownies.

At the very end of our meeting we gave out invitations for Bring a Friend night (found in the iMIS site for any leaders reading).  We had the girls think of people they'd like to invite next week and told them to bring them to school/activity/down the street to deliver them.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Resources - Books

I thought, since I don't have any more meetings until January to talk about, to share with you some of the books that sit snugly next to my Brownie and Sparks leader books.  It's important to look for resources and people to help where you can - you can't Guide as a Guider if you're totally burnt out!

Another good idea is to check out your local library non-fiction section.  Try under 306 (world cultures), or between 700 and 709 (arts and crafting, knitting, crochet etc).  It's amazing the resources you can find just by browsing around the shelves!

This book isn't arranged like many others - but it comes up with several different cultural ideas based around a theme.  For example it'll talk about farming in England, then suggest you take a trip to a cheese shop and try a variety of different cheeses from around the world.  Or you'll learn about New Years' day customs from five different countries.

This one divides the world into regions, then suggests 2-5 dishes from that region, along with a little bit of history of that particular foodstuff.  The instructions are simple enough for Sparks too!

I love this book - it divides the games into icebreakers, water games, running games, etc.  There are also tons of suggested variations for small and large groups, as well as variations for various ability levels.

This really isn't a great field manual, but it's wonderful for brushing up on your own outdoor skills, as well as giving some great ideas for camping with Brownies and getting out there!

This book is fabulous because it not only gives great songs from around the world, BUT it also comes with a CD, so that you and the girls can hear the proper accent/tune for the songs as well.

If you're doing Guides, and not Brownies or Sparks, this also comes in a Grade 4-6 book as well.  I like these because they're a bit more involved than regular crafts, but would be great for a sleepover or longer event.

This divides into countries, then by project.  Some of the ideas are a little simple - but  are sometimes just what you need for Sparks.  You could even have the girls choose something for a Bridging meeting with Sparks.

All of these books are available on Amazon - or check out your local library!

Friday, December 4, 2015

Giving Tuesday

There's American Thanksgiving, then Black Friday (which lasts through the Saturday and Sunday), then Cyber Monday - but there's the wonderful new tradition of Giving Tuesday.  The idea being that the Tuesday after the American Thanksgiving you do something giving.

For our Giving Tuesday the girls went to our local senior's centre and spent some time with the seniors there.  They sang, listened to them, and played simple board games and card games.  It's always nice to see what a lift they bring to the residents.

If you're looking for other ways to incorporate giving into the season, you could always have your unit buy some gifts for their local angel tree, have them bring in supplies for Operation Christmas Child in November, or try their hand at going door to door for food bank donations (both actual food and financial donations).