Fun and funky experiments demonstrate the wonder of engineering to local Girl Scouts



Monica Bruning, College of Engineering, (515) 294-9963

Annette Hacker, News Service, (515) 294-3720

Fun and funky experiments demonstrate the wonder of engineering to local Girl Scouts

AMES, Iowa -- More than 100 Girl Scouts who plan to spend this Saturday morning in Iowa State's Howe Hall may not realize exactly what chemical or civil engineers do. But by the time they've had fun making musical "instruments," lava lamps and gum drop towers, they'll have gained insight to the types of problems engineers solve.

Girl Scout troops from the Ames, Gilbert and Boone areas will participate in the second annual "Scout It Out" from 8:30 a.m. to noon on Saturday, Jan. 29. The event is sponsored by the Ames/Gilbert Girl Scouts, Alpha Sigma Kappa (a social sorority for women in technical majors), and Iowa State University's College of Engineering Outreach & Recruitment office.

Junior Girl Scouts will participate in five to seven hands-on activities, each lasting 30 minutes. Cadette and Senior Girl Scouts will help to lead some of the experiments with the Alpha Sigma Kappa women. They'll have an opportunity to connect with women in the field of engineering, and be introduced to college and career planning.

Some of the experiments will include:

  • "Good Vibrations": The Girl Scouts will fill bottles with water and experiment with ways to change the pitches and sounds. Then they'll try to explain how the sound is created through vibration.
  • "Gum Drop Tower": The challenge is to test civil engineering skills by building a sturdy tower using only gum drops and dry spaghetti. The tallest, free-standing tower wins!
  • "Lava Light": Girl Scouts will solve a chemical engineering problem by making their own lava lamps from water, vegetable oil and salt.

For more information, contact Monica Bruning, outreach and recruitment director for ISU's College of Engineering, at (515) 294-9963; or graduate assistant Leah Behrens at (515) 294-4018.