2021 News

Groundhog Day: Season Science Family STEAM Night

SAfG's Mo hosting a capillary action activity
EESA volunteer Kolby Jardine's garden ecosystem tour
EESA volunteer Hang Deng's storm formation demo
January 28, 2021

Berkeley Lab K-12 partnered with Scientific Adventures for Girls (SAfG) to host a climate science themed virtual STEAM night with Bay Area families on January 28. SAfG aims to remove systemic barriers to participation in STEM for girls and underserved youths with hands-on learning activities. Their program provides learning opportunities in STEM subjects, challenges stereotypes in STEM professions, and increases positive attitudes toward STEM. Our team has previously partnered with SAfG to extend our support for education and outreach with elementary level students.

At Groundhog Day: Season Science, SAfG teacher Mo Henigman introduced themselves as Marmota monax, also the scientific name for groundhogs, and launched our climate and environmental science themed event. Co-hosts Mo and Alisa Bettale (from the K-12 team) then led kids and their adults through virtual demonstrations that simplify complex scientific concepts in plants and weather. Prior to the event, attendees received STEAM kits containing materials for the activities. Worksheets are also available for anyone who wants to try the activities at home: capillary action, LED flashlight, and glowing groundhog bag. Mo and Alisa were also joined by volunteers from Berkeley Lab's Earth and Environmental Sciences Area. Kolby Jardine (middle), a plant and microbial research scientist, took us on a tour of his backyard garden ecosystem and demonstrated how seasons affect photosynthesis. Hang Deng (right), an environmental research scientist, used colored water to demonstrate how hot and cold fronts move and how storm formation occurs as a result. For a quick stretch break, The ClimateMusic Project, a collaboration of scientists and musicians who communicate climate science through music, shared a composition called Climate by composer Erik Ian Walker. The piece uses climate data and projections such as carbon dioxide concentration from the 1800s to 2250 to guide musical progression. To conclude the event, kids were encouraged to continue observing their hands-on projects as well as their environment. We look forward to seeing how the students continue engaging in climate science!