Ideas for Improving Air Quality in the Breathe! Journey for Girl Scouts.
Focusing on a Solution
Now that your girls have researched some of the problems caused by air pollution, it time to get them focused on a solution. One of the easiest places to start is their own homes. First, have each girl test the air quality in their home by using poster board squares smeared with petroleum jelly placed in several places in the home. Let them sit for a week, and then use a magnifying glass to count the particles that have accumulated on the square to get a good idea of the level of particulate matter.
Have the girls brainstorm ways to improve their own indoor air quality and create a checklist that they can use to implement the changes. Some ideas to include:
- keep floors clean, vacuum often and use a vacuum with a HEPA filter
- mop after vacuuming to keep down dust as well as leave shoes at the front door
- keep humidity at 30-50% to keep down mold and dust allergens
- make the home a no-smoking zone
The girls can use these ideas, or ones they have come up with.
Retesting the Home
Do a re-test of the home in two weeks. Set out the poster board squares with petroleum jelly and let sit for a week then recount the particulate matter. Have the girls record and discuss their observations.
More Ideas for Girl Scout Breathe Journey for Cadettes.
Visual Snapshot of Air Quality
Another great way to teach the girls about air quality is to do an experiment which provides them a very visual snapshot of the air they breathe. You will need white poster board, scissors, petroleum jelly, string, hole punch, magnifying glass, permanent marker and a journal.
Testing the Air in 5 Areas
Have the girls decide on five areas where they would like to test the air. This can be inside a home, in a yard, or at another location outside (with permission from the property owner).
Creating Testing Samples
Then cut the poster board into five squares and draw a slightly smaller square inside with permanent marker. Number each square. Punch holes in the poster board, thread the string through and hang up the squares in the testing areas, making sure to record which number corresponds to which area. Lastly, smear the inside of the smaller square with petroleum jelly.
Collect Squares & Inspect Results
In a week, collect the squares and using a magnifying glass, count the number of particles that you find in each of the petroleum jelly covered areas. Record your observations.
Girl Scout Reactions
Have the girls discuss their reactions to the number of particles in the air they breathe and determine what problems breathing in these particles might result in. After they discuss their results, they are ready to move on to the next step in the journey: finding a solution.
Are your Girl Scouts working on the Breathe Journey? What ideas would you like to share? We would love to hear from you! Please leave your comments!
Ideas for Girl Scout Breathe Journey for Cadettes.
Clean Breathable Air
In the Cadette journey series, the Cadettes focus on the importance of clean, breathable air and learn the science behind air quality and the impact of air pollution on all aspects of our environment. A great experiment to teach the girls about the hazards and effects of acid rain, a byproduct of a polluted atmosphere, is to produce your own acid rain on a small scale.
Acid rain refers to a mixture of wet or dry deposited materials from the atmosphere that contain higher than normal amounts of sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides from fossil fuel combustion. Most acid rain in the U.S. results from electric power generation. When mixed with rain in the atmosphere, these chemicals form a dilute solution of sulfuric and nitric acid that falls to earth.
Fast Growing Plants Experiment
To see how acid rain affects local plant life, have the girls purchase five pairs of fast growing plants that are indigenous to your local community. Sprinkle one of each pair with plain water each day and the other with vinegar or lemon juice (which represents acid rain). Observe the pairs of plants every day and record observations in a journal, then draw conclusions on the effects of acid rain based on the results.
Pertinent Questions to Ask
Some pertinent questions the girls can ask are : What effect does acid rain have on the environment? What does it do to plants and ecosystems? How does acid rain affect us? And finally, the girls can begin working on the most important question: What can we do to limit or even stop it?
Are your girl scouts working on the Breathe Journey? Do you have ideas to share? We would love to hear your thoughts! Please leave a comment!
Ideas for creating a Summer Activities Guide with the girls’ ideas.
There’s Nothing To Do!
Ah, the dog days of summer. Along with the heat comes that dreaded phrase “There’s nothing to do!” Keep your Girl Scouts out of the summer doldrums this year by developing a Summer Activities guide that can keep them busy and active all summer long. The best part is that the girls themselves get to create the guide, so it will be filled with things that they absolutely love to do!
End of Girl Scout Year Events
On one of your last meetings before the summer, host a sleepover, barbecue, or day at the park or pool to gather the girls together in an informal, fun atmosphere. Break down your group in to teams of two or three girls and assign them each two to three summer activities to add to the list.
Make a List of the Girl’s Ideas
Whenever a team comes up with an activity, they can write it on a piece of paper or a dry erase board so that it is “taken”. At the end of the party, copy down all of the ideas and make sure each girl gets a copy to take home with her over the summer.
The Conquer Challenge
Make sure that each girl has a list of everyone’s addresses and phone numbers and challenge the girls to “conquer” at least two activities on the list with at least one other girl in the troop. That way, not only do the girls have a great resource for summer activities, but they are prompted to keep in touch with one another during the break.
The Final Step of the WOW! Brownie Journey.
Girls Earn the WOW!
The end of the Wonders of Water journey is reached when the girls earn the WOW! The award represents the lasting change they have brought to their community.
They earn this award through discussion of their SHARE efforts — they can read some of the water promises guests made, show slides of the meeting, or create charts and other visual aids that describe how their outreach impacted the community.
Girls Recognizing Value
Encourage the girls to discuss individual participation and how each girl contributed to the overall project. It is important that the girls recognize the value of individual AND teamwork in the completion of their journey.
Pride in Leadership
In this grand finale, the girls can take pride in the leadership they have shown throughout their journey and in how their work relates to Girl Scout Law.
Sense of Accomplishment & Confidence
One of the many benefits of taking a Brownie journey is the sense of accomplishment and confidence the girls feel after learning, growing and sharing their skills and education with others. A great lesson to take from this is that the journey never really ends — learning and growth can continue for a lifetime and so can leadership and advocacy for change!
Saving Water in the WOW! Brownie Journey.
Working as a Team
The second step on the WOW! Brownie journey includes working as a team to protect water in the community. Get the girls thinking about how they can do this and why it is often more powerful to act as a team than as an individual.
News Story Challenge
Challenge the girls to find news stories where an advocacy group has teamed up to conserve water resources. Discuss how teams coordinate and work together to get things accomplished and have the girls brainstorm a project that will help save water resources in the local community.
After they have decided upon their SAVE project, they can create visual aids and learn good communication skills in preparation for carrying out their project. This will help them be confident, clear communicators as they present their ideas — definitely a useful life skills. The girls also learn teamwork and cooperation and project planning and management skills throughout this step of the journey.
Finally, challenge the girls to communicate why their project is important and what carrying it out successfully will do for water resources in the community. The girls earn their SAVE award by carrying out their project and showing an understanding for the type of effect a team effort can produce.
Sharing Water in the WOW! Brownie Journey.
SHARE – As A Team
This session — SHARE — helps the girls continue to act as a team as advocates protecting water and keeping it clean in their community. In this case, the focus is on educating others and inspiring them to commit to loving and saving water resources too!
Girl Planning for Meeting
The girls can plan a meeting to which they will invite guests that they can discuss their projects with. The idea is for the girls to learn good communication and organizations skills.
Divide your group in to “guests” and “presenters” and let the girls take turns practicing meeting and greeting guests as they arrive and organizing them into groups or in rows.
Show & Tell
Let other girls practice presenting aspects of their SHARE projects and “show and tell” the guests about what they have learned about water. When the girls have practiced and are confident with their presentation, make invitations and invite your actual guests to your next meeting.
After the girls present, let them pass out papers so that guests may write their own water promises. Encourage guests to share their thoughts about how the presentation inspired them to take action. Present positive comments about the meeting and let the girls see how easy it is to educate people and make a difference with a little planning and teamwork!