Improving Indoor Air Quality – A Solution for a Breathe! Journey

Ideas for Improving Air Quality in the Breathe! Journey for Girl Scouts.

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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.

Brainstorming Ideas

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.

Measuring Air Pollution for a Breathe! Journey

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!

WOW! The Final Step

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.

SHARE Efforts

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!

The Next Step on the Journey — Saving Water

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.

SAVE Project

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.

SAVE Award

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 — The Next Step on the WOW! Brownie Journey

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.

Water Promises

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!

WOW! Starting a Brownie Journey by Loving Water

Ideas for using WOW! Brownie Journey in Girl Scouts.

Learning to Love Water

The first step on the Wonders of Water Brownie journey is learning to love water.  In the beginning of this series, prompt the girls to think about what water means to them and the world in general.  A great activity is to have the girls find food containers that have water as an ingredient and make a list.  The girls can also make guesses as to the water content of certain fruits, just to get an idea of how prevalent water is in our food system.

Ways Girls Use Water

As the girls think about the ways they use and enjoy water, encourage them to think about their favorite water place: a swimming pool, bathtub, spa, or waterfall are some good places to start.  Then, talk about the water cycle demonstrating water as a liquid and a condensate by making tea and having a tea party. Finally, talk about the importance of clean water to us as human beings and the need to protect our sources of this vital element.

Knowledge of Science

Get the girls to share their reasons for loving water and their new knowledge of the science behind it and list their top two reasons for loving water.  Along with this, they should be able to think about and carry out one promise that protects water in some way to earn the award on this first step of their journey.