Girls + Science = Fun!

ROCKFORD — Have you ever dreamt of spending the night in a museum? No, this is not a movie, it’s Science Siesta!

Hosted by the University of Illinois Extension, this annual event for 4th- to 6th- grade girls begins at 5 p.m. on Friday, April 21 and will conclude with check-out at 8:30 a.m. on Saturday, April 22. Science Siesta for Girls will be held at the Discovery Center Children’s Museum in Rockford. This action-packed overnight will combine the fun of a pajama party with hands-on science experiences.

“This is our 16th year of conducting Science Siesta, and we have reached over 2,400 girls so far,” said Johnna Jennings, University of Extension 4-H Youth Development Educator. “We are excited to continue to offer this fun, interactive event to encourage girls to consider science-related career fields.”

At Science Siesta, girls have the opportunity to meet women involved in science career fields from throughout northern Illinois.  The scientists will share information about their background and involve the girls in activities much like they complete in their work every day.

Following the face-to-face interaction with female scientists, youth participate in activities based on the “Wonderwise” curriculum developed by the University of Nebraska. This curriculum highlights the work of female scientists and then translates their work into hands-on science based activities, which are fun and engaging.

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Participating girls may choose one of three workshop tracks for breakout sessions: activities from “Vet Detective”, “Parasite Sleuth” and “Urban Ecologist”.

Statistics show that girls are less likely to pursue degrees and careers in science and mathematics than boys. Researchers agree that this is a complex problem with no easy answers, but believe that there are things that can be done to reverse this trend.

“Having role models that girls can look up to, as well as making science fun and interactive will encourage girls to stay involved and interested in science,” Jennings said. “Events such as Science Siesta are designed to help bridge the gap for girls at a time when many may start to lose interest in science or question whether science is a field they should choose.”

The registration fee is $40 per girl and covers pizza, snack, and breakfast, admission to the Discovery Center Children’s Museum, and all hands-on activities. For additional information, as well as to register for either one of these Science Siesta events, visit the University of Illinois Extension website at web.extension.illinois.edu/bdo/ or call 815-758-8194. Registration deadline for this event is Friday, April 7.

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