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GLAMS Conference Combines Fun, Math and Science

Posted on May 15, 2012

Originally published in the El Dorado News-Times on May 16, 2012.

By: Janice McIntyre

Do you know how many rubber bands tied end-to-end are needed for a “rescue Barbie doll? to bungee jump from a second floor and not bump her head?

Does your chewing gum lose its flavor on the bedpost overnight? Do you know what happens when “Mentos? and a diet Coke come in contact with each other?

The approximately 170 eighth-grade girls who attended the second annual Girls Learning About Math and Science conference learned the answers to those questions and lots more at the event held Tuesday at South Arkansas Community College.

The answers to the above questions are 12 rubber bands, yes and explosion.

Using Texas Instrument graphing calculators and scales, girls attending Geni Smith?s break-out session weighed and chewed pieces of bubble gum for two minutes and then were able to calculate several facts about the differences that occur when gum is chewed.

GLAMS was organized last year in El Dorado to bring in speakers from the area to inform, entertain and encourage eighth-grade girls with respect to careers in science, technology, mathematics and engineering.

Girls attending the conference came from El Dorado, Bearden, Harmony Grove, Strong, Norphlet, Camden and Junction City and 24 speakers spent the day encouraging girls and making science, math and learning fun.

As girls arrived at the El Dorado Conference Center, they were given backpacks with pink GLAMS T-shirts, health bars, water and other items. They were then assigned teams with names such as Volcanology, Robotics, Paleontology, Animal Science, Wildlife, Engineering, Computer Science ? 22 teams in all.

After Sylvia Thompson, coordinator of the El Dorado Promise scholarship, and Dr. Barbara Jones, president of SouthArk, welcomed the girls to the event, team members were given Bingo cards with phrases in blanks such as “keeps a diary or journal,? “has blue eyes? or “can call the Hogs,? to enable girls to get to know their team members.

During break-out sessions, some girls used plaster of Paris to make casts of animal prints, while others saw what happens when a bar of Ivory soap that has been soaked in water is microwaved for about two minutes ? it resembles a cloud and grows to several times its original size.

Also in Mary Ann Carruth and Elizabeth Beaudoin?s “Extreme Science Is Fun? session, eighth-graders saw what happens when several “Mentos,? a brand of mints, is dropped into a two liter diet Coke ? an instant explosion that caused the beverage to spray foam about 12 feet in the air.

They also made “slime? using Borax, water, glue and food coloring, learning how various chemicals react when mixed with others.

In Kerri Ridinger?s physical therapy session, students rode in wheelchairs with one arm strapped to their sides, balanced on various objects and were shown how people with disabilities perform everyday tasks.

Students in Shelley Forbess? “Barbie Bungee Jump? session recorded how far “rescued Barbies? fall when the cord is the length of two rubber bands. Using a meter stick, girls recorded the number of centimeters dolls fell after two rubber bands were added to the cord, in increments of two, up to 12 bands.

Forbess said the Barbies came from second-hand shops and were clad with all colors of duct tape ? blue, yellow, green and some silver, “the engineer Barbies,? she laughed.

Forbess is an advanced placement physics instructor at El Dorado High School and she told girls, “You all are physicists today.? She encouraged girls to take advanced courses in math and physics, explaining that, “Girls are good at math and physics.?

After girls were treated to lunch in the El Dorado Conference Center, they moved to the SouthArk gym and competed in team science challenges.

Some teams were instructed to build a boat that would actually float using plastic straws, styrofoam, bubble wrap and tape, while others were charged with shipping an egg from Costa Rica to the United States ? without breaking the cargo when it was dropped from a height of five feet.

Magen Olive?s Computer Science team “duct taped a Pringle? (potato chip) so it wouldn?t get wet when used as a flotation device for a boat.

Others were assigned the task of “standing eggs on a tower,? while others were told they had dropped a key in an elephant cage and they had to build a device to retrieve the key, using straws, tape, newspaper, pencils, a magnet, a stick and string.

Some teams ? supplied with only gum drops and toothpicks ? were instructed to build a bridge that would support a toy car that had a huge rock (almost the size of the vehicle) taped on top.

After a timed session to complete the challenges, Charley Hankins climbed a ladder in the middle of the school?s gym floor and as girls counted down, he dropped egg after egg that had been carefully encased in all kinds of protective materials. Cheers went up from team members as they carefully unwrapped their precious cargo and pulled out a completely intact egg ? unscathed by the fall.

Other teams floated boats, made roller coasters and removed keys from precarious locations.

Katie Eads, an eighth-grade student at Barton Junior High this year who was on the Engineering team, said she enjoyed the GLAMS conference and attended the Barbie Bungee Jump, played Bingo using coordinates and rode in a wheelchair during the physical therapy break-out session.

Speakers at break-out sessions included Laura Barrow, a licensed aesthetician; Beaudoin, materials engineer at AmerCable; Dr. Jenna P. Carpenter, associate dean for administration and strategic initiatives at the College of Engineering and Science at Louisiana Tech University in Ruston; Carruth, materials engineer at AmerCable; Dana Chavis, project engineer at Georgia-Pacific in Crossett; Terry Clark, fitness and wellness services director at HealthWorks; Keitha Davidson, director of nursing at SouthArk; Dr. Kristi Elia, dentist; Forbess; Jill Goodwin, an El Dorado firefighter and paramedic; Karen Greer, math instructional teacher at EHS; Aimee Harter, Algebra II and pre-calculus and trigonometry teacher at EHS;

Rachel Johnson, environmental engineer at GP in Crossett; Miriam Kaplan, geometry teacher at EHS; Brittany Kemp, professor of math at Southeast Arkansas College in Pine Bluff; Kayleigh Klaustermeier, meteorologist at NBC 10 and Fox 14 in Monroe, La.; Debbie McAdams, pre-health recruiter at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, AHEC-South Arkansas; Angela Means, detective with the El Dorado Police Department; Lorraine Murtha, licensed professional engineer; Susan Nimmo, a wildlife biologist at the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission; Tami Philyaw, a physical science teacher at EHS; Janet Presley, fitness and wellness services director at HealthWorks; Sheri Rankin, pre-AP biology teacher at EHS; Ridinger, a physical therapy instructor at SouthArk; Smith, a math teacher at EHS; Bekki White, director and state geologist of the Arkansas Geological Survey in Little Rock an Rena Suiter, a firefighter with the EFD.

Teams and assigned leaders include Volcanology, Emily Carelock; Earth Science, Shelia Griffith; Cell Biology, Anna Tomkovitch; Aeronautics, Robyn Jardine-Randel; Robotics, Jean Hadley; Animal Science, Kimberly Florsheim; Environmental Science, Deb Crawford; Engineering, Brittany Vick; Computer Science, Magen Olive; Chemistry, Felicia Barnes; Paleontology, Martha Dunn; Wildlife, Sue Bowman; Health, Heather Willis; Physics, Chae Coan; Entomology, Debra Mock; Astronomy, Amanda Grice; Oceanography, Shelley Landes; Mathematics, Cathy Barton; Microbiology, Carol Olmstead; Geology, Brandy Davis; Botany, Wendy Sims and Meteorology, Tressa Ratchford.

When girls first arrived at the GLAMS conference, they were asked to fill out pre-activity forms listing a variety of questions, including what classes they are taking in the eighth grade and why they attended the conference.

At the end of the day, they were given post activity surveys, asking them to comment on various events held during the day.

” “EHS to Be Featured at San Antonio Conference – Thursday, May 17, 2012”