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Science meets pajama party at Science Siesta

Published: Tuesday, March 18, 2014 11:17 a.m. CDT

Girls in fourth through sixth grades are invited to attend one of two Science Siesta events planned for the spring of 2014. The first Science Siesta will be held Friday, April 11 to Saturday, April 12, and the second Science Siesta will be Friday, April 25 to Saturday, April 26.

Both of these events will be held at the Discovery Center and Burpee Natural History Museums in Rockford. These events are action-packed overnights sponsored by the University of Illinois Extension that combine the fun of a pajama party with hands-on science experiences.

“This is our 13th year of conducting Science Siesta, and we are thrilled to be able to offer two of these events this year,” said Johnna Jennings, Extension Educator for 4-H Youth Development. 

Science Siesta is based on the Wonderwise curriculum developed by the University of Nebraska. This curriculum highlights the work of female scientists and translates their work into hands-on science-based activities which are fun and engaging. Participating girls may choose from two workshop tracks for breakout sessions. The first track will feature an urban ecologist; the second track will be a vet detective.        

At the Science Siesta, girls will also have the opportunity to meet actual female scientists 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.

Women pursue degrees and careers in science and mathematics at a much lower rate than men. Researchers agree that this is a complex problem with no easy answers, but suggest that 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.  Events such as Science Siesta are designed to help bridge the gap for girls at a time when many are starting to loose interest in science.

Both of the events will begin at 5 p.m. on Friday with registration and conclude at 8:30 a.m. on Saturday. The registration fee is $40 and includes pizza, snack, breakfast, admission to the Discovery Center Museum and Burpee Museum of Natural History, and many fun activities. For information and to register, visit http://web.extension.illinois.edu/bdo or call 815-758-8194. Registration is limited to the first 160 girls for each event.

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