CAGIS London

CAGIS is an exciting science club for girls by girls aged 7-16 (most membership is 8-14). Our mission to promote, encourage, and facilitate interest in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). We meet at the workplaces of women and men in STEM related fields or at the university on a monthly basis to learn about their area of science, and do fun, hands-on activities to help us understand, and have fun.

CAGIS London meets on a monthly basis to do fun hands-on activities in STEM. Some of our past events have included topics such as learning about the simple electrical circuit by building a personal flashlight, visiting and learning about an environmentally significant area, learning about the science of sound and music by building our own musical instruments, learning about the technology of printmaking and making our own monoprint and forensic science, CSI style. We also view STEM broadly because it is based in everything we do. So we enjoy exposing girls to fields they may not initially associate with STEM, such as how it is used in theatre, art, music, etc., in addition to the basic sciences. CAGIS London has a membership of ~50 girls, and 10-15 attend each event. Events last 1.5 hrs, and occur on weekends or weeknights after school depending on the schedule of our presenter. Since we often visit the workplace of our presenter, our meeting location varies month to month, or sometimes we meet at the The University of Western Ontario when a workplace is not conducive to a group of girls. Notice of upcoming events is sent out by email in advance giving the topic, date, time, and location. We have a wonderful volunteer committee who helps organize events: Brianne Davis; Sabrina Karim; Hanna Kuk; Ranita Manocha; Bonnie Speed and Evelyn Vingilis.

For more information on CAGIS London, please email cagis@uwo.ca.

Some CAGIS London events from the past couple of years:

  • Velodrome

  • A physics professor (Dr. Patrick Whippey), an engineering professor (Dr. Ralph Buchal), an astrophysics professor (Dr. Henry Leparskas) and a psychology professor (Lorne Faulkenstein) discussed aerodynamics, the shape of the track, and how bicycles work with plenty of hands-on activities to help members learn about these topics.

  • Open House

  • We had a number of fun stations with activities where members and the public could experience different STEM activities. Girls made slime, did colour chromatography, looked under microscopes, entered a parachute making contest, tried to solve a geometry problem that Princess Dido solved.

  • Electricity

  • Have you ever plugged in Christmas lights to have none of them working and then you have to figure out which bulb is burnt out? We had the chance to solve that problem by building their very own light bulb tester! Marita DeVries, Broadcast Technologist for A-Channel, taught members about electricity and the simple electrical circuit!

  • Cameras

  • Antony Chodas, of the Forest City Image Centre, gave a tour and talked about the differences between film photography and digital photography. We also did hands-on activities to learn about pinhole cameras and why images in cameras and in our eyes end up upside down.

  • Science of Music

  • We learnt about how music is made and how instruments produce sound. Karen Pincombe, a percussionist with the London Symphony Orchestra and teacher, shared with us the physics of making music, while members had the chance to try out different instruments and make their own, using principles from physics.

  • Ecotones

  • We learned all about ecotones (areas of transition from one environment to another) by making quadrats in a forest, a field, and the ecotone between, and counting and examining the plant species in each!

  • Counterfeit Currency

  • We learned about how money is made, the new technology used on bills, and compared real and fake money to learn how to tell the difference!

  • Physics of Skating

  • We learned about the physics of figure skating with a physics professor and figure skater to demonstrate. We learned about friction, centre of balance, gravity and motion, and tested the principles ourselves on the ice!

  • Geology

  • We learned about how rocks are made and destroyed in the rock cycle, and watched it in action with some fun experiments!

  • Forensic Science

  • We tested out our problem solving and investigation skills with this CSI event! We learned some basic investigation techniques, dusted for fingerprints, took our own fingerprints, found clues and narrowed down the evidence to solve a crime!

  • Climate Change

  • We went to the movies to watch An Inconvenient Truth, then had a pool party and made our own greenhouses out of shoe boxes and plastic wrap to learn about the Greenhouse effect, and climate change.

  • The Physics and Mechanics of Bicycles

  • Bicycles are a marvel of physics. Ideas members have learnt in school like friction, drag, motion, Newton’s Laws of Motion are important to know about with bike maintenance. Why do we need brakes? Why is oil and lubrication important? How do gears work? Do you know the answers to these questions? What about your bike? What do you need to do to keep it running smoothly? We came with our bikes to our Bicycle tune-up and learnt about our bikes (and physics) in a fun way. Sherry, from To Wheels Bicycle Shop, gave a workshop on the physics and mechanics of bikes and we all had the chance to tune up our bikes for summer

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