CAGIS Vancouver

CAGIS (www.cagis.ca) is an award-winning national organization that brings girls 7-16 together to explore science in diverse ways, including hands-on experimentation, onsite visits with scientists, and discovery through books and other media. CAGIS has been running as a national organization for over 10 years, and we launched our Vancouver chapter in January 2005. We run our chapter as volunteers (Dora Palmer and Cora Lee)

We host events approximately monthly throughout the year, with a break in the summer (January to June, Sept to Dec). Because of school, we target weekends and sometimes evenings for events. The exact dates depend on the availability of the host/presenter. We currently have about 45 members, but in general, 15-20 tend to show up for any given event depending on their availability or interest. The girls in our chapter range in age between 8 and 14. We aim for hands-on, interactive, or highly visual events. We like to give the girls some of the science behind the topics. The presenters are generally experts in their topic and usually female.

For more information on CAGIS Vancouver, please email cagis.vancouver@gmail.com

Here are examples of CAGIS Vancouver events from the past 3 years.

  • Forensic Science

  • Criminology student gave a talk and girls worked at stations to analyze footprints, ink, and other clues they 'found' at a crime scene.

  • Spa Science

  • The girls looked at the science behind soap, bath bombs and scents. They also learned some facts about skin, senses, and other body facts and made some spa gifts for Mother's Day.

  • New Species

  • At the Aquarium, the girls heard a children's science author talk about her new book on how scientists discover new species and also heard an aquarium scientist talk about work on whales.

  • Ecology Walks & GVRD Hikes

  • The Stanley Park ecology society led the girls on several hikes, including one that showed how the forest ecosystem is changing as it recovers from the Dec 2006 windstorm that tore up 10,000 trees. GVRD hikes included learning about indigenous plants in Pacific Spirit Park and how animals prepare for winter in Tynehead Park.

  • Lego Robotics

  • The girls heard a talk about robots and spent the afternoon building Lego robotic trucks that could face off in a "sumo" ring, pushing each other out of the ring.

  • Bioimaging

  • A scientist who runs the bioimaging facility at UBC gave a talk with lots of electron, fluorescence and light microscope images of pollen, bacteria, insects etc to the girls. The girls had fun guessing what the hugely magnified images were.

  • Bug Workshops

  • In one workshop, the girls learned about good bugs vs bad bugs from a Pest Management Expert at a local college, then examined dead and live bugs under microscopes. In a workshop by CityFarmer, the girls toured an urban demonstration garden and learned about the four Ps: pest, predators, prey and pollinators

  • Electronic Arts

  • We visited a video game maker (Electronic Arts), heard about what it's like to work at EA and toured their facility.

  • GIRLsmarts Computer Workshop

  • A group working with UBC computer science saved 20 spots for CAGIS to participate in its all-day workshops where the girls learned basic programming, html and webpage stuff, take apart and rebuild a computer.

  • DNA Workshops

  • The girls learned about DNA, how scientists obtain and analyze DNA, tried a few techniques and extracted DNA from chicken liver or kiwi under the guidance of an expert from Genome BC.

  • Paper engineering

  • The girls participated in a hands-on workshop on the science behind the construction of pop-up books

  • Animal Experts

  • The girls attended a talk, demonstration and mock surgery at veterinary clinic

  • Minerals Identification

  • The girls participated in a hands-on identification workshop given by curator at Pacific Museum of the Earth

  • Earthquake engineering

  • The girls learned about earthquake-resistant building from a Powerpoint presentation and hands-on construction of structures for testing on a shake table

  • Astronomy

  • The girls used telescopes to view constellations, planets and other sky phenomena with a local astronomer.

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