Edible Snowballs

My Guides love cooking and baking.  Well really, I think my Guides like eating but are willing to bake or cook if that leads to the eating.  However, we don’t have ready access to a kitchen at our meeting place.  So I’m always looking for options that require little or no heat.  These No-bake Fudgy Snow Balls look like a great way to celebrate winter.  They are gluten free, dairy free, egg free and can be vegan so they are already a great choice for units with lots of food complications.  The comments suggest replacing the almonds with graham cracker crumbs.  I will have to try that as we have one girl who can’t have nuts.

Update:  I was unable to find a source of dates that hadn’t been processed on the same equipment as nuts, so no  Fudgy Snow Balls for us.  Hopefully it is still useful for other units.  However, if nuts are a concern, you  may want to start sourcing dates well before you need them.

Inuktut Words

As the winter sets in and the nights get longer it might be a good time to learn a few words of Inuktut (one of two indigenous official languages in Nunavut) The website the glossary on tusaalanga.ca includes a large selection of words including handy sound clips so you can hear how they sound.  There is also a drop down for different dialects so you can hear how the same word sounds in different parts of Nunavut.

I found that site though a blog post entitled 15 Inuktitut Words to Know Before Visiting Iqaluit. Unfortunately it is an older post and the links to the pronunciation glossary are broken but it might still be a good place to start to pick a few words.

To take it further, tussaalanga.ca also has information on Syllabics the writing system used with Inuktitut.  It works a little differently then the phonic alphabet English speakers are used to (not that English is a particularly phonic language).  But each symbol represents a pair of a constant and vowel sound.

Squishy Circuits

Another great idea I was introduced to at Connects 2018 is Squishy Circuits.  This is an easy way to get kids to build electrical circuits and would work with girls as young as Sparks.  Basically you make two types of play dough, one with lots of salt that will conduct electricity and one with lots of sugar that acts as an insulator.  If you connect them to a power source you can then make LEDs light up, motors spin etc.

The idea was developed by Dr. AnnMarie Thomas.  Here is a short TEDtalk by her, explaining how the circuits work.

The Squishy Circuit website contains recipes for each kind of dough and lots of suggestions for projects.  The Guider presenting this at Connect commented that the dough stores well in sealed containers.

Origami as Algorithms

Understanding algorithms is an important programming skill.  But it doesn’t have to be taught though programming.  Many of the base concepts for programming algorithms can be found in skills like baking, knitting or origami.  Knitting patterns are especially great because they include if statements (if making size small then cast on 30 stitches etc.), for loops (repeat for next 30 rows) and while loops (repeat until 20 cms long).

Origami doesn’t often have while loops but the concept of step by step directionless still stands.  If you have girls who get frustrated with the instructions, ask them how they would improve them.  Do they need better definitions of what the words mean?  Do more steps need to be added?  Did they accidentally skip a step? Or add one that isn’t there?

You might want to have one basic design for everyone to make and a more complex one for those girls who are really experienced or pick up the design quickly.