Solar System Hike

The purpose of this hike is to give the girls a sense of the scale of the solar system.

You will need:

  • any ball with an 8″ diameter (Sun)
  • a white seed bead (Mercury)
  • a peppercorn (Venus)
  • a second peppercorn (Earth)
  • a red seed bead (Mars)
  • bouncy ball 1″ (Jupiter)
  • acorn (Saturn)
  • coffee bean (Uranus)
  • second coffee bean (Neptune)
  • (optional) Facts about each planet to share at each stop
  • (optional) gravel

You might want to tape the seed beads to white cards so they can be seen when you get far away from them.

Place the large ball down at the beginning of your hike.  This ball represents the sun.  Pick a girl to count out the paces.  She will be the “Spacecraft”.  You can switch out after each planet if you’d like.

10 paces. Place the Mercury seed bead down.

Another 9 paces. Place down the Venus peppercorn.

Another 7 paces Earth

Another 14 paces Mars

You may want to scatter some gravel between Mars and Jupiter to represent the asteroid belt.

Another 95 paces to Jupiter

Another 112 paces to Saturn

Another 249 paces to Uranus

Another 281 paces to Neptune

After Neptune you can explain that it could be as much as 242 to the dwarf planet Pluto.  You can discuss the other dwarf planets and asteroids and comets that make up  the Oort cloud.  Feel free to scatter more gravel.  Then head back along the same path to collect your planets

 

All Seasons Challenge

The All Seasons Challenge is a new challenge from Ontario Girl Guides.  It challenges girls to be active in their community all year long and focuses on low cost activities and service projects.  The challenge is divided into 5 sections, one for each season and a section of all season activities.  Depending on the branch girls must complete a set number of activities per season.  All Season activities can be counted towards whatever season you do them in.  I’m sure you could structure your entire Guiding year around a challenge like this and it would be a lot of fun.  It would also be a great challenge for multi-level units as most of the activities are not aimed at a particular age group.

Penny Hike

To hold a penny hike you need a small disk for each girl.  A penny would be a fine choice but they are getting harder to find so instead you could use a tiddlywink or something similar.  Each girl is challenged to find as many things as she can to fit on her disk while she hikes.  She should not pick living things.  Each thing on her disk must be different and they must all fit on at the same time.  At the end of the hike, have the girls get together and show off their finds.  This is a great time to get out some magnifying glasses or small microscopes if you have access to them.  See if the girls can identify what they found.  Or have them classify things (rocks, shells, organics, living creatures etc.)

Is it a meteorite?

If you are not familiar with the comic xkcd, the author, Randall Munroe, often looks at STEM subjects though a lenses of humour.  Before he wrote comics he worked on robots for NASA so the science is accurate and the comics are often funny.  This recent one points out how hard it is to actually find a meteorite if you are out looking at rocks.

But Mr. Munroe also linked to this more serious flow charts showing exactly how hard it is to find an actual meteorite.

This might be a fun chart to take on a hike or to camp.

Catapults

If your girls are a little bored with building camp gadgets and you want to challenge them to make something new why not consider a catapult.  This can also be a fun bridging activity between Guides and Pathfinders or a competitive activity between two groups of Guides.

For a traditional catapult, try going to Glenn’s Scouting Pages for directions.  This style of catapult is fired when one or two girls pull back on a rope, causing the swing arm to flip over.

Another popular style of catapult for lashing is a Viking catapult.  There are several Instructables for building this style.   In this style a small bucket (such as a large ice cream container) is mounted inside a triangle of lashed sticks on elastics.  The bucket is pulled back and launched.  Although this style is not what you might see represented in movies as a catapult, it is easier for the girls to adjust the angle and pull on the elastics, so it can lead to more experimentation to see how far you can fire your ammunition.

Finally, if you are planning to build catapults, give some thought to what you will fire and where.  You want to make sure there is a large open field to fire in.  Pick ammunition that won’t to serious damage if they hit someone or something. Water balloons or bean bags can be good choices.  You may also want a target of some sort if you are having a competition.  This can be a circle on the ground (who can get closest), a wall of blocks to knock over, etc.

Bird Beaks

This activity is best done in a small group or as part of a round robin.

Materials:

  • Beaks
    • Straws or eye dropper
    • Slotted Spoon
    • Chopsticks or tweezers
    • Pliers
    • Salad tongs or spoon
  • Food
    • Thin jar or vase with water or juice in it
    • Shallow bowl filled with water and a handful of Cheerios or similar cereal
    • Shallow bowl filled with oatmeal mixed with a handful of macaroni
    • Marshmallows threaded on a string
    •  Sunflower seeds
    • Shallow bowl filled with water with a handful of washers at the bottom

Give each girl a tool.  Present one type of food at a time.  Give each girl a chance to try and pick up the food with her tool.  For the cheerios and washers it is important not to get any water with the food.  Withe the macaroni you don’t want any oatmeal.  The marshmallows mush be pulled off the string while the string is moving slowly.  The sunflower seeds have to be removed from their shell.

Get an image of different types of bird beaks.  Discuss some of the different things birds eat and how they relate to the “foods” in the experiment.  Bird beaks have evolved in many different ways to adapt to different types of food.  Can the girls guess what kind of food a bird eats based on its beak?