Originally created 07/11/98

Girls' science interest grows



Monica Curry poured the hot water in first. Aliesha Jones added some scented, green liquid handsoap and then Monica added one Alka Seltzer tablet. Within a few seconds, a fragant foam gushed from the top of a bottle, simulating a geyser.

"There are geysers all over the world," said Monica, 14, who will be attending A.R. Johnson High School this fall. "They produce geothermal energy."

In some parts of the world, including Iceland and New Zealand, that energy is harnessed to produce energy, she said.

On Friday, about 40 girls from Girls Inc. displayed their science projects, such as the geyser, at National Science Center's Fort Discovery. The display was the culmination of a series of activities designed to get girls interested in science.

Fort Discovery, Girls Inc. and Georgia Public Television working together are one of 22 national teams chosen to work on a collaborative education project called "Kinetic City Super Crew" developed by the American Association for the Advancement of Sciences with funding from the National Science Center.

"We're looking at this to be model," said Rhonda Carroll, Fort Discovery's acting chief of the education and technology department. "It's a first time project we hope to grow."

If it can get funding, GPTV is supposed to tape the project later.

Kinetic City Super Crew was broken into three phases. The first involved training the teen team leaders to teach the children. As part of the second phase, the teens spent a week at Fort Discovery teaching science experiments to other girls. On Monday, phase three started with the girls working in teams to design and build their projects.

Monica's group seemed to enjoy showing everyone how their exhibit worked. Several empty Alka-Seltzer wrappers lay on the table. Although they were having fun, they knew their facts too.

"Steam takes up more space than water," said Aliesha. "The hot water gets stopped up."

"That makes pressure," said Renata Smith. And that causes the geyser to blow.

After Friday's science fair, a group of five women who work in various science fields including engineering, medicine and research, spoke to the girls about their careers.

Mrs. Carroll said she thinks the program is a good idea and hopes the children learned a lot from their science projects.

"Sometimes they won't know what they've picked up until later on in life," she said.