Members of Kinsale Guides and St Peter’s Guides, Bandon are among the first girls in Ireland to have earned Irish Girl Guides’ new engineering badge, which was launched last month in partnership with Engineers Ireland.
Forty-seven Guides took part in a series of engineering tasks during a weekend camp at Cuskinny Court Group Activity Centre, Cobh.
One activity involved making a mechanical hand out of recycled materials. In patrols (groups), the girls had to brainstorm, draw and construct a hand, using materials like toilet rolls, straws, string and yogurt cartons.
Another task was to consider what problems we would face in 50 years’ time and come up with solutions. Some patrols came up with solutions to reduce pollution while others concentrated on recycling. Other problems tackled included online schooling, teleportation jewellery, cloning and genetic modification.
Another activity involved taking part in an oil spill clean-up experiment, so the girls could study the environmental damage caused by oil spills and how difficult it is for engineers to find ways to clean up spills. Writing in a blog on the Irish Girl Guides’ website, some of the girls said, “Each patrol had a basin of water, a feather (to represent a bird), a pom-pom ball (to represent a sea creature), a teaspoon of cooking oil, a drop of food colouring (to represent a chemical spill) and an ice-pop stick oil tanker.
“To make our oil spill, we put the boat, bird and sea creature into the water. Then we added the oil and the ‘chemical’. We noticed that the oil was sitting on top of the water and the colouring spread across the surface. We had to find a way to clean up the pollutants before they reached the beaches (the sides of the basin). We chose from a selection of straws, sponges, cotton wool, cloth and cardboard cut into small pieces. We found it almost impossible to remove all the oil from the water with absorbers and skimmers. In the end we added soap (washing up liquid) which formed an emulsion with the oil and water and helped us to clean up the oil.”
The girls greatly enjoyed taking part in the engineering activities and were delighted to be among the first members of Irish Girl Guides to achieve the new engineering badge.
Irish Girl Guides welcomes new members from age 5-plus and adult volunteers from age 18-plus. To find out more, see www.irishgirlguides.ie, email firstname.lastname@example.org or tel: 01 6683898.