STEM Patch Spotlight: Chesapeake Bay Today

ChesapeakeBayPatch_largeAll throughout the month we will be showing you fun experiments that you can do at home and introducing you to STEM experts. We also want to give you some ideas for ways to incorporate STEM related patches into your upcoming Girl Scout year.

As you learned in Episode 2 of STEM with Lisa, Marylanders LOVE to be near the water which often times means being near the Chesapeake Bay. This great body of water is the focus of the first patch program we’re going to talk about.

This Chesapeake Bay patch program helps girls learn about the history of the bay, the critters and plants that live in it and what they can do to protect it. To earn the patch, girls should complete six of the following activities, with at least one in each of the following categories: Research, Experiment, Field Trip, and Community Service. Click here to download the complete patch packet.

Research:

  1. Discover the rich history of the Chesapeake Bay by researching one of the following topics and reporting back to your group about what you have learned: Early Chesapeake Bay Settlers, The Underground Railroad, The Shipping Industry, or The Chesapeake Bay Bridge. Be creative with your report by making a poster, a storybook, a collage, a computer presentation, or your own unique display.
  2. Learn about the terms that describe the nature of the Chesapeake Bay. Test your knowledge by completing the crossword activity on page 6 of this patch packet.
  3. Explore the details of the Chesapeake Bay Watershed. Learn more by checking out a book about the Chesapeake Bay from your local library, or exploring a couple of the many websites devoted to the Chesapeake Bay Watershed. After you have become a Bay expert, quiz your parents and friends to see how much they know about Maryland’s treasure, the Chesapeake Bay.
  4. Find out about the life that is centered around the Chesapeake Bay. The bay is home to more than 27,000 species of plants and animals. Which ones are in your area? Which species are endangered? Make a book or poster that demonstrates the diversity of the Chesapeake Bay aquatic life and that shows important information about these creatures.

Experiment:

  1. Learn about watersheds by building your own in a box. Please see page 9 of this patch packet for instructions on how to experiment with watersheds, using the most basic materials. Girls will be able to see the nature of water flow in the community and how pollutants are added to main water sources.
  2. Learn about acid rain by experimenting with pH. Measure the pH of natural water in your area. Try to compare at least two or three different water sources. See page 10 for details on how to measure pH.
  3. Be creative on ways to reduce waste, which will contribute to a healthy watershed. One way to reduce waste is to start a simple compost pile in your back garden. Learn about compost piles and experiment with one of your own. Details on page 11 of this packet will help you get started.

Field Trip:

  1. Visit the National Aquarium in Baltimore to see aquatic life up close and personal. Share your experiences with your group or your friends. What did you learn about? What were the most interesting species? What was the most surprising thing you saw or experienced?
  2. Explore the fascinating technology behind bridges, clean water, wastewater and recycling in Baltimore by visiting the Baltimore Public Works Museum. Learn how Baltimore City’s Department of Public Works shapes the city and its environment. For museum information please refer to page 12 of this packet.
  3. Take a road trip to visit a museum devoted to the Chesapeake Bay or incorporate one of these museums in your next camping trip outside of the central Maryland area. For museum information please refer to page 12 of this packet.
  4. Go on a hike with your group and follow a local stream, river or the edge of the Chesapeake Bay. Take a camera or colored pencils to document the type of wildlife you see on your hike. When you return home look on a map to see where you walked, and look up information on the birds, fish, or plants that you documented on the hike.

Community Service:

  1. Brainstorm all the things that you can do to help save the bay. Make a presentation to another group to spread the word of what people can do to protect the bay, or your might submit your ideas to a local or school newspaper.
  2. Contact a local Chesapeake Bay organization and find out ways you can help their efforts. Volunteer for an event or start up a unique service project in your community.
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