Vail Daily column: Burning science questions answered — sort of | VailDaily.com

Vail Daily column: Burning science questions answered — sort of

Nicole Abrams
Valley Voices

Participants in the Girls in Science after-school programs learn critical thinking skills.

More than ever, people claim to know a lot more than they do. Google has become a verb synonymous with looking up unknown information and Wikipedia is now the encyclopedia of choice for quick research on any given subject. It seems society is no longer interested in admitting uncertainty. If you are like me and feeling slightly distressed by the information overload, know-it-all culture, then I'd like to refresh you with a little ambiguity, Girls in Science style.

To help foster a value for curiosity, I gave our Girls in Science students a list of intriguing science questions and many took the initiative to answer them to the best of their ability. Their responses range from fact to fiction and in between. All of them are entertaining and reinforce an appreciation for all that we do not know. These young STEM — Science, Technology, Engineering and Math — enthusiasts answered these science questions with absolutely zero help from the internet. They relied on their own curiosity and critical thinking skills they have learned through their participation in Walking Mountains Science Center's Girls in Science after-school programs. I invite you to enjoy this science-themed Q&A straight from the next generation of scientists.

Q: What is an atom and how does it construct matter?

A: Atoms are tiny things with neutrons, electrons, and protons. They make up everything and are just like Legos and stick together to make stuff. — Kingsley B., third grader; Hannah B., third grader and Zuzanna K., third grader; Homestake Peak Elementary.

Q: Why is a rainbow always in the same order?

A: That's because the color spectrum goes from the red wave to the purple wave, so that's how it has to show in a rainbow. — Dani A., fourth grader; Edwards Elementary.

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Q: What does renewable mean?

A: Renewable means it comes back. A lizard's tail is renewable, because it can come off — Blop! — and grows right back. — Lily Y., third grader; Homestake Peak Elementary.

Q: How many cells are in the human body and what does this mean to you?

A: There are like 37 trillion cells in the human body. This is pretty cool and amazing if you ask me. Science is very important because science can find a cure, solve a crime, discover different creatures and bacteria and can help make a discovery. — Molly H., fourth grader; Brush Creek Elementary School.

Children occasionally say the most remarkable and insightful things, often when we least expect it. This is one of my favorite parts about teaching a Girls in Science session for Walking Mountains Science Center. These ladies do not hold back, whether constantly asking "why," sharing personal stories, or just wearing their emotions and thoughts on their sleeves for all to see. I revel in these moments of pure honesty and have learned to be humble in all that I do not know while encouraging these young women to continue questioning the world around them. The Girls in Science program at Walking Mountains is sponsored by The Women's Foundation of Colorado, the Harvey Family Foundation and Excel Energy Foundation.

Nicole Abrams is the Girls in Science Coordinator at Walking Mountains Science Center. She loves fostering a sense of place in the natural world with the young ladies she mentors, inspiring them towards science-loving, sustainable lifestyles.

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