On November 16th 2019, QASR members volunteered as experiment leaders at Girl’s Science Day to foster interest and boost confidence in STEM fields for middle school girls. QASR taught about social networks, with a short lecture, worksheet exercise, an experiment, and real-time visualization in RStudio.
Surprisingly, middle school girls were eager to participate and contribute. First, the girls familiarized themselves with social network concepts using various examples, such as the NYC subway system and Snapchat. Afterwards, everyone filled out worksheets and created social network webs with their favorite celebrities, Harry Potter characters, or about themselves.
Finally, there were yarn experiments and real-time visualizations of those networks. Everyone stood around in circles, made statements, and connected with each other using colored yarns. Every girl was a node, and yarn was used as edges. Then, the physical yarn connections were coded and visualized. This interactive exercise facilitated interest about social networks and coding, which was very fulfilling. It was very nice to create an environment for girls to actively participate in an experiment and empower them.
Details about the event is available here (https://www.girlsscienceday.com/).