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College of Science and Engineering

Curriculum Library

Three core curricula form the foundation of Inquiry in the Community, and each uses a similar format. First, participants experience a fun, hands-on science inquiry activity that has specific facilitation techniques and tools built right in. Then, through group discussions, participants reflect on their experience and identify the techniques and tools we used. Finally, the participants decide how they will apply these techniques and tools in their role – whether that's as a troop leader, learning facilitator, or supporting staff member.

Three Processes introduces the concept of the Girl Scout Activity Cycle, and gives participants concrete techniques they can use to make the three Girl Scout processes (girl-led, learning by doing, and cooperative learning) happen. The Girl Scout Activity Cycle is an adaptation of the cycle used in inquiry science investigations – it's valuable for both science and non-science activities!

The power of the curriculum lies in this highly experiential approach. These activities "make real" many of the concepts that befuddle new (and experienced) volunteers and staff: group decision-making methods, reflection techniques, and ways to create meaningful opportunities for girl leadership within any activity. These concepts are difficult to explain in a lecture, but we've found that they become crystal clear when simply modeled in the context of an activity. Besides, this approach is fun, engaging, and learner-centered – everything we want Girl Scouts to be!

We're excited for you to use our curriculum. Keep in mind that it was designed to be facilitated in a very specific way, to achieve specific learning outcomes. So if you've just landed on this page to grab resources, we recommend that you first read the Overview and What is Inquiry? pages to get oriented to Inquiry in the Community. Thanks, and enjoy!

General Tools - these are used in nearly all of our learning modules

Three Processes - an introduction to inquiry

Three Processes introduces the concept of the Girl Scout Activity Cycle, and gives participants concrete techniques they can use to make the three Girl Scout processes (girl-led, learning by doing, and cooperative learning) happen. The Girl Scout Activity Cycle is an adaptation of the cycle used in inquiry science investigations – it's valuable for both science and non-science activities!

We've provided three different versions of this workshop below:

  • The Core Curriculum is the basic Three Processes workshop for staff and volunteers.
  • The "short version" provides a brief introduction to the three processes and activity cycle. This one is great for service unit meetings, leader meetings, parent engagement meetings, or anywhere you don't have much time.
  • Working with Journeys shows how the basic Three Processes workshop can be used to teach different concepts. Here, it's used to teach volunteers how to make journeys fun and engaging.
Version Length Facilitation Guide Participant Handouts
The Core Curriculum (original) 1 hr 35 min + time for applying concepts Three_Processes_FG Three_Processes_Handouts
Short version for leader meetings 35 min 35_min_Three_Processes_FG 35_min_Three_Processes_Handouts
Working With Journeys 3 hours Working_with_Journeys_FG Working_with_Journeys_Handouts

Inquiry Skills - tools for facilitating at each step of the cycle

This nuts and bolts workshop gives participants more tools for helping girls plan, carry out, and reflect on activities. Much of this workshop focuses on questions: how to help girls identify the questions and ideas they want to explore, and how to use open-ended questioning to help groups when they get "stuck." This workshop can be used with either staff or volunteers.


Version Length Facilitation Guide (doc) & Preprints (pdf) Participant Handouts
The Core Curriculum (original) 3 hours Inquiry_Skills_FG, Inquiry_Skills_Preprints Inquiry_Skills_Handouts

Progression in Girls' Leadership - varying levels of control in an activity

"Progression" explores one of the trickier concepts in Girl Scouting: knowing when and how to give girls more control over activities. Frequently adults default to controlling everything themselves, or to giving girls minimal direction and letting them run amok in the name of "girl-led." This workshop lets adults experience these two approaches plus a third "middle ground" – and gets them thinking about when to use each approach with girls.

We've provided three different versions of the workshop below:

  • The Core Curriculum - The original, stand-alone workshop, suitable for staff or volunteers.
  • Staff and Key Volunteers - Want to do some professional development with your staff, facilitators, or service unit managers? This is the version for you. In this workshop, your staff/volunteers will discuss how they can support girls' leadership development in their organizational role. This particular example was used with facilitators in Girl Scouts of Western Washington.
  • Day Trip Planning - When Girl Scouts of Western Washington inserted the Progression workshop into their first-level "day trips" workshop, this is what happened. Here, volunteers learn how to give meaningful decision-making power to girls, while learning how to take girls on day trips of 4 hours or more. Courtesy of Girl Scouts of Western Washington.
Version Length Facilitation Guide Participant Handouts
The Core Curriculum (original) 2 hr 40 min + time for applying concepts Progression_FG Progression_Handouts
Staff & Key Volunteers 2 hr 30 min Progression_Key_Vols_FG Progression_Key_Vols_Handouts
Day Trips 3 hours Day_Trip_Planning_FG Day_Trip_Planning_Handouts

Customizing

We're passionate believers in the concept of adaptation - that the workshops should be tailored to meet the unique needs of your audience. Need to integrate the IC curriculum into with classes on Journeys, taking girls on field trips, or more? Here are some tips for using our curriculum to fit your council's unique needs:

1. Know what the curriculum teaches

Our workshops give volunteers a solid foundation in the three processes: girl led, learning by doing, and cooperative learning. At the same time, volunteers learn that science activities are a normal, expected part of Girl Scouting. The same skills they'll use to achieve the three processes are the same skills needed to lead science activities.

2. Identify where our curriculum fits

You know IC teaches the three processes…now, where to insert it? Here are two examples:

  • Girl Scouts of Maine wanted their troop leaders to start using the three processes right away with girls. They integrated our Three Processes curriculum into their Troop Pathways workshop, which new troop leaders take before working with girls.
  • Girl Scouts of Western Washington wanted to develop volunteers who can coach girls to plan their own day trips, instead of planning for them. They integrated the Progression in Girls' Leadership curriculum into their Day Trip Planning workshop. Now, volunteers have tools to give girls control at a level that is appropriate for their age and the complexity of the activity.

3. Create the "application" section

When inserting our curriculum into your workshops, you decide how you want volunteers to apply what they've learned – we recommend you give them some planning time. In Maine, the "application" time lets volunteers decide how they will use the processes with their troops. In Western Washington, the facilitators introduce trip planning tools and forms (like Volunteer Essentials), and then the volunteers discuss how to support their girls in using those tools.

4. Adjust the activity

We recommend keeping one of our science activities as the "teaching activity" that volunteers experience in the workshop, rather than an activity in their comfort zone (like crafts or outdoor activities). We've found that adults are better able to identify the facilitation skills we're teaching when they're engaged in something new. Plus, the supplies are lightweight, simple, and cheap – all great things when you're teaching lots of workshops.

If you want to change the science activity – say, use balloon rockets rather than parachutes – you can do this. Just don't pick a complex activity that gets in the way of your learning objectives. To substitute, change the specific activity instructions (for example, how to make a balloon rocket) in the facilitation guide – but keep the process of how you facilitate the activity the same. We use parachutes, ring gliders, spinning paper tops, and balloon rockets as our teaching activities a lot. They're all fun, use readily available supplies, and are easy to pack; plus, very few people are parachute or paper top experts, so everyone attending your workshop is on the same footing.