Implementing Inquiry in the Community is more than just inserting our curriculum into your volunteer learning workshops; it helps you provide ongoing support and inspiration to volunteers in each of your pathways. Dive in for ideas you can use in your council, plus examples of what others have done.
Councils use our resources to support their troop pathway in a number of ways. Here some of the best practices we've seen:
Incorporate our curriculum into your volunteer workshops
Councils offer a variety of volunteer workshops, particularly to those in the troop pathway. Integrating our curriculum into your existing workshops provides a seamless way for troop leaders to learn how to facilitate science…and to facilitate the three processes, no matter what the activity is. For more on incorporating our curriculum into your formal volunteer learning framework, see the volunteer learning page.
Leverage Service Units
Councils can use our curriculum and resources to advance the work of their service units by:
- Letting volunteers experience our activities at a service unit meeting
- Leading shorter sections of our workshops at a meeting
- Facilitating discussions on different ways to implement the activity cycle: planning techniques, idea-gathering methods, reflection activities
- Supporting service unit event planners incorporating our activities into events, or in using the activity cycle to plan their event
- Adjusting volunteer meetings so they model the tools used in our curriculum: active engagement, reflection, cooperative learning, and opportunities for "girl-led"
In Real Life
Girl Scouts of Maine (GSME) incorporated Three Processes into their main Troop Pathway workshop for new volunteers. Then, they led a mini version of the workshop at many of their service unit meetings; the experienced volunteers valued the concrete explanation of the processes, and the new leaders who had taken the workshop enjoyed being the "experts." Now GSME is looking for more ways to share activities and create events that use science inquiry activities and the activity cycle.
Camps are a super fit for science inquiry. The great outdoors naturally invites questions, girls and adults are already doing experiential education, and investigations can span an hour, a day, or a week. Here are some tips for using Inquiry in the Community resources in your camp.
Camp Staff Training
Our curriculum provides a great foundation for your staff training. Whether you're working with college-age camp staff or seasoned volunteers, they'll learn concrete ways to build girls' leadership and decision-making skills. Plus, at the same time, they're learning how to facilitate science inquiry.
We recommend facilitating the three workshops in sequence: first Three Processes, then Inquiry Skills, and finally Progression in Girls' Leadership. Some camp directors have changed the activities used as "teaching activities" to be more "camp-like." What's Here works well in the camp environment; just be sure to do both parts 1 and 2 of the activity. Playing with Fire is also a great choice, and will increase your camp staffs' understanding of fire-building. Both of these activities are available in our activity library.
Got staff that are running a "nature" area? Point them to our activity libraryand they'll have easy, outdoor-focused science inquiry activities at their fingertips.
If your staff or volunteers are looking to fill a couple hours with high-quality program, our "Day Camp Wings" resources are a good fit. Created in response to the needs of GSWW's day camps, these detailed activity guides are simple enough to be used by program aides, volunteers, or staff. Each activity guide provides instructions for four 30-40 minute sessions; you can do one session a day for a week, or bundle them all together. Plus, the Wings activity guides incorporate arts, science inquiry, engineering, and camp exploration into one seamless package.
Series and events have their own particular needs: engaging activities, short-yet-meaningful experiences for girls, and volunteers who need to quickly learn what's expected of them. Below are some ways you can use Inquiry in the Community resources to plan and implement series and events.
Workshops for Volunteers
Series and event volunteers need quick training to learn how to effectively work with girls. Our Three Processes workshop teaches volunteers tools for giving girls meaningful choices and build girls' leadership - all in a fun, hands-on environment. For short-term volunteers with lots of subject knowledge but little experience with girls, this curriculum will help make their sessions with girls engaging, interesting, and "Girl Scout-y."
Whether you're creating an activity booth for a large festival or helping a volunteer design a short workshop for girls, try out our activity design principles:
- For activity booths, dedicate an area of your booth to each step in the activity cycle: spark (try the "basic" activity), plan (decide how to modify the basic activity), do (try the new design or modified procedure), and reflect (share what they've found.)
- Assign volunteers to each station with specific instructions. For example, a volunteer at the "planning" station for a rocket-launching activity would ask girls to think of something they'd like to change about their rocket, and then help girls find the right supplies. Your volunteers will be able to learn their role in 5-10 minutes, and you'll provide an awesome activity that takes girls through the activity cycle.
- Try incorporating some of our activities, or use our activity_template (also available in the activity library) to create your own event activities. This will ensure that all the activities at your event go through each step of the activity cycle (spark, plan, do, and reflect) and that girls have a meaningful experience.
Designing Patch Programs
You can use this same approach when designing patch programs. Simply have a requirement (or two) for each stage of the activity cycle. Here's one example for a patch on water and the critters that live in water:
- First, girls learn basic information about marine invertebrates, and look at them using dip-nets or coffee-can "underwater viewers."
- Girls then decide a question to ask, such as "Are there different invertebrates in a stream vs. a pond?"
- Girls make a plan for how to investigate their question. You could provide a planning tool here, or ask girls to write down the steps of their plan in order, plus any supplies they'll need.
- Girls go carry out their plan and notice what happened.
- Finally, girls discuss what they've discovered, and decide on a way to share it with the adults in their troop - posters, skits, a presentation, drawings, etc.
Or, if you're suggesting different activities for girls to do to earn the patch, write each of the activities using the format described in our activity_template.
In Real Life
Girl Scouts of Western Washington modified the Three Processes curriculum to use with robotics volunteers and with adults supervising girls in council travel experiences.
GSWW also designed a booth for the Seattle Science Festival's EXPO Day that had dedicated areas for each step in the activity cycle. In one short day, hundreds of people got a first-hand experience of the power of Girl Scouts.
A thousand miles south of Seattle, Girl Scouts of California's Central Coast used the activity cycle and template to create activities for their popular Forever Green patch program.