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Girl Scout STEAM Expo featured life-size whale, robotics and more

Sam Jaffe of The Caterpillar Lab talks with participants at the STEAM Expo about the larval stage of butterflies and moths as caterpillars writhed in their containers. (GSGWM photo)

Inflatable replica was at ConVal High School March 30

PETERBOROUGH, NH | Imagine yourself in the belly of a whale. It’s not quite as dark and wet as you might think – if that whale is the life-sized 65-foot inflatable called Ladder the Whale, which was a highlight of the STEAM Expo at Contoocook Valley High School on Saturday, March 30, courtesy of the Blue Ocean Society.

The expo was a Girl Scout-hosted event, organized with the help of Girl Scout Junior Troop 12102. “We wanted to have a fun, interactive day where Girl Scouts and their friends and families can meet women that work in STEAM-related careers and learn about all the different job possibilities that are out there,” said Troop Leader Aly Leonard.

Along with the giant whale were opportunities for the 136 people who attended to try Bristle Bots, Snap Circuits, and computer coding; handle live caterpillars; paint a mural; learn about fish and erosion from experts in the fields; get their fingerprints taken and see how police use them; learn about FIRST Lego League robotics; and more.

Girl Scout Junior Samantha Proulx, 10, of Hillsborough, spent some time assembling a Snap Circuit kit into a device that sounded a siren. Jazmin Davison, 11, of Peterborough, made a circuit that shot a flying disc into the air. “These are my favorite things to do!” said Davison.

The giant inflatable whale was a huge draw. “It was cool because you get to see the heart and bones” when you go inside, said Mia Cruz, 10, of Merrimack. She’s now thinking of becoming a marine biologist.

Marjorie Anne Vincent, Bella D’Ambrosio, and Gabby Purvis concentrated on computer tablets, using their coding skills to draw patterns. The girls agreed that it helps to know these skills, and were happy show how the coding works.

Sam Jaffe of The Caterpillar Place had a constant crowd of children and adults, eager to look at, touch, and hold the live caterpillars and cocoons he had on display. Girl Scout Junior Annika Akey, 11, of Bennington, held a wiggly green tomato hornworm that was as large as her hand and examined it with interest. “It was prickly and sticky!” she said.

Outside, Jeff Lacourse of Extreme Chunkin demonstrated his trebuchet, giving participants the chance to fire off the machine that tossed heavy balls about 70 feet.

Everything Girl Scouts does centers around the four pillars of STEM skills, life skills, the outdoors, and entrepreneurship. Whether she’s building a robotic arm, coding her first app, building a shelter in the backcountry, or packing for her first hike, a Girl Scout has an exciting array of choices to suit her interests at any age. The Girl Scout Leadership Experience is a one-of-a-kind leadership development program for girls, with proven results, and unleashes the G.I.R.L. (Go-getter, Innovator, Risk-taker, Leader)™ in every girl.

About Girl Scouts of the Green and White Mountains: Girl Scouts of the Green and White Mountains is recognized throughout New Hampshire and Vermont as a leading expert on girls. Our Girl Scout Leadership Experience is a one-of-a-kind leadership development program for girls, with proven results. It is based on time-tested methods and research-backed programming that helps girls take the lead—in their own lives and in the world. Through our exciting and challenging programs, Girl Scouts not only participate but also take the lead in a range of activities—from kayaking, archery, and camping, to coding, robotics, financial literacy training, and beyond! Serving more than 10,000 girls throughout New Hampshire and Vermont, girls discover the fun, friendship, and power of girls together. Visit