Anna Claire Beaton, 8, of DeWitt, Arkansas, was recently named one of 12 winners in the inaugural “Making Space for Girls Challenge,” a science competition presented by SpaceKids Global, a Florida-based, non-profit established to use space exploration to engage children in STEAM learning. All winning science-oriented submissions will be included on the SpaceX launch from the Kennedy Space Center to the International Space Station scheduled for later this year.
Girls of all ages participated in this first-ever challenge. The competition attracted nearly 700 entries from across the country, as well as entries from Japan and Germany. Girls from 95 of the Girls Scouts’ 111 councils participated in the challenge’s three designated categories - science experiment, essays and art. Anna Claire is a Brownie level Girl Scout with the Girl Scouts – Diamonds of Arkansas, Oklahoma and Texas Council.
Anna Claire’s project submission is in the science category. She proposed a project to send ants into space and see if they would still tunnel and build hills. During the Zoom call when she was notified of her win, judges told Anna Claire that they would use carpenter ants and a gel ant farm. The gel will be used to see if they tunnel and also will provide the nutrients/food needed while the ants are in space.
“Anna Claire has loved space since she was little. It started with Star Wars and quickly moved to actual space,” said Lindsay Beaton, Anna Claire’s mother. “She was an astronaut in pre-K when they dressed up like what they wanted to be when they grew up. She had a NASA themed party for her sixth birthday and was an astronaut for Halloween! So, when she saw this competition, of course she entered!”
“We are definitely proud of and so excited for Anna Claire,” said Dawn Prasifka, president and CEO of Girl Scouts – Diamonds. “The Girl Scout experience is rooted in the processes of girls discovering the world around her, connecting with what she’s interested in and taking action to make her world a better place, and Anna Claire’s project is a perfect example of that – except that she’s expanded her vision beyond the world and into the vast universe of space!”
The competition was conducted in collaboration with Girl Scouts Citrus Council in central Florida. Additional support for the challenge came from sponsors ProXops and ISS National Laboratory.
“The reaction to this competition is validation that girls really are interested in and excel in science,” Maryann Barry, CEO of Girl Scouts of Citrus Council said. “We are overwhelmed with the response and the sophistication of the entries and especially the opportunity this project has created for young girls. It is what girl scouting is all about,”
The entries were reviewed and chosen by several panels of judges all of whom originate from the space industry.
For more information, please visit www.Makingspaceforgirls.com.