Part I:
A Girl Scout’s Journey with Energy
By Riley Welchko

Hi! My name is Riley. I am a Junior Girl Scout in Troop 71360 from Michigan. I go to Hugger Elementary. This is how we earned our Journey GET MOVING. It took a couple meetings and a lot of hard work to earn this Journey, but I’m glad I did it.

We played the Today in Energy game. In the first round, we all ran out of Energy Bucks. I only needed one more while other girls needed five or six more. One thing we all chose was having air conditioning in summer and being warm in winter, but we realized if we layer up with more blankets in winter it would save Energy Bucks. The game gave us some ideas of ways to save energy in real   life and in our future like choosing a shower over a bath.

We had to make a “Wanted” poster. We made a list of things we accidentally do at home that wastes energy. My energy crimes are taking a long, hot shower and leaving lights on. We talked about ways to save energy and took an Energy Pledge. I Pledged to not leave lights on when I leave a room.


My leader taught us about energy. There is light, heat, motion, sound, and growth. We found out how energy changes from one form to another form. We all loved making the radiometer spin in the sunlight.





During another meeting, we learned about trash and recycling. We did a Trash Tally, to see how much of our garbage is paper, glass, plastic, food, or wood. We made bookmarks to encourage people to recycle.

Our Troop had a table at our science fair. I made our display board of real examples of what you should recycle. Like my plastic mac and cheese container, some cardboard, glass, and metal cans, too. During the science fair, we gave away the recycling bookmarks, and solar bead bracelets. The beads absorb energy from the sun and start turning colors. We had a UV light at our table, so kids could see how the bracelets change colors.


At another meeting we did science experiments. There were three identical lights with an incandescent, a CFL, and an LED bulb. We turned them on and waited to see how hot they might get. We measured the temperature of each bulb with a handheld infrared thermometer. We felt the heat coming off the incandescent bulb with our hands. Later we took turns taking the temperatures of the different light bulbs. The incandescent bulb rose 30 degrees, while the CFL and LED bulbs only changed two degrees. What we learned from this experiment was that old technology is not as good as today’s technology. And we learned which light bulb would be best to use in your house. LEDs and halogen bulbs are more energy efficient and will save you money on your electric bill.

Then we did an insulation experiment using two soda cans. We put a “coolie” on one can and left the other alone. After a while, we used the infrared thermometer to take the cans’ temperatures. We found out the can being insulated was two degrees colder than the other can. We learned that insulation keeps a can colder.

Next, we did a home energy audit. We used a pencil and tied a tissue paper ribbon to the end. We went around the house to see if wind was blowing in it. We found the most wind at the front door. You could even see through the crack. Another crack we discovered was a window, but the ribbon didn’t blow that much. During the audit we toured the home and found examples of energy being used and learned about the sources of energy the home uses. For example, I spotted the refrigerator because it uses energy to keep food cold. I learned the refrigerator is powered by electricity. Finally, we created Saving Energy Super Heroes. Mine is a dragon named Electric Lightning. His super power is teaching kids how to be safe around electricity.

My troop went on a field trip to a local nursery. We learned how plants and trees grow and potted our own flowers. I think learning about energy is fun!


Part II

Earn Girl Scout Awards Using NEED Resources
By Cindy Welchko, Co-Leader Troop 71360
Girl Scouts of South Eastern Michigan

Leaders, The NEED Project offers many resources to help complete badges at all levels. Some topics include energy, the environment, climate change, science careers, engineering and STEM challenges. I found everything I needed to complete a Girl Scout Journey in one place – from NEED.

Here is how my fourth grade Juniors earned the three-part energy themed Journey, GET MOVING. The lesson plans mentioned below (in bold) are available to download, at no cost, from and are hyperlinked below this article.

To earn the Energize Award, we used the Elementary Energy Infobook and materials from my Science of Energy kit to discuss the meaning of energy, the forms of energy, and show examples of transformations of energy. We used Today in Energy to discuss how we use energy, and America’s Most Wanted Energy Wasters (from Games and Icebreakers) to discuss how we waste energy. The girls also took an Energy Pledge to reduce their energy use in a personal way.

To earn the Investigate Award, we studied energy use at our leader’s house with activities from Monitoring and Mentoring. We used the Light Bulb Investigation to compare the thermal energy given off by an incandescent bulb, a CFL, and an LED. We also did an Insulation Investigation and used Energy Systems and Sources to guide us through an energy audit of the house. We used Investigating Windows at Home (from Building Science) to check for air infiltration, too. Finally, the girls created Saving Energy Super Heroes, a new activity in development for Elementary Energy Infobook Activities.

To earn the Innovate Award, we learned what makes up most of the trash in the U.S using a worksheet I created from the Trash Tally section of Talking Trash. The girls used Talking Trash’s nonfiction text and books from the library to research recycling topics and created colorful bookmarks to educate classmates and encourage them to recycle. They gave away the bookmarks during our school’s science fair.
For our service project component, our focus is on increased recycling at our elementary school. We are building a new recycling center to collect items such as batteries, crayons, and eye glasses. We’re currently finishing the construction and staining of the recycling center and will install it soon. We are planning a small ceremony to dedicate it and celebrate our accomplishments.

Using established NEED materials to complete the many steps of this Journey really simplified the process for me. As you plan your current Girl Scout year, I highly recommend browsing NEED’s materials. Whether you need a science experiment, engineering design challenge, or directions to build a solar oven on your next campout, look to NEED for free resources that meet badge and Journey requirements for Daisies through Ambassadors.

Find the corresponding guidebooks and activities below:
(all available for free PDF download or as an e-publication)

Elementary Energy Infobook
Science of Energy
Today in Energy
Energy Games & Icebreakers
Monitoring & Mentoring
Talking Trash