Bright orange pizza boxes from Little Caesars and chocolate are not usually associated with science lessons, but for a handful of Raleigh County Girl Scouts, it was just that. 

After all, they were building a solar oven to bake some s'mores. 

It all started when Amanda Bodkin, the leader of the troop, became interested in letting the group earn their SUN Patch from Solar United Neighbors.

With the help of Tom Stockdale, an associate professor and extension specialist for the Safety and Health Extension for WVU, the girls were able to dive into the world of science and solar power.

The Erma Byrd Higher Education Center, equipped with solar panels, a windmill and an open field, was the perfect option for the young girls to have some hands-on experience. Stockdale, their teacher for the day, lead them across the dry land, pointing and answering questions they had. 

Stockdale, with his black-framed glassed and his prim, gray mustache, answered all of them right away. A few minutes later, there was still one important question left.

"Did it work?" one girl asked, her blonde ponytail flopping to the side as she looked at Stockdale with her brows scrunched together. "The oven?"

Back at the solar oven scene, the girls were able to test out their science. Instead of eating their melted s'mores right away, the group found themselves sitting on the grass next to it, looking at it with confusion — Did it work?

“Stick your finger in the one that you're going to eat,” Stockdale suggested. “See if it worked.”

“It's chocolate water!” another little girl chimed in, staring at the melted chocolate that stuck to her finger. It had worked. The troop had made an oven only using a pizza box, aluminum foil, black paper and the sun. 

While this may have been the first big project for the troop, Bodkin explained that she tries to include a lot of hands-on STEM activities. 

"We're trying to take it out of the classroom," she said. "I want to show them that we can get out of the classroom, and there's nothing wrong with making jewelry and things like that, but we're also talking about noteworthy women and what makes you you."

Bodkin decided to create the Girl Scout troop this past year, after seeing what her son's Boy Scout troop was doing. 

"That's where it got me," Bodkin said. "There are a lot of things that the boys do, and it's available, so I said we're going to do it, too. We're building their resume." 

"I used to be a Girl Scout, and we didn't do this stuff," Bodkin said. "I was excited to see that there were things we could get out and do."

Bodkin has the rest of the year planned, every event plopped in her notes. Next, she wants to teach the girls about coding. 

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