Local 4-H staff brought two programs to Oakdale Grade School in January. Both programs were interactive learning experiences that are designed to get youth excited about science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), and spotlights the many ways millions of youth are engaging in 4-H Science programs year-round.
Rockets to the Rescue called for the students to design and build an aerodynamic craft designed to deliver a payload of food to natural disaster victims. Students conducted the Rockets to the Rescue experiment and responded to a fictional scenario: A natural disaster has left people without food on a remote, isolated Pacific island, and the youth have been asked to build a rocket that can be launched from the mainland, travel over the ocean and deliver high-energy food to the population. The experiment combines two 4-H issue areas—science and food security—and incorporates aerospace engineering concepts to help youth design a rocket out of everyday materials, including recyclable two-liter bottles, cotton balls, pipe cleaners, rubber bands and a protractor.
The Honeybee Challenge program challenged the students to apply critical thinking and STEM skills to a real-world situation. During the first part of the lesson, youth learned the important role of honeybees in agriculture and food production, discussed the threats to honey bee habitats, and explored best practices for preserving and maintaining honeybee habitats. During the second part of the lesson, youth built bristle bots to simulate a bee on a foraging route. They use straws, tape, and paper cups to navigate the autonomous bot through the course, sweeping pollen (cornmeal) along the way.
Both programs were part of the National Youth Science Day program that is rolled out annually in October. For more information about 4-H STEM programs, or the Washington County 4-H program, please call Amanda at 618-327-8881.
University of Illinois Extension provides equal opportunities in programs and employment. If you need a reasonable accommodation to participate in this program, contact the Extension office at (618) 327-8881.