Iowa 4-H Science Inquiry Workshops

You've been hearing about STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) a lot lately! Everyone from the President of the United States to the Governor of Iowa to the Vice President of ISU Extension and Outreach has been talking about how we need more STEM outreach to youth.

STEM initiatives, STEM grants, STEM programs, they just keep coming. You probably want to take advantage of these resources. You want your youth to have these opportunities, but you might feel unsure how to go about creating quality STEM programs.

Iowa's 4-H STEM program is offering workshops to support and equip you as you dive into this important work! (These workshops are opportunities for you and the people you work with – volunteers, partners, school and afterschool staff, etc. – to develop knowledge and skills as well as spend time networking, brainstorming, and planning the work you are already doing or hoping to do. There is no additional programming expectations associated with participating in workshops.)

Helping young people develop their science inquiry process skills is a big part of the new K-12 science standards and the (STEM) initiatives rolling out across Iowa and the country. It's also a big part of what makes science so fun and exciting for youth! But it might not be the way you learned science when you were in school.                              

Creating an environment that allows youth to practice inquiry is a skill that rarely comes naturally. These workshops will help you understand how to create an environment that inspires wonder, encourages youth to ask good questions, and allows them to explore and test their ideas and devise evidence based arguments in community and through teamwork. Whether you take part in direct delivery of STEM programming to youth or you support the volunteers and partners who do, this training will help you be more successful in your work.

Five workshops taking place across the state!


Summary of Iowa’s 4-H Science Inquiry Workshops

Who is it for?

4-H staff (state and county) and the people local 4-H staff identify as key stakeholders and invite to participate. Examples of people you might want to invite include:

  • Volunteers
  • Key stakeholders in your county/region
  • Senior youth (teen leaders who assist in programing)
  • Extension council members
  • Community partners you work with
  • K-12 teachers or after school staff


Using inquiry process in 4-H – with an emphasis on STEM programing

  • Philosophy and research behind inquiry process
  • Experiencing inquiry process as a learner
  • Understanding how to facilitate youth programs using inquiry process
  • Subtle shifts – how to incorporate more inquiry into 4-H curricula and activities without reinventing them

Resources available through National 4-H Science website

Additional STEM professional development needs identified by participants in the workshop. Possible topics could include:

  • Training on any of the National 4-H Science curricula
  • 4-H Science 101 training
  • Volunteer recruitment and training of STEM content rich volunteers
  • Fund development and/or evaluation for 4-H STEM programs
  • Successful approaches and resources for forming 4-H STEM clubs
  • County/multi-county team planning times for implementation/next steps
  • ISU K-12 STEM outreach opportunities
  • National Youth Science Day
  • Others?
What it looks like?

Workshops will be held across the state (NW, NE, Central, SW, SE) November 2012 – April 2013

  • Check the dark green box on the top right for details on each

12-30 participants per workshop

Each workshop will consist of two, non-contiguous days of training (separated by several weeks).

  • A two day commitment by participants

     Day One
          5.5 hours of inquiry process related trainings
          0.5 hours of introduction to resource available through National 4-H website
          1.0 hours of planning time for Day Two
     Day Two
          2.5 hours of inquiry review/discussion
          3.5 hours meeting 4-H Science PD needs identified on Day One

October to infinity and beyond:

  • Implementation of learning
  • Evaluation of professional development experience
  • Replication on a biannual basis or as area identifies the need and organizes the workshop
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