Howard 4-H Youth Engineer Robotic Solutions on 4-H National Youth Science Day

45 youth and volunteers in Howard County joined millions of young people across the nation to become scientists for the day during the fifth annual 4-H National Youth Science Day (NYSD) on October 10,2012. This annual event seeks to spark an early youth interest in science and future science careers, and to reclaim the nation's position of leadership in scientific exploration. As part of 4-H NYSD, youth will participate in the 4-H Eco-Bot Challenge: the 2012National Science Experiment.

Designed by The Ohio State University Extension, this year's experiment will introduce youth to robotic engineering concepts as they program an autonomous robot to clean up a simulated environmental spill. The 4-H Eco-Bot Challenge will demonstrate that by utilizing engineering principles, youth can have a positive impact on communities and ecosystems.

In Howard County youth enhanced their engineering skills by assembling their own Eco-Bots and surface controls to manage an environmental clean-up. Youth then tested the interaction between the Eco-Bot’s design features and various surface control configurations to determine the most effective clean-up solution for the simulated spill.

“Our nation is falling behind other countries in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math," Kaitlin Hanson, Howard County Youth Coordinator.  "However, participation in high-quality positive youth development programs like 4-H NYSD offers youth and adults the opportunity to engage in scientific exploration and work together to build the next generation of our nation's scientists, engineers and mathematicians."
 

To combat a national shortage of young people pursuing science college majors and occupations, and to enhance the nation's contribution to the sciences, 4-H National Youth Science Day demonstrates that science, engineering, math and technology are fun and attainable options for college degrees and future careers. Currently, more than five million young people across the nation participate in 4-H science, engineering, technology and applied math year-long programming.
Research has shown that participation in 4-H programs like 4-H NYSD makes a positive difference in the lives of youth. Youth development scholar, Dr. Richard Lerner, works with researchers at the Institute for Applied Research in Youth Development at Tufts University to conduct The 4-H Study of Positive Youth Development. The longitudinal study has found that, when compared to other youth, young people involved in 4-H are:

  • Two times more likely to get better grades in school;
  • Two times more likely to plan to go to college;
  • Nearly three times more likely to participate in science, engineering, or computer technology programs, and,
  • Three times more likely to make positive contributions to their families and communities.

 Overall, the study found that the advantages of 4-H participation include higher educational achievement and higher motivation for future education.

 As part of the Cooperative Extension System of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and implemented by the nation’s 111 land-grant colleges and universities, 4-H has been educating youth in the sciences for more than 100 years. In fact, the land-grant colleges and universities have been deeply involved in environmental research for some time and will showcase their work to inspire youth around the nation on 4-H National Youth Science Day.

 4-H’s robust, university research-based science curriculum, combined with new initiatives like4-H National Youth Science Day, will arm young people with the necessary technical skills to help America maintain its competitive edge in the global marketplace.

 About 4-H National Youth Science Day

For more than 100 years, 4-H has been at the forefront of teaching youth about science, engineering and technology. Created to combat a shortage of American young people pursuing science college majors and careers, 4-H National Youth Science Day seeks to spark an early youth interest and leadership in science.

 Currently, more than five million young people across the nation participate in 4 H science, engineering and technology programming in topics as varied as robotics, rocketry, wind power, GPS mapping, agricultural science, film making, water quality and biofuels. And, through the One Million New Scientists, One Million New Ideas campaign, 4 H has undertaken a bold goal of engaging one million additional young people in science, engineering and technology programming by 2013.

 This year’s 4-H National Youth Science Day was sponsored by Donaldson, Inc.

 For more information on 4-H NYSD, visit www.4-H.org/NYSD.Or, to find a 4-H youth development program near you, go to www.4-H.org.

 About 4-H

4-H is a community of six million young people across America learning leadership, citizenship, and life skills. National 4-H Council is the private sector, non-profit partner of 4-H National Headquarters located at the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) within USDA.  4-H programs are implemented by the 111 land-grant colleges and universities and the Cooperative Extension System through their 3,100 local Extension offices across the country.  Learn more about 4-H at www.4-H.orgor find us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/4-H.

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