Highlights from summer camps offered through Iowa State University Extension and Outreach in Sioux County

Explorations in Vet Science, a cornerstone of the agriculture and natural resources camps, is for youth that love animals and science. This camp was for 4th through 8th grade students. Ben Pullen, Summer Ag and Natural Resources Educator, taught youth through games and hands-on activities.  The students explored the basics of animal behavior and health. They spent time at various centers exploring first aid, x-rays, shots, teeth, and animal exanimation. For the first time this year, they participated in a bio security activity in response to the recent porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDV) concerns in the swine industry. They also had an opportunity to visit with a veterinarian about vet science careers.



Next Steps Vet Science is a continuation of the vet science experience. Offered to students who completed the 5th through 8th grade and participated in Explorations in Vet Science, this camp was a study in biology and the systems of the body. The youth built models of each system discussed. They made a heart out of pop bottles for the circulatory system, a lung made of balloons and pop bottles and muscles and bone made out of wood and rubber bands. Discussions followed each model about how it works, what it was representing and how to examine on an animal.  The culmination of the camp was a health examination of an animal and then provides a report to the “owner” of the animal.

Design Daywas offered to students 4th through 8th grade. Local artist, Judy Thompson, taught new design techniques in watercolor.  Nickkie Hoekstra, owner of Creative Nature, shared about landscaping design. 4-H alumni, Anna Den Herder, shared techniques for effective posters.  Math skills were emphasized in this program as it relates to design symmetry. An advanced photography session was led by Vanessa Bartels, Generations Photography.  The students received tips on how to increase their skills in portrait and landscape photography and practice their skill with professional help.


Green Thumb, Dirty Fingerswas a K-3 camp that introduced younger children to the 4-H program. In this camp youth explored soil, tended plants and ate fresh produce. This camp encouraged healthy eating habits and interest in science and community involvement through hands-on activities. The camp began by digging in dirt, looking at the composition of different soils and talked about which soils are good for different plants. The children talked about seeds and different types of seeds observing differences and similarities. Participants helped to plant a flower bed in Orange City and a vegetable garden in Rock Valley. They ended the day talking about where food comes from and did an activity called “Rocks to Ice Cream” where they made ice cream in a bag. Summer Educator, Ben Pullen, offered the camps in partnership with the Orange City Parks and Rec Department and the Rock Valley Community School FFA Instructor.

Engineering for YOUthwas a camp for youth 4th through 8th grade led by Jason Katsma, Summer STEM Educator. This camp gave the students an opportunity to explore the world through interactive learning environments and activities. The introduction to the day was a discussion of what engineering actually is and skills needed to be successful in the field. They were introduced to the Engineerng is Elementary (EiE) five engineering steps: ask, imagine, plan, create, and improve.  The first day included building a tower out of index cards, tape and a ruler, and building a bridge first out of wood beams and metal trusses and then a bridge model out of K’NEX material. The second day included working with sailboats and skimmers and fuel cell cars. At the end of each day students took part in a showcase for their parents sharing about the project they built.


Robotics Camp (Gear Tech I)was a 4-day camp open to all youth grades 4th through 8th grade, led by Jason Katsma, Summer STEM Educator. This camp taught robotics, global positioning systems (GPS) and geographic information system (GIS) technologies through building and programming a robot, navigation and map making activities. This camp utilized the use of Lego® sets with robotic components. The 15 students in the program built simple robots and learned to program for simple commands using block programming. Camp participants worked in groups and had to learn how to communicate using correct verbiage for each piece of the robot that they were building. At the end of each day they were able to showcase their accomplishments to their parents.


Advanced Robotics (Gear Tech II) Gear Tech II, taught by Jason Katsma, Summer STEM Educator, was open to all youth 5th through 9th grade and was held at the Northwest Iowa Community College Campus in Sheldon, IA. This 4-day camp took the youth to the next step in building and programming robots, requiring them to use block programming while integrating sensors and switches into their robot. Working in teams of two, the daily challenges encouraged youth to create more advanced commands in the programming and the students pushed themselves to create programs that worked every time. As in the Gear Tech I program, the students were able to showcase their accomplishments each day to parents and friends.


In addition to the STEM Camps held this year, Sioux County 4-H Youth Council planned a multi-county livestock workshop for 4-H livestock exhibitors. This was members’ last chance before the fair to take the Food Safety Quality Assurance (FSQA) required for training and testing. FSQA assures consu

mers that 4-H’ers are producing safe food products. They also had multi-species livestock workshops where each student could choose three species to receive training in nutrition, management, grooming and showing. There were also special sessions on bio-security and livestock judging.

For information about camp opportunities and how your child can participate in 4-H, or how you can become a 4-H volunteer, contact Cindy Cleveringa, ISU Extension and Outreach 4-H county youth coordinator in Sioux County, at 712-737-4230712-737-4230 or clever@iastate.edu. Find us on the web at www.extension.iastate.edu/sioux or

follow us on Facebook, ISU Extension and Outreach Sioux County.

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