Iowa 4-H InventSTEM Challenge Showcases Youth Innovation at 2022 Iowa State Fair

September 1, 2022, 3:22 pm | Elizabeth Settles Huffman, Sara Nelson

Participants work on their InventSTEM challenge at the 2022 Iowa State Fair.AMES, Iowa – This year, 24 youth from across Iowa showcased their innovative ideas during InventSTEM on Aug. 21 at the Iowa State Fair. This Iowa State University Extension and Outreach 4-H Youth Development program encourages youth to engage in the innovation process to solve real-world problems.

The InventSTEM program uses a learning framework that encourages youth to take part in a variety of STEM learning opportunities. “This year, youth took part in the Fun in the Sun Challenge,” said Sara Nelson, Iowa 4-H STEM specialist with ISU Extension and Outreach. “This challenge asked youth to work in teams to create a model invention. This invention needed to help keep people cool while also providing fun or entertainment.”

The top youth teams in grades 6-12 across the state were awarded prizes and showcased their ideas at the 2022 Iowa State Fair.

The InventSTEM program, developed in partnership with Alliant Energy, has provided an opportunity to meet the rising demand for future professionals in science, technology, engineering and math, helping young people improve their skills as they explore the importance of STEM in everyday life.

InventSTEM participants.“These challenges are an important part of the learning process. They help connect STEM learning to real-life issues and showcase the value of hands-on, minds-on experiences,” Nelson said.

For more information on Iowa 4-H STEM programming, contact your ISU Extension and Outreach county office or visit the InventSTEM website,

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