4-H STEM days featured ocean themes, hands-on activities for nearly 400 intermediate school students

Altoona, Iowa (December 6, 2022) – Polk County 4-H partnered with Bondurant-Farrar Intermediate School on November 30 and December 1 to engage nearly 400 fifth and sixth graders in STEM-related activities. Students learned about robotics, ocean exploration, and the impacts ocean conditions have around the world through the 4-H Explorers of the Deep challenge kit. This two-day STEM event was supported by a grant from Meta (formerly known as Facebook).

“Polk County 4-H offers opportunities for youth to learn by doing and helps them develop skills that they can use now and throughout their lives,” said Megan Freel, county youth coordinator for Iowa State University (ISU) Extension and Outreach in Polk County. “One of the best parts of the Explorers of the Deep challenge was to incorporate this learning with fun, hands-on activities.”

The three hands-on activities facilitated by four Polk County 4-H staff allowed students to develop observational and critical thinking skills while learning more about the connection between humans and the environment. The activities included:
•    Ocean Robot Test Tank: Youth learned how to “ballast” their ocean robot by adding weights to recreate the sinking and floating behavior of a real ocean robot. 
•    Ocean Expedition: An ocean-inspired board game which taught youth key ocean concepts like aquaculture, ocean ecosystems, climate change, human impact, and more.
•    Ocean Communicator: Ocean scientists, engineers and technologists face many challenges and students were charged with developing a public service announcement to help others inspire action.

The 4-H Explorers of the Deep challenge incorporates the 4-H experiential model of ‘do, reflect, apply’. It also aligns with the Next Generation Science Standards. 

“We were excited to share more about 4-H with participating students and appreciate Bondurant-Farrar’s collaboration and Meta’s financial support to make this possible,” said Freel.

Over the last year, Polk County 4-H has impacted over 1,500 area youth through clubs, programs, and partnerships. The organization is committed to bringing research-based 4-H programming and experiences to all areas of the county to create positive, safe, and meaningful learning environments. To learn more about Polk County 4-H or partnership opportunities, visit www.extension.iastate.edu/polk or call the ISU Extension and Outreach in Polk County office at (515) 957-5760. 


Bondurant-Farrar Students being taught STEM programing by 4-H
Bondurant-Farrar Students being taught STEM programing by 4-H


About Polk County 4-H
Polk County 4-H is part of America’s largest youth development organization where collectively we empower nearly six million young people with the skills to lead for a lifetime. At Polk County 4-H we offer youth research-based experiences that include a mentor, a hands-on project, and meaningful leadership opportunities. Our programs encourage youth to build leadership, citizenship, communication, and life skills while giving them a strong foundation in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) disciplines.

In 2022, Polk County 4-H served over 1,500 youth through:
•    4-H and Clover Kids Clubs
•    Afterschool programs
•    Summer camps
•    Leadership conferences and retreats