How do 4-H and science relate to each other?Science – the systematized knowledge derived from observation, study and experimentation carried on in order to determine the nature or principles of what is being studied.
By: By Jodi Hintzen, 4-H program coordinator, Alexandria Echo Press
Science – the systematized knowledge derived from observation, study and experimentation carried on in order to determine the nature or principles of what is being studied.
So how do 4-H – the largest youth development organization in the world – and science relate to each other?
4-H and science have been intertwined from the beginning. One of T.A. “Dad” Erickson’s first actions was to purchase seed corn especially developed for Minnesota’s climate from the University of Minnesota experiment stations, Minnesota Number 13.
Erickson challenged his students to grow the corn and offered one pound of seed per student to grow if that student would bring 10 of their best ears of Minnesota 13 to exhibit and compare at the Nelson School Fair.
So the students were all given the same beginning product and their task was to search out the best method of growing the corn and share their results with others.
Since the 4-H Youth Development program began in 1902, 4-H youth have been engaged in demonstration projects that bring innovation and understanding of land-grant college and university research to local communities.
This tradition of experimentation continues in modern 4-H today. 4-H projects promote the use of the scientific process by allowing youth to experiment within a given topic, assess the results and communicate those results to others around them, be it at a 4-H meeting, through a 4-H demonstration, or exhibiting at the county or state fair.
4-H relies upon its greatest strength – non-formal experientially based delivery methods that address science abilities and content in a hands-on way, developing scientifically literate youth.
In quilting, youth utilize math skills to figure out measurements and quantities of fabric needed for a specific quilt design. In animal science, youth experiment with feed content to produce a better end product for consumers. In robotics, youth may engineer and build their own robot and research how robotics affect our everyday life. The possibilities are endless.
For the past three years national 4-H has conducted 4-H National Youth Science day the first week in October. Past experiments have revolved around water use, water quality and bio fuels. These experiments have been conducted in a variety of 4-H afterschool programs in Douglas County.
Youth will have the opportunity to engineer their own renewable energy technologies as they build and test their own turbine in Wired for Wind, the 2011 National Science Experiment.
The fourth annual 4-H National Youth Science Day will take place on Wednesday, October 5. If you are interested in the 4-H National Youth Science experiment, visit www.4-h.org for information on this experiment and the past three experiments.
As 4-H began in 1902 with Minnesota 13 seed corn, 4-H continues as a leader in hands-on non-formal science education through project work, 4-H afterschool, community gardens, short term camps and much more.
For more information about Douglas County 4-H, contact the University of Minnesota Extension Office, Douglas County at (320) 762-3890 or e-mail email@example.com.
Source: Science, Engineering and Technology: Programming in the Context of 4-H Youth Development.