Here are activities to help members get to know each other, break up cliques, and decrease disruptions during meetings.
Have members line up in a straight line by their birth date without talking to each other. Depending on the age of the club members you can make it easy using only the month and day or if you really want to challenge them include their birth year!
Once the line is completed have the youth whisper their birthday to the leader. If anyone is out of order simply announce “Out of Order” and try again. When they get the correct order have them announce their birthdays.
The values of this activity:
– teaching the group to work together
– youth demonstrating leadership
As they end the activity have the line of members fold in half so that the youngest is standing next to the oldest, second youngest is next to second oldest, etc. The first pair of members sits down together followed by each succeeding pair.
The 4-H Chant Challenge
As members arrive at your 4-H meeting, randomly put them in groups of 3 to 6. While waiting for others to arrive, these groups work independently to create a 4-H chant, song, or rap. Tunes for the chants can be offered such as “Call Me Maybe” (Carly Rae Jepson), “We’re All in This Together” (High School Musical), “Mary Had a Little Lamb” (Nursery Rhymes), and “We Will Rock You.” You may select songs that your group is familiar with or let them select their own.
The goal is to create lyrics to share how great 4-H is for kids and families. Through the process, the club members will connect and have a great time. Actions to the lyrics are welcome, too! Don’t forget to include any parents and family members in the groups!
Be sure to have a video camera ready! You won’t want to miss the fun as 4-H members share their chants with the entire club! This can go into a county-wide event for even more fun.
The 4-H Club Pennant Challenge
As clubs grow they develop an identity – help them share what their club is all about! Have the club member’s work together to develop their own 4-H Club Pennant – just like sports teams. National 4-H Week is a great time to have 4-H clubs present colorful banners that tell a story about their club. They can be displayed at the county 4-H office – this is a great way for the public to learn and ask questions about the 4-H program. Photos of club banners can be used on Facebook or other web pages as the profile picture.
Material for felt banners or pennants is inexpensive and easy to use with stencils for quality artwork. They can also be done on poster board and laminated. Set guidelines that include proper display and use of 4-H clover and prohibit use of copyrighted or other protected materials. Have a standard size and shape for all clubs that includes enough room for basic information. Be ready for an explosion of creativity!
You may have made your own pH indicator out of red cabbage in science class, but did you know that you can make pH paper out of poinsettias? Many plants contain pigments (special colored cells) that are responsive to changes in pH. You can extract the pigment from red poinsettias to make your own pH paper at home to test whether a liquid is an acid or a base. “pH” stands for potential Hydrogen and is a measure of the acid/alkaline balance of a substance. Scientists use this measurement in a variety of fields to monitor health of humans, plants, and animals. pH is also an important measurement for maintaining our water quality.
Poinsettias are native to Mexico and Central America. In the US, they are used as annual decorative plants for the winter holidays, but they can be grown as a perennial in warmer climates. They are available in a variety of colors ranging from white to deep red. The so-called ‘flowers’ are actually special leaves called bracts; the real flowers are tiny and usually yellow. For more information on how to select and care for poinsettias, visit the UF IFAS Extension website at: http://solutionsforyourlife.ifas.ufl.edu/hot_topics/lawn_and_garden/poinsettias.html#varieties. Note: Poinsettias are in the milkweed family, and some people are sensitive to the milky sap that comes out when you break off a leaf. Be sure to wash your hands after handling the leaves, and do not touch your face, eyes, or mouth while making your pH paper.
To make Poinsettia pH paper, you will need:
- poinsettia bracts
- scissors or a blender
- ½ cup boiling water
- 2 cup liquid measuring cup
- coffee filters
- rubber band
- toothpicks or cotton swabs
- vinegar or lemon juice (an acidic solution to test pH)
- baking soda solution (1 tsp. in one cup of water, a base solution to test pH)
- adult supervision
Cut the bracts into strips or ask a parent to chop them in a blender. Place the cut pieces into measuring cup. Add just enough boiling water to cover the plant material. Allow the solution to steep until the color is removed from the plant (this usually takes 10-20 minutes). Cover a cup with a clean coffee filter and secure with a rubber band. Slowly pour the liquid into the cup, then discard the plant matter. Remove the rubber band and filter paper and discard. Dip a clean coffee filter into the filtered poinsettia solution. Allow the filter paper to dry. You can cut the colored paper with scissors to make pH test strips, or leave the filter whole to use a color change paper. Use a toothpick or cotton swab to apply a little liquid to a filter paper. The color range for acids and bases will depend on the particular plant.
Create your own pH scale by researching the known pH of common house-hold liquid such as vinegar, lemon juice, orange juice, soda, etc. Test each liquid to determine the color the pH level produces; or design an experiment to find out what happens if you dilute the vinegar or baking soda. Does it change the pH?
4-H is the youth development program of UF/IFAS Extension and is available in all 67 counties in Florida. Youth involved in 4-H science programs apply science, engineering, and technology skills to their projects, develop science literacy workforce skills, and pursue education and careers related to science resulting in a workforce that will create a viable economy and communities for Florida. According to the Tufts University Study on Positive Youth Development, 4-H youth are more likely to: Report better grades, higher levels of academic competence, and an elevated level of engagement at school; are nearly two times more likely to plan to go to college; are more likely to pursue future courses or a career in science, engineering, or computer technology; and have higher levels of female involvement in science programs. 4-H is open to all youth, ages 5-18, regardless of gender, race, color, ethnicity, nationality, creed, or disability.