Are you ready for the Mars Base Camp Challenge?
The 4‑H STEM Challenge, formerly known as 4‑H National Youth Science Day (4‑H NYSD), is an event that we look forward to every year. In the past, this has been a single day event but now the 4-H STEM Challenge typically starts October 1 and continues throughout the month and beyond. This event is designed to ignite a spark in youth so that they take a stronger interest in science, technology, engineering and math through hands-on learning. For well over a decade, 4-H has developed creative STEM challenges to engage youth in the engineering design process and assist in the development of essential life skills such as critical thinking and problem solving through teamwork.
This year’s 4-H STEM Challenge, Mars Base Camp Challenge, was developed by Google and Virginia Cooperative Extension. The 2020 4-H STEM Challenge is designed for youth to explore the topic of a mission to Mars. The challenge is appropriate for youth ages 8-14.
Mars Base Camp Challenge consists of four activities, each of which relates to at least one of 4-H’s core areas: agriculture, STEM, healthy living and civic engagement. The four activities can be facilitated separately, together or in any combination, making it flexible to incorporate into your schedule. In addition, most of the activities do not need any form of technology, allowing for internet-free programming.
Up For The Challenge!
Feeling a little nervous about facilitating it in your club or classroom? Don’t be! You don’t need prior experience with STEM to bring Mars Base Camp to your 4-H program. All the activities have been designed to make it easy for everyone, including teen leaders to facilitate. Facilitator guides and checklists are available now to assist in the teaching process. And remember, since we use a guided approach, we give our youth direction and allow them to use their inquiry skills to find solutions through the experiential learning experience!
Mars Base Camp Challenge Resources
4-H has made the 2020 STEM Challenge accessible for everyone. If you are unable to participate in the Mars Base Camp Challenge through a club or classroom this year, youth can also participate in the challenge by way of a family kit or online. At this time, the National 4-H website is even offering $5 off each Mars Base Camp kit, thanks to the support of our 2020 national supporter, Toyota! For more information, visit https://4-h.org/parents/4-h-stem-challenge/#!2020-challenge
Online Activity: Youth can participate with INSIGHT FROM MARS, the online portion of the 2020 STEM Challenge.
Educator Kit: Includes materials for 12 youth to participate in the offline activities at the same time. Kits can be used in spaces where physical distancing can be followed.
Family-sized Kit: Includes materials for 1-4 youth to participate in the offline activities at the same time from inside the home.
We hope you enjoy your mission to Mars! To learn more about additional STEM 4-H programs and events, please contact your local UF IFAS County Extension Office, or visit http://florida4h.org.
4-H Day at the North Florida Fair, held on Saturday, November 17, 2019, was another successful day for our local youth. This event connected 4-H members and their families with each other from over ten counties. During this day, 4-H friends and family attended the fair in droves to compete in contests, enjoy fair rides, and sample their favorite fair food items. 4-Hers are recognized at a 4-H Awards Ceremony and then find themselves off to a fun-filled day of thrilling rides, laughter, and friendships in a sea of 4-H green! 4-H member, Gabby Graff, expressed her favorite fair rides this year as “zero gravity, the claw, and ring-of-fire.”
4-H members had the opportunity to compete in five different contests this year: STEM Challenge, Consumer Choice, Agriculture Judging, Horticulture Identification, and Wildlife Ecology. Members put their life skills developed through 4-H to work by displaying critical thinking, teamwork, and problem solving during these contests. 4-H member, Miles Gillespie shared that “preparing for the fair and memorizing information for the contests, I learned about patience and discipline. While at the fair competing, I learned more about patience, plus it was an exercise in keeping my composure under pressure.”
Did you miss this year’s 4-H Day at the North Florida Fair? Catch up on all things 4-H related at the fair below, along with the individual winners for each contest.
Leon County 4-H Members work together to build their structure in the STEM Challenge
Photo by: Allison Leo
The topic of the STEM Challenge Contest this year was building hurricane safe structures. All youth competing in this contest were placed on a team based on their age division. A limited amount of materials were provided which included items such as straws, tape, paper, and popsicle sticks. The structures were awarded points based on their height and ability to withstand hurricane wind speeds generated by a fan. “The STEM Challenge was fun because I was able to work together with friends while I participated in an engaging and challenging activity” 4-H member Miles shared.
1st place – Genevieve Gillespie and Caleb Roberts (Leon)
2nd place – Brook Barrios, Craig Barrios, Eliza Prince (Holmes)
3rd place – Ava Peck, Emily Flowers, Travis Archibald, Hunger Hulbert (Gulf)
1st place – Pedro Teck, Alexis Cooper, Landon Cameron (Holmes)
2nd place – Corbin Roberts, Ander Gillespie, Miles Gillespie (Leon)
3rd place – Lydia Bowman, Cat Proud, Kaylee Dunlap, Alan Bray Crews (Escambia)
1st place – Katherine Ballard, Rashidi Joseph, Robert Burnham (Escambia)
2nd place – Isabella Teck, Seth Smith, Hunter Hoskias (Holmes)
3rd place – Ethan Roberts, Sophia Laver (Leon)
CONSUMER CHOICE CONTEST
Leon County 4-H members receive instruction on the Consumer Choice Contest
Photo by: Allison Leo
The Consumer Choice Contest measured the ability of youth to be smart shoppers. The item categories this year were event venues, tents, jeans, and breakfast cereal. 4-H members had the opportunity to compete in this contest as an individual or on a team. Each individual or team was provided with a “situation card.” Based on the criteria provided in the card, members were asked to review four different choices of each item and rank them from best to worst, based on the criteria. After they were finished ranking, they had to justify their selection through an “oral reasoning” section.
1st place – Tessia Brookins (Jefferson)
2nd place – Chloe Bray-Crews (Escambia)
3rd place – Patrick Parrish (Jefferson)
1st place – Abigail Bray-Crews (Escambia)
2nd place – Taylor Anderson (Escambia)
3rd place – Samantha Hall (Jefferson)
1st place – Izzy Kent & Alyssa Gray (Escambia)
2nd place – Ryan Young (Escambia)
3rd place – Sydney Henderson (Gilchrist)
AGRICULTURE JUDGING CONTEST
4-H members participate in Agriculture Judging
Photo by: Allison Leo
During the Agriculture Judging Contest, individuals and teams were tested on their knowledge of beef, poultry, hay, corn, soybean, and oats. Youth competed both as individuals and on teams with their age division. Agriculture judging consists of analyzing a product (i.e. cattle, soybeans) and measuring it against a standard. Members were asked to analyze four different choices of each item and rank them from best to worst based on the standards.
1st place – Emalee Souders
2nd place – Hunt Williams
3rd place – Dullus Deadwyler
1st place – Peyton Ditter
2nd place – Liz Newman & Dylan Gunn
3rd place – Caylee Crooks
1st place – Kayla Daimler
2nd place – Adli June Elliot
3rd place – Stephanie Hasty
HORTICULTURE IDENTIFICATION CONTEST
4-H Members, Ethan Roberts and Sophia Laver record their answers during Horticulture Identification
Photo by: Allison Leo
Members were provided with over 60 horticulture specimens to identify. The specimens were divided into four separate categories. Those categories were ornamentals, fruits & vegetables, flowers, and foliage. The specimens were laid out on tables, each bearing a number that corresponded to a scoresheet that listed over 100 plant names. This contest replicates the state contest held each year in June.
1st place: Ethan Thornbury (Leon)
2nd place: Genevieve Gillespie (Leon)
3rd place: Chloe Bray-crews (Escambia)
1st place: Miles Gillespie (Leon)
2nd place: Taylor Anderson (Escambia)
3rd place: Alexis Green (Wakulla)
1st place: Isaac Brooks (Washington)
2nd place: Katie Ballard (Escambia)
3rd place: Sophia Laver (Leon)
WILDLIFE ECOLOGY CONTEST
4-H Member Gabby Graff competes in the Wildlife Ecology Contest
Photo by: Allison Leo
During the Wildlife Ecology Contest, members were tested on their knowledge of Florida trees, mammals, birds, reptiles, and amphibians. They identified the various items through pictures, physical specimens, and audio sounds. 4-H Member, Sophia Laver, shared that the Wildlife Life Contest is her favorite because “being able to look at a leaf and identify it immediately is the coolest thing. I love the challenge of it and being able to say that I can do these amazing things that no one else is really taught. All the competitors are really supportive of each other.”
1st place: Gabby Graff (Leon)
2nd place: Genevieve Gillespie (Leon)
3rd place: Felix Konikoff (Leon)
1st place: Ander Gillespie & Miles Gillespie (Leon)
2nd place: Adeline Smith (Leon)
3rd place: Sasha Konikoff (Leon)
1st place: Sophia Laver (Leon)
2nd place: Katie Ballard (Escambia)
3rd place: Alyssa Gray (Escambia)
If you would like to learn more about 4-H activities and events like these educational competitions found at the North Florida Fair during 4-H Day at the Fair each year or how to become a 4-H member in your community, please contact your local UF IFAS County Extension Office, or visit http://florida4h.org for more information.
Youth had only 2 hours to design a bridge that would support a semi load of vegetables.
When you hear the word agriculture, it probably evokes words like “farming, livestock or dirt” and maybe even the smell of manure. For people who work in the agriculture industry, it reminds them of words like “hard work, long days, sweat” and the smell of money. But did you know that science and technology- especially engineering- play an ever increasing role in supplying our nation (and world) with a safe and affordable food supply?
Thanks to generous support from HughesNet, 4-Hers across Florida have been learning just how much the agriculture industry needs technology. This week, 4-Hers from Jackson, Liberty, Gadsden and Leon counties participated in an engineering day camp. Each day, they learned how civil engineers design the infrastructure needed for farmers to get their food from the farm to tables across the state and nation. The program concluded with an engineering challenge at the North Florida Fairgrounds in Tallahassee.
Youth were judged on their innovation, creativity and teamwork- all essential skills for engineers who solve today’s problems!
Youth had two hours to design, build and test a bridge that would hold a large semi-truck of produce. The results were inspiring! Teams were judged on their creative use of materials, innovative design, teamwork and communication skills. They also completed a skill-a-thon to showcase their knowledge of bridge design. This challenge was practice for the contest that will be held in November during 4-H Day at the North Florida Fair. To find out more information about other 4-H programs like this, contact your local UF IFAS County Extension Office or visit http://florida4h.org.
North Florida Fair STEM Contest info
4-H Science and Technology Projects
HughesNet and Florida 4-H have teamed up to help youth learn how to use science and technology to solve problems!
Most people think of camp as a break from the fast-paced technological world, but that’s not always the case. With a $10,000 grant from HughesNet, Florida 4-H is introducing technology in a meaningful way across our state this summer! As a result of the sponsorship, 340 youth will learn about the engineering design process, and how to use technology and engineering to solve real world issues such as energy, water and conservation.
“We are grateful for the partnership with a technology leader like HughesNet to get more kids interested in how STEM affects our lives and offers great career paths,” said Michael Gutter, UF/IFAS associate dean for Extension and state program leader for 4-H youth development, families and communities. “Camp is a fun way to learn about STEM and a great way for youth to spend part of their summer.”
During one camp, youth learned how civil engineers design safe bridges to transport people, food and medical supplies. STEM in action!
STEM at Camp is part of a national effort by HughesNet and National 4-H Council to spark youth interest in STEM topics. Florida was one of four states selected to receive a Summer Camp STEM grant. The other states include Illinois, Maine and Virginia. This is the third consecutive year that HughesNet has supported STEM at Camp programs and the first year that Florida has been a recipient of this funding.
Next week, Florida Panhandle youth have two camps to choose from: Bots by the Bay at 4-H Camp Timpoochee and Wildlife Camp in Monticello, Florida. During Bots by the Bay camp, youth will learn how to program 3-dimensional printers to print, build and test robots and cars. During Wildlife Camp, youth will learn how technology is used to protect natural resources and grow our agricultural industry. Our goal is to spark an interest in using technology to solve real world problems that affect our food safety and supply, as well as our overall quality of life.
National 4-H Council and HughesNet are dedicated to sparking youth interest in STEM topics through hands-on, community-based STEM learning. In addition to STEM at Camp, HughesNet works with National 4-H Council to support STEM programs such as the 4-H Youth In Action STEM Pillar award, National Engineering Week and National Youth Science Day – the world’s largest youth-led STEM challenge. This year’s experiment, Incredible Wearables, helps youth explore the world of wearable technology as the design, built and test a fitness monitor. If you have a passion for technology, or simply like to help kids learn, consider becoming a 4-H volunteer. For more information about 4-H, visit our website or contact your local UF IFAS County Extension Office.
Kyle working the air traffic control booth at the National Flight Academy. Photo Credit: Prudence Caskey
4-H has joined forces with the National Flight academy to bring a unique and exciting aviation camp to our 4-Hers. The National Flight Academy builds heart-pumping, adrenaline-filled story line, which brings life to a mission as if the students are in a real-world scenario. Students apply these skills by flying the high-performance X-12 Triad, the National Flight Academy’s experimental aircraft, offering them hands-on comprehension of the principles of flight thrust, hovering and target drops. Our 3-day cruise will be held on President’s Day Weekend, February 18th – February 20th 2017. The event is open to 4-Hers across the Southeast and costs $375 per student which includes rooming, food, and a lot of fun and learning! This would be an awesome holiday or birthday gift for any special youth in your life.
Participation in the event can also help young people develop both life and workforce skills- not to mention academic achievement. Kyle Caskey, a Santa Rosa County 4-Her, attended a week-long cruise last summer and shared:
“Before I went to the National Flight Academy (NFA), I was really intimidated by math. I love science, but just didn’t get the math. At NFA, I was able to use math and see why it works. I brought my grade up to an A! Oh yeah, the food is really good too!”
Click Here for registration instructions: 4hregistrationletter-for-nfa. You must be registered before January 28th, 2017.
The National Flight Academy is located on the NAS base at 1 Fetterman Way, NAS Pensacola, FL 32508. See more about the academy at http://www.nationalflightacademy.com.
If you have an interest in science, engineering, math, and/or technology (STEM), consider becoming a 4-H volunteer so that you can share your passion to spark the next generation of scientists, engineers and innovators. Contact your local UF IFAS County Extension Office or visit http://florida4h.org for more information.
A scribble bot was built by a team of Gadsden County 4-Hers during the “It’s Alive! Junk Drawer Robotics Day Camp.”
More than 60 youth participated in the district Junk Drawer Robotics Challenge this summer.
Everyone has a measure of creativity in them but how we express our creativity is our choice. What is creativity? I am glad you asked. Creativity is defined as the ability to make new things or think of new ideas. Creativity can be expressed in a tangible or intangible way. It is also the ability to take something known and present it or use it in a new way. So how does Florida 4-H grow creativity in our youth? Well, you know I am glad you asked that too. One way is that Florida 4-H provides opportunities for youth to express their creativity through their project work in one of the national 4-H initiatives: 4-H Science, Healthy Living, Citizenship, and Mentoring.
One of the ways that Florida 4-H is growing creativity is through our Junk Drawer Robotics Program. The 4-H Robotics Program is designed not only to teach youth about science and physics, but also the engineering design process. Every good engineer is creative! Several counties offered a day camp this summer to teach youth about forms of energy, gears, motors, switches, circuits, and pulleys. Then, they were given everyday “junk” to build a robot and make it move or complete a task using the science concepts they had learned. Youth worked in teams and used their creativity and curiosity to design, build, and test their robotics. Youth came together for a district challenge in July and will also have the opportunity to compete November 14th during 4-H Day at the North Florida Fair at the Junk Drawer Robotics Contest. Last year, more than 20 teams competed to build robots that could paint out of scrub brushes, solo cups, and toothbrushes.
Florida 4-H is sending a team of youth and volunteers to the National Maker Summit in Washington, DC November 7th. The Maker National Youth Summit is for the creative and curious young minds of the next generation of innovators. Participants make what they can with a variety of materials from a range of fields, utilizing their resourcefulness and creativity. That same weekend, a 4-H Tech Wizards Team will be hosting a SeaPerch Challenge during the 4-H Marine Ecology Event. SeaPerch is an underwater remote controlled robotic platform that Florida 4-Hers can participate in. Engaging in Florida 4-H from the county to state levels opens an array of opportunities for creative expression via leadership roles, volunteer service, public speaking, teaching, photography, talent showcase, culinary arts, and many other areas. Learn more about opportunities for youth on our webpage or watch this month’s Make a Difference Monday volunteer training on how to Navigate 4-H Events and Activities.
There are many opportunities with Florida 4-H for creativity expression but did you know many youth will not have the chance. Why, you ask? I am definitely glad you did. We need more adults who will be committed to the positive youth development process that happens with 4-H to become a club volunteer. Working with the local 4-H Agent as part of the leadership team, you will find many avenues as well for creativity expression and growth as you help local youth; “Make their Best Better.” Learn more about our volunteer opportunities with Florida 4-H: http://florida4h.org/volunteers_/ or contact your local UF IFAS Extension Office.
Counselors practices leadership skills by leading teambuilding activities at robotics day camps