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Engineering and Agriculture = Fun, Learning and Teambuilding

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

Technology at Camp = Problem Solvers

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.

Soar with 4-H and the National Flight Academy

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.

 

4-H Grows Creativity through Robotics Programs

bot

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.

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 EventSeaPerch 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

Counselors practices leadership skills by leading teambuilding activities at robotics day camps

4-H Grows Curiosity

Today is 4-H National Youth Science Day (NYSD) – a day dedicated to engaging kids with science through a hands-on science experiment. This year’s experiment – Motion Commotion – will be conducted by thousands of kids across the nation as they will learn about physics, speed and safety.

4-H has been fostering curiosity about science in youth since the very beginning. Today we are still dedicated to providing the hands-on experience in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) to give kids the life skills they need to succeed today and the career readiness to succeed tomorrow. Programs like 4-H NYSD offer youth an opportunity to learn about science in a fun, dynamic way and spark their interest in all areas of STEM; from animal science to aerospace.

Motion Commotion is a two-part experiment that investigates the physical and human factors of motion using toy cars to simulate a speeding car collision and distracted driving. During the experiment, youth will:

  1. Construct a simulated runway to analyze the speed, momentum and kinetic energy of a car in motion, and explore the science behind the car’s collisions
  2. Lead an experiment that uses the same physics principles to demonstrate the consequences of distracted driving
  3. Apply what they have learned about physics and safety to create community awareness about issues like distracted driving, seatbelt safety and helmet safety.

The 4-H NYSD Experiment Kit contains everything you need to successfully complete the Motion Commotion National Science Experiment. The Motion Commotion science experiment kit can be purchased from the 4-H Mall, or contact your local UF IFAS Extension Office to see if a kit is available to check out for your club or classroom.

You can help 4-H grow curiosity in your community or school by becoming a 4-H volunteer. 4-H offers a wide range of opportunities for volunteers to share their science-related interests and passions. Together, we can grow the next generation of science literate workers, voters, and community activities! Visit http://florida4h.org/volunteers for more info.

Other places to get information:

3rd Annual 4-H Day at LEGOLAND

4-H Day at LEGOLAND is Saturday, September 26th.  Be sure to wear your 4-H shirt and share photos #4heverywhere

4-H Day at LEGOLAND is Saturday, September 26th. Be sure to wear your 4-H shirt and share photos #4heverywhere

The 3nd Annual 4-H Day at LEGOLAND on Saturday, September 26th. This event is an opportunity for 4-H members and their families to explore the LEGOLAND theme park at a deep discount, while raising funds for 4-H clubs, camps, and other educational programs.  LEGOLAND is a great way to have fun with the entire family and learn about science, engineering, and technology.  The Florida Department of Ag’s greenhouse is a must-see attraction.  You can learn all about Florida agriculture and how we are feeding the nation and world.  Just don’t eat the produce- it’s all made from LEGOs!  You can also sign up for a robotics class while you are there to learn how engineers design, build, program, and test

robots.

The Florida Department of Agriculture Greenhouse is a must-see attraction at LEGOLAND.

The Florida Department of Agriculture Greenhouse is a must-see attraction at LEGOLAND.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Tickets are $30.00/person ($5.00 per ticket benefits the Florida 4-H Foundation)

  • Any family that has participated in 4-H is eligible for the discount (this includes 4-H clubs, camps, day camps, school, afterschool, and military 4-H programs)
  • Youth under the age of 3 are admitted for free
  • Tickets are only good for Saturday, September 26th, 2015
  • Tickets must be ordered online at least 24 hours before the event
  • Use this secure link to order 4-H discount tickets- https://goo.gl/JddkeW
  • You do not have to bring your 4-H Membership Card, just bring the tickets you print at home generated by the link above
  • If you have a 4-H t-shirt, please wear it! We would like to see a “sea of green” at LEGOLAND that day. You can order a 4-H t-shirt at: http://florida4h.org/4-h-days/
  • You are responsible for your transportation to and from the park, and for making any reservations for overnight accommodations.  Many of the hotels in the area offer free shuttle services to and from the park, so ask your hotel concierge.  The onsite LEGOLAND Hotel recently opened and is offering some great deals.
  • If you are driving to the park, parking costs $14.00, but you can save $2.00 if you order your parking pass online http://florida.legoland.com/.
  • For information about park attractions, show schedules, food, height restrictions, or accommodations for persons with disabilities visit  http://florida.legoland.com/.
  • Please share photos of your LEGOLAND experience on social media using #4Heverywhere