How 4-H projects help with STEM education

Published 12:00 am Thursday, September 28, 2017

I usually give information about upcoming 4-H activities or give out congratulations to our youths who have excelled in the program and won awards, or just generally expound on the virtues of youths participating in 4-H.

I will do some of that here, as well, but I want to give some background on why membership in 4-H is a good thing for your youths and how it can benefit them in other areas.

North Carolina’s education system has adopted a strategic plan to develop science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) skills in students across the state. These STEM skills are in high demand in the workforce. Youths equipped with the knowledge and skills in these areas are more prepared to enter the workforce and succeed professionally than their peers without these skills.

One of the goals mentioned in the state’s STEM education strategy is to leverage outside education resources to supplement in-school learning. This is where 4-H comes into the picture.

One of the state mandates for the 4-H program is to implement programming that assists local education districts with STEM programming that is hands-on, educational and fun. There are a few programs coming up that meet these goals here in Rowan County.

Every year, national 4-H develops a science project that encourages exploration. The 4-H National Youth Science Project always takes place in October. This year, the project will allow youths to work in small groups and design, build and test wearable fitness trackers.

Here in Rowan County, this project will be at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Rowan County Extension Office, 2727 Old Concord Road. This is a free program and open to ages 9-18 in Rowan County. Registration is limited to 30 participants on a first-come basis. To register for 4-H Science Night or for more information, call the Extension Office at 704-216-8970.

STEM programs don’t necessarily look the same, and another program from Rowan County 4-H that meets STEM goals is the 4-H shooting sports program. It may be difficult to connect how shooting and STEM are related, but youths will learn marksmanship skills in which angles, trajectory, velocity and other physics concepts are needed to master the skills of shooting.

If your youth would like to participate in the Rowan County 4-H Shooting Sports program and learn about rifle, pistol, shotgun or archery shooting, plan to attend the enrollment meeting at 6 tonight at the Rowan County Extension Office. The shooting sports program is open to ages 9-18 in Rowan County.

These are just two of the many opportunities in the 4-H program in Rowan County. Youths can choose other paths to achieve STEM success within 4-H, and I’d love to discuss how with you. My door is always open, and I welcome questions and inquiries about anything in the 4-H program. Stop by the office or give me a call and let’s discuss how to get involved in 4-H.