4-H Generates Excitement for Science
A record 3,700 Idaho youth participated in robotics programs coordinated and developed by UI Extension 4-H Youth Development in 2014. Idaho’s 4-H science programs finished the year riding a fine trajectory, thanks to dedicated volunteers, our first summer interns in STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) and our highest ever participation in October’s 4-H National Youth Science Day.
FIRST Robotics Competitions
From 26 counties, hundreds of Idaho youth made, programmed and maneuvered robots through complex challenges in team competitions. For ages 9 to 14, a record 1,100 boys and girls competed in Nature’s Fury FIRST® LEGO League Challenge. For ages 12 to 18, a record number of FIRST® Tech Challenge teams came to UI’s Moscow campus for February’s Idaho FTC® Block Party Championship.
WeDo Robotics for Ages 5 to 9
For even younger children — ages 5 to 9 — UI Extension Robotics, formerly Idaho ROKS, piloted the WeDo Robotics program for 100 students in Magic Valley’s Boys & Girls Club, UI Extension Idaho County and Moscow’s Montrose Academy. WeDo engages children’s creative thinking, teamwork and problem-solving skills as they make and program robots using simple drag-and-drop software. 4-H will expand WeDo in 2015.
Summer Intern Outreach
Also in 2014, four University of Idaho summer interns expanded delivery of STEM programs to youth in Adams, Bannock, Bingham, Bonneville, Twin Falls and Washington counties. Results:
- Youth learned sheep husbandry using “sheep taters” (potatoes)
- A science summer camp at the Central Idaho 4-H Camp near Ketchum was invigorated
- Reading programs illustrating robotics’ simplicity are now in some rural Idaho libraries
- Interest increased for 4-H science programs including rocketry, entomology and embryology.
Rockets to the Rescue
October 2014 saw amateur rocketeers across Idaho launch their homemade rockets to deliver a critical payload of raisins to an island needing supplies. Twelve Rockets to the Rescue events, featuring 357 “rocket scientists” and 48 volunteers, made this year’s 4-H National Youth Science Day a booming success.