This year, youth all over the country and some globally, will build an aerodynamic craft designed to deliver a payload of food to natural disaster victims. The activity, called “Rockets to the Rescue,” was designed by University of Arizona Cooperative Extension and selected as the winning experiment for the seventh annual 4-H National Youth Science Day (4-H NYSD). The national rallying event for 4-H Science, 4-H NYSD is an interactive learning experience that gets youth excited about science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), and spotlights the many ways millions of youth are engaging in 4-H Science programs year-round.
For the “Rockets to the Rescue” experiment, youth will respond to a fictional scenario: A natural disaster has left people without food on a remote, isolated Pacific island and the kids have been asked by NASA to build a rocket that can be launched from mainland, travel over the ocean, and deliver high-energy food to the starving population. The experiment combines two key 4-H issue areas – science and food security – and incorporates aerospace engineering concepts to help youth design a rocket out of everyday materials, including recyclable two-liter bottles, cotton balls, pipe cleaners, rubber bands, and a protractor.
Youth will conduct the experiment at hundreds of local events taking place in all 50 states. National 4-H Council will host the largest event, with hundreds of youth participating in the experiment on October 8 in Washington, D.C. The national sponsors of 2014 4-H NYSD are Lockheed Martin, Hughes (HughesNet satellite Internet), and John Deere. Other partners include Dow AgroSciences, NASA, NBC Learn, and Afterschool Alliance.
“With over 70 percent of all jobs in the new economy being STEM-related, it’s no secret that STEM exposure and education is more important now than ever. 4-H is addressing this critical need by creating an early youth interest in science with the help of programs such as 4-H National Youth Science Day,” said Jennifer Sirangelo, president and CEO, National 4-H Council. “We are very thankful to our national sponsors Lockheed Martin, Hughes and John Deere for their support in bringing this experience to young people across the country.”
A recent longitudinal study conducted by Tufts University, The Positive Development of Youth: Comprehensive Findings from the 4-H Study of Positive Youth Development, revealed 4-H programming does indeed get young people more connected to science. According to the study, 4-Hers are two times more likely to participate in science, engineering, and computer technology programs during out-of-school time (Grades 10-12) and 4-H girls are two times more likely (Grade 10) and nearly three times more likely (Grade 12) to take part in science programs compared to girls in other out-of-school time activities.
Since 2008, more than 5 million youth have completed 4-H NYSD experiments in robotics, agricultural science, rocketry, wind power, environmental science and alternative energy. To learn more about 4-H NYSD, visit www.4-h.org/nysd. Science kits for the 2014 National Science Experiment will be available for pre-order starting May 14.
4-H is a community of seven million young people around the world learning leadership, citizenship, and life skills. National 4-H Council is the private sector, non-profit partner of the Cooperative Extension System and 4-H National Headquarters located at the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) within the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). In the United States, 4-H programs are implemented by the 109 land-grant universities and Cooperative Extension through more than 3,000 local offices serving every county and parish in the country. Outside the United States, 4-H programs operate through independent, country-led organizations in more than 50 countries.