4-H Youth “Give STEM a Chance” at Cornell
November 22, 2013
The 4-H Finger Lakes District and Cornell’s New York State 4-H Youth Development Office sponsored its first 4-H Science Sampler Day on Saturday, November 9, 2013 on Cornell campus. Sixty-eight 4-H members in grades 6 – 8 from across New York State enjoyed an opportunity to sample STEM-related workshops taught by graduate and undergraduate students and outreach educators. STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, & Math) topics included Natural Enemies, Reptile Behavior, Geocaching, Stream Ecology, Tsunamis in Asia, Spiders, Polymer Creation, Cornstarch Monsters, Primitive Plants, and LN2 Ice Cream.
The program, offered as an experiential opportunity to introduce 4-H youth to STEM topics, also served as a both a college-campus experience and a way to introduce youth to the exciting annual 4-H Career Explorations Conference for 8th – 12th graders that is held on campus each summer (the 2014 conference will be held July 1-3).
Participating youth were able to experience geocaching with a GPS unit, make ice cream with liquid nitrogen, get up close and friendly with snakes, engage in a biomedical engineering case study of the common diaper, and manipulate their own polymer creation, just to name a few of STEM activities that engaged youth in learning by doing.
In addition to having fun, participants reported: learning new things about science and careers in science, gaining an increased interest in going to college, wanting to revisit Cornell, and intending to work harder in school science classes. They also expressed that the combination of 4-H and Cornell provided them a unique opportunity for both learning science content and learning about careers.