COLUMBIA, Mo. – 4-H members across the nation will explore aerospace engineering by responding to a fictional disaster during the seventh annual 4-H National Youth Science Day on Oct. 8. Youth are challenged to design and build a rocket to deliver food to a natural disaster site.
University of Missouri Extension 4-H specialist Shannon White said participants will design and build rockets using engineering concepts and math skills.
“The challenge youth are given for the 4-H National Youth Science Day experiment brings about awareness of how science, technology, engineering and mathematics, or STEM, disciplines assist in global problem solving.” They’ll also learn about food insecurity and helping others during a disaster as part of the program.
University of Arizona Cooperative Extension developed the 2014 Youth Science Day experiment, Rockets to the Rescue. White says the day spotlights the many ways millions of youth are engaging in 4-H science programs, which provide interactive learning experiences that get youth excited about STEM.
In Rockets to the Rescue, a natural disaster has left people on a remote island without food. Youth are asked to build a rocket that can be launched from the mainland, travel over water and deliver high-energy food to island inhabitants, White said.
Members use recyclable 2-liter bottles, cotton balls, pipe cleaners, rubber bands and a protractor to build the rocket.
White said STEM projects such as this support a study by Richard Lerner at the Institute for Applied Research in Youth Development at Tufts University. That study shows that young people involved in 4-H fare better academically and are more likely to go to college than peers who aren’t in 4-H. They are two times more likely to participate in STEM learning programs.
For more information about 4-H National Youth Science Day, visit http://www.4-H.org/NYSD. For more information about Missouri 4-H, go to http://4h.missouri.edu.