Ask the 4-H Agent: How can I encourage S.T.E.M. activities at home?

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By Kelly Zern, 4-H Youth Development Agent, UGA Extension Coweta County

S.T.E.M. (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) is often referenced in the education and business world.  According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, from 2012-2022 an estimated 9 million jobs will be created in S.T.E.M. related fields. 

This number has prompted educational institutions to promote S.T.E.M. education to equip youth with skills needed for their future careers. These skills, according to the National Inventors Hall of Fame, include media and technology literacy, entrepreneurship, curiosity, communication, flexibility, and acceptance of failure.  Schools are working on preparing our youth, but there are many activities that can be done at home to instill these skills in your children.

In 2008, the National 4-H Council began an initiative called 4-H National Youth Science Day. Land grant universities across the United States worked together to promote S.T.E.M. through fun, accessible activites.  Now called the National 4-H STEM Challenge, 4-H devotes the month of October to promote S.T.E.M. activities to communities across the nation.

This year the October challenge is themed 2020 Mars Base Camp and is available in a toolkit forms for educators and families. The challenge was created by Google and Virginia Cooperative Extension for students ages 8-14. The kits are available for purchase and provide materials and instructions to build a Mars rover, parachute onto a planet’s surface, computer code a story about Mars, and learn about space agriculture on the red planet.  Not interested in purchasing a kit?  The coding activities can be completed at no cost by visiting website https://4-h.org/parents/4-h-stem-challenge/. There you will find detailed instructions and step-by-step video tutorials.

The 2020 Mars Base Camp is just part of the many offerings that National 4-H and Georgia 4-H promote throughout the month of October. To find more resources, activities, and events visit https://4-h.org/ or https://georgia4h.org/blast-off-with-georgia-4-h/.  With so many resources at your fingertips, you can promote S.T.E.M. at home and prepare your children for a bright future!

Georgia 4-H promotes science, technology, and engineering in math through state and local programming. In Coweta County, we provide a wide array of year-long programs and opportunities for youth to learn through S.T.E.M. activities. To find out more about our local programs, check out our website at ugaextension.org/Coweta, or find us on Facebook at Coweta County 4-H UGA Extension.

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Kelly Zern is the Coweta County 4-H Youth Development Agent. Her role includes overseeing all 4-H programming in the county including specialty clubs, S.A.F.E. (Shooting Awareness, Fun and Education) teams, volunteers, schools clubs, and other 4-H programs and events. It is through her leadership and collaborations with community leaders that she can achieve Georgia 4-H’s mission to assist youth in acquiring knowledge, developing life skills, and forming attitudes that will enable them to become self-directing, productive, and contributing members of society.

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