Throughout the month of October, University of Maine Cooperative Extension will join millions of young people across the nation and in Maine to become scientists for a day during the fifth annual 4-H National Youth Science Day (NYSD).
The annual event seeks to spark an early youth interest in science and future science careers, and to reclaim the nation’s position of leadership in scientific exploration. As part of 4-H NYSD, youth in seven communities will participate in the 4-H Eco-Bot Challenge: the 2012 National Science Experiment in which youngsters explore how robots function and could be used to help clean up hazardous materials spills. The 4-H Eco-Bot Challenge will demonstrate that by utilizing engineering principles, youth can have a positive impact on communities and ecosystems.
Educators and volunteers from across the state have been invited to participate and share the science experience with youth in their communities.
At seven locations in Maine, young people will enhance their engineering skills by assembling their own Eco-Bots and surface controls to manage an environmental cleanup. Youths will test the interaction between the Eco-Bot’s design features and various surface-control configurations to determine the most effective cleanup solution for the simulated spill.
To combat a national shortage of young people pursuing science college majors and occupations, and to enhance the nation’s contribution to the sciences, 4-H National Youth Science Day demonstrates that science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) and are fun and attainable options for college degrees and future careers. Currently, more than five million young people across the nation participate in 4-H STEM programs.
Research has shown that participation in 4-H programs like 4-H NYSD makes a positive difference in the lives of youth. The Institute for Applied Research in Youth Development at Tufts University found in a 4-H study of positive youth development longitudinal study that, when compared to other youth, young people involved in 4-H are twice as likely to get better grades in school and twice as likely to plan to go to college; and are nearly three times more likely to participate in science, engineering, or computer technology programs and make positive contributions to families and communities.
For more information on 4-H NYSD, visit www.4-H.org/NYSD or, to register for a local 4-H youth science day activity in Bath, Perry, Windham, Poland, Searsport, Windsor or Topsham, visit the Extension 4-H youth science day website.