MPBN Reports on Evolution of Maine’s 4-H Clubs

The Maine Public Broadcasting Network reported the University of Maine Cooperative Extension’s 4-H program is evolving to prepare students for the world’s changing technology. While traditional farming activities are still a major focus, 4-H is expanding to teach children more about science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), according to the report. Greg Kranich, a physics graduate student at UMaine and one of several 4-H STEM ambassadors who create science and math projects for the 4-H club children, spoke with MPBN about the program. He said in a regular class, students often feel pressured to come up with the right answer quickly, which can harm confidence. Kranich’s 4-H lesson, “Rockets to the Rescue,” is designed to show that science thrives on experimentation and the free exchange of ideas. Laura Wilson, a 4-H science professional with UMaine Extension, said although the program is growing, it isn’t losing it’s tradition. “What our 4-H mission is, is actually positive youth development,” she said. “Those traditions in agriculture, those traditions in those animal science programs, they were always for youth to develop life skills so that they could become productive members of society. Happy, healthy adults.”