4-H Launches “Summer of Science”
The 4-H Youth Development programs of Columbia and Greene Counties are launching a new initiative this summer. Through a grant from the New York State 4-H Foundation, Cornell Cooperative Extension will be able to offer multi-session hands-on science programs to summer recreation sites in both counties.
Eleven newly trained “4-H teacher consultants” are available to bring hands-on science programs, either Magic Bubbles or Kitchen Science, to community groups. Each program includes a series of lessons (six hours total). Youth organizations can request a program if they meet the following criteria: regular attendance from youth in Grades 3-8, a minimum attendance of 10 youth, and they can pay a materials fee of $60.
“It all began with a partnership with certified teachers and teacher aides,” says grant co-author and 4-H Issue Leader Linda Earley. “We have many more requests for programs than our staff can accommodate. We thought who can help? Then we realized that teachers had free time during the summer.”
The NYS 4-H Foundation Grant covered the cost of training teachers in the fun hands-on style that is the signature of 4-H Youth Development programs. Each set of lessons was developed at a university and was specifically designed to encourage youth to explore and enjoy the scientific process.
“Giving kids enjoyable science experiences is key to our mission mandate,” says grant co-author and Extension Educator Kelly Ann Radzik, “Research shows that if youth see science as an interesting career choice in elementary school, they are much more likely to pursue science majors in college.” This is important, Radzik explains, because the United States lags behind other developed nations in science literacy and college science degrees.
The “Summer of Science” programs are just one way 4-H is addressing this critical need. 4-H educators also present science programs to afterschool, library, and community sites year-round. 4-H educators have developed science lesson kits for different topics like astronomy, flight science, and entomology that groups can rent for a low-cost fee.
4-H Youth Development is the youth program of Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE). Many of these offerings are described in CCE’s Summer Enrichment Guide, available from the Columbia and Greene County offices. For more information about these opportunities or to request a Summer of Science program, contact Extension Educator Beth Horton at 518-828-3346×206 or e-mail email@example.com.