Every year 4-H participants across the country celebrate National 4-H Week by taking part of an array of activities at the local or statewide level. Across Louisiana, 4-H Clubs received activity kits that focus on improving their local communities and increasing their understanding of science by participating in 4-H National Youth Science Day on Oct. 9.
The activities and lessons will focus on the four “H’s” that make up 4-H: head, heart, hands and health. The lessons will call on 4-H’ers to use critical thinking skills, show compassion for the less fortunate, take part in service projects benefiting their local communities and promote healthy lifestyles.
For the sixth consecutive year, 4-H’ers across the country are participating in a National Science Experiment. This year’s experiment will focus on global information systems (GIS). Called 4-H Maps and Apps, youth are charged with designing and mapping the ideal park for their area.
The lesson was designed by Colorado State University Extension and is applicable for rural, suburban and urban communities. Data from the lesson will be sent the United States Geological Survey to contribute to the organization’s database.
Mark Tassin, director of youth programs for the LSU AgCenter, said the science lesson is designed around the science, technology engineering and math (STEM) curriculum that 4-H has incorporated into its program.
“We have made this area a focal point for Louisiana 4-H, including developing a science, engineering and technology board that participates in these types of activities. For young people interested in this field, it can serve as a stepping stone to a career,” Tassin said.
While 4-H has its roots in agriculture and a rural setting, today’s 4-H curriculum is widely diverse with opportunities for all students, including offering week-long summer camps focusing on science.
Marsh Maneuvers takes place on Grand Terre Island, just across Barataria Pass from Grand Isle, La., and at Rockefeller National Wildlife Refuge along the coast in Cameron and Vermilion parishes. Participants from across the state learn about the richness of Louisiana’s coastal zone in terms of natural resources but also how fragile the area is.
LOST (Louisiana Outdoor Science and Technology) camp is another week-long program focusing on science and technology. During their stay, 4-H’ers learn about robotics, rocketry, video production and advanced mapping technology.
“Our programs in this area are designed to increase science knowledge and compliment what students are learning in school,” Tassin said.
According to Tassin, evidence shows that students involved in 4-H have performed better in science than students who do not participate in 4-H.
Tassin said that 4-H has a year-round open enrollment policy, meaning participants can join anytime during the year with no limits on its membership numbers.
Enrollees must be between 9 and 19 years old. 4-H Clubs can be found in every parish of Louisiana. More than 250,000 students in Louisiana participated in 4-H activities last year.
For more information, contact your local parish LSU AgCenter office or visit online.
The LSU AgCenter is one of 11 institutions of higher education in the Louisiana State University System. Headquartered in Baton Rouge, it provides educational services in every parish and conducts research that contributes to the economic development of the state. The LSU AgCenter does not grant degrees nor benefit from tuition increases. The LSU AgCenter plays an integral role in supporting agricultural industries, enhancing the environment, and improving the quality of life through its 4-H youth, family and community programs.