Richard Bogren | 10/7/2016 7:35:31 PM
(10/07/16) ALEXANDRIA, La. – 4-H Club members in Rapides Parish got an up-close look at a collection of drones, and they got to build one of their own during 4-H National Youth Science Day. The exercise was part of a lesson called Drone Discovery, and nearly 1 million students nationwide were expected to participate.
For nine years during National 4-H Week, the youth organization has dedicated one day to a lesson emphasizing science, technology, engineering and math or STEM.
Chrystal Bowie, 4-H agent for Rapides Parish, said the activity was a good occasion to teach the students some basic principles related to flight.
“We are doing this to promote STEM education among our youth. I think it’s a great opportunity for them to engage as engineers for the day,” Bowie said.
One of the focal points of the lesson involved the students constructing their own glider, which was called an FPG. The glider consisted of parts made entirely from a single foam plate. After constructing the FPG, the students test flew it and observed how it reacted when certain modifications were made.
Michael Cruz, a 4-H Club member, enjoyed building the glider. “It was fun cutting it out and kind of challenging, and I like things that are challenging,” he said.
Parents helped some of the students with assembling their aircraft and saw the value of both the lesson and the diversity of opportunities 4-H offers.
“He’s so active in 4-H. He was the grand champion in cookery. He’s been to 4-H camp. He’s done several different projects. He loves 4-H, and it’s a good way to keep his mind strong and keep him off electronics,” said Jessica Cruz, Michael’s mother.
4-H’er Kloria Sewell said she likes that 4-H has allowed her to visit many different locations across the state, including 4-H camp in Grant Parish and the State Capitol in Baton Rouge.
“I like that I can go places and I can do things through 4-H. I got to attend LOST Camp and go to the Capitol,” Sewell said.
National Guardsmen showed the students a military drone used primarily for training and observation exercises.
Randy Price, an LSU AgCenter agriculture engineer, demonstrated flying a small drone that is used to observe and gather information related to agricultural crop production.
4-H is the largest youth organization in the country and is administered in Louisiana through the LSU AgCenter and local parish extension offices.
LSU AgCenter engineer Randy Price, left, explains how a drone works during National Science Day activities at the Dewitt Livestock Show Facility near Alexandria on Oct. 5. (Photo by Olivia McClure)
Rapides Parish 4-H’ers, from left, Kloria Sewell, Keira Lopez and Bethany Fletcher, debate where to place a stick-on camera on a foam plane as they complete an activity for National Science Day at the Dewitt Livestock Show Facility near Alexandria on Oct. 5. (Photo by Olivia McClure)
Rapides Parish 4-H’er Michael Cruz, right, cuts a styrofoam plate to make a glider during National Science Day activities at the Dewitt Livestock Show Facility near Alexandria on Oct. 5. (Photo by Olivia McClure)