National 4-H Week

In preparation for National 4-H Week, 4-H National Headquarters is releasing two new promotional videos featuring Dr. Peggy Whitson, 4-H Alum from Iowa and Commander/Astronaut. Commander Whitson will be headed to the International Space Station later this fall for an approximate six month stay. In the first video she talks specifically about her experiences in 4-H while in the second she highlights the importance of STEM education to both 4-H and NASA.

Video 1: https://youtu.be/V32_SS8OvTY (Leading for a Lifetime)

Video 2: https://youtu.be/evwXoY8jikI (Inspiring the Next Generation)

The videos are available to download here: https://archive.org/details/4-H_and_NASA

We hope you find these videos useful in your promotion of 4-H. Many thanks to NASA-Johnson Space Center (producer) and National 4-H Council (contributor) for their collaboration in the development of these videos. Any questions about these video can be directed to Amy McCune (project manager for partnership with JSC). Stay tuned for more exciting releases and opportunities from the partnership between 4-H National Headquarters and NASA coming late fall and throughout the winter.

The 4-H National Youth Science Day (NYSD) is a time when youth, clubs, and classrooms across the United States partake in a day of science. This is an exciting, interactive learning experience that engages thousands of youth across the country in conducting the 4-H National Science Experiment. I’m really excited about this year’s activity which was developed by Cornell University and centers on drone technology. Drone Discovery will put 4-H on the forefront of curriculum and hands-on activities around this subject area.

National 4-H has developed three wonderful videos that step you through each part of the experiment. The Facilitator’s Guide also does a much better job this year of helping you tailor the activity to your time needs (see page 4 of the Facilitator’s Guide). If you are presenting NYSD in your county, I highly recommend reading it cover-to-cover.

Below are some links to resources and some personal tips:

The 3 videos and other great resources from National 4-H can be found here:

Make sure to also check out the Pre-Event Checklist (also attached to this email). One important thing that isn’t mentioned in the checklist, is to bring copies of the foam drone template for youth to trace onto the Styrofoam plates. This template can be found on page 25 of the Facilitator’s Guide. The final attachment is an optional, sample youth evaluation I created for your events.

Due to the dexterity needed to trace and cut out the plate gliders, I would recommend this experiment for youth 4th grade and up. For younger audiences, I would limit the activity to the prop copters or have the plates pre-cut.

Part One – Take Off Tips:
  • If you want to handout additional prop copters for youth to keep, inexpensive ones can be found here…
  • The 4-H video does a good job of showing you how to build the FPG-9, but if you need more details, the video below is much better and provides some background science on why/how it works, how to change its flight path, and teaching tips.
  • The template should wrap onto the curved portion of the Styrofoam plate. These curves on the wing help with its flight. However, the tail should be cut from the flat part of the plate (more details given on page 10 of the Facilitator’s Guide).
  • The tape for the tail is important to its flight. Otherwise, the tail wiggles making it difficult to fly
  • If you don’t have a roll of pennies, a Jumbo paperclip can be used.
  • The loop is sometimes hard to do. Youth can also get a long flight path if they let the glider go with just a tiny push. It also works well if dropped from a higher elevation (playground structure, steps, etc.).
  • I highly recommend buying extra Styrofoam plates to allow each child to make their own foam glider to keep. Any brand will work as long as its Styrofoam and its big enough for the template (9 inches).
Part Two – Foam Drone Tips:
  • Instructions on how to use the video recorder are included in Instructional Video “Part 2 – Foam Drone” and detailed instructions are given on page 26 of the Facilitator’s Guide. If you need more information, another how-to video on the keychain camera can be found here:
  • Windows Media Player is recommended for running the videos
  • Test out your camera beforehand and charge it before your events (I charged mine using my computer USB port).
  • Use a large target to fly the plane over for the video (I’m making a poster board with a 4-H Clover on it). It’s difficult to capture small objects in the camera.
  • If flying your foam drone over a rough or hard surface like concrete, have the youth affix the camera to the top of the foam plane. Otherwise, the camera could break after multiple hits.
  • You don’t need much space to fly the foam plane (15-20 feet). A large indoor room will work if you are unable to go outside.
Part Three – Code Copters Tips:
  • I plan to do this as a follow-up activity with my Middle School groups later in October/November.
  • The guides provide both an internet version and an In Real Life (IRL) activity that is more of a coding game similar to Simon Says. The IRL activity does not need a computer.
  • A direct link to the 4-H Drone Discovery MIT Scratch site is provided on the resource page:
  • Video 3 in the resources has very detailed directions on doing the Scratch coding activity. The youth and facilitator’s guides are also very helpful.
Additional Resources:

Parent & Child science classes offered by the WVU Forensics Department

These classes are designed to provide parents and children with the opportunity to interact in an academic environment, build and strengthen relationships through mutual interests and scientific inquiry, and to learn what actually goes on behind the yellow crime scene tape and in the forensic laboratory. Each class is two-three hours held one Saturday each month beginning in September and concluding in May. Parent and child can attend one or all (i.e. repeat attendance is not required). Therefore, even if your county is very far from Morgantown, you may have families very interested in making the trip for one or more of these classes. All class topics, dates, times, and locations can be found in the table of the attached document.

WVU Crime Scene Complex, 383 Oakland Street, Morgantown, WV 26506 or Oglebay Hall, 1800 University Avenue, Morgantown, WV 26506.

Classes will be held one Saturday each month beginning in September and concluding in May. See the table below for a complete list of classes, dates, times, and locations.

10:00 AM to 12:00 PM. Forensic DNA and You Crack the Case will last an additional hour.
Cost: Each class will cost $20.00 per participant to cover laboratory supplies, reproducible materials and instructional assistants. If you register for the first 8 classes the last class will be free.

Information: For further information or questions about this program, please see the attached document or contact Chris Bily

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Science, Technology, Engineering & Math (STEM)

The WVU Extension Service 4-H Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Program endeavors to create programming that fosters an appreciation for science, engineering, and technology in West Virginia youth and equip them with the skills they need to compete in the 21st century.

This is promoted through community STEM events, University service projects, volunteer leader training, teaching activities and a variety of STEM curriculum.

Statewide experiential learning in STEM includes a broad array of disciplines including forensics, chemistry, astronomy, robotics, mechanical and electrical engineering, water quality, and agriculture.

WVU Extension Service’s 4-H program reaches 1 in 4 state youth each year in a variety of event settings including summer camping programs, club meetings, in school and after school activities. This allows WVU to bring hands-on science experiences to children in rural communities and to a statewide youth audience of more than 77,000 children.

Some of the programs supported through the WVU 4-H STEM Program include:

  • 4-H First Lego League Robotics competitions,
  • the 4-H National Youth Science Day experiment,
  • the West Virginia State Science Bowl,
  • the STEM Ambassador program,
  • and the annual summer science camp experiment.

For more information on STEM programming, contact Jen Robertson-Honecker, WVU Extension Service STEM specialist.