Studies show that science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) programs enrich learning. Youth can learn STEM skills through interactive, experiential learning.
Comments on this page? Curator: Extension Educator Rebecca Meyer
Youth Development Insight blog
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Thinking of science as fun may bring youth to an activity, but they'll like it even more when they get to know more about the scientific process, challenges, and even the failures.
Effective science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education demands balancing fun, interest-building activities and attention to the authentic aptitudes and dispositions that prepare youth for professional careers. All too often we emphasize the fun-factor and minimize the notion that "science is hard." Read more about how the challenge of science makes it fun..
Imagine an after-school program in which second graders learn about chemical change by making pancakes. Or a club in which kids in fourth through sixth grades build a Rube Goldberg machine for a county competition. Or a group of teens re-engineering an underwater robot.
How do you, as the adult guiding the learning experience, facilitate inquiry to best engage them and challenge deeper thinking?
Reports & journal articles
Guiding principles and design strategies for the University of Minnesota Extension's Driven to Discover: Enabling Authentic Inquiry through Citizen Science project demonstrate how education and investigations grounded in real-world citizen science projects can capitalize on REAL environments to generate meaningful STEM learning. 2014.
Science of Agriculture Response: Integrating Science and Engineering Concepts into 4-H Youth Development
This poster presents the science of agriculture response (SOAR) program which will use an experiential learning approach that employs the skills gained from a 4-H project and requires students to demonstrate the acquisition of those concepts via a visual presentation. 2014.
As 4-H Youth Development focuses on developing and delivering high quality STEM learning experiences, the issues related to the preparation of the adults who facilitate learning with youth are important to address. This paper outlines a five-state pilot project funded by the 3M Foundation to test a model for training adult facilitators. (PDF) 2012.
Power of the Wind Pilot Project: A six-state partnership to engage youth with wind energy
Appendices B - I
The process evaluation and related appendices from the Power of the Wind Pilot Project, a six state partnership to engage youth with wind energy. (PDF) 2010.