If you’ve heard talk about getting more Science, Engineering, and Technology (SET) into 4-H clubs but have no idea how to get started in your area – well here’s one way to make it Happen!
Iowa is loaded with high tech industries: bioengineering, renewable energy, manufacturers of high tech equipment, providers of telecommunications services, medical services, academic research labs, the list goes on and on. Partnering with one of these organizations is a great way to get more SET into your club or start a special interest 4-H club focused on SET.
Here’s an example. One of the Ames Laboratory of Story Co.’s former employees was eager to share his passion for engineering with young people. The Ames Lab was eager to support a 4-H club if it would encourage youth to develop a passion for science and engineering. The situation was ripe for a partnership!
Story Co. 4-H worked with Marcus, the scientist volunteer, to develop a budget for tools and supplies as well as a stipend for the helpers and a budget for a club banner and marketing materials to advertise the club. Marcus decided to develop his own curriculum based on his interests, however, he could have used any of the 4-H curricula available through E-SET and National 4-H. Ames Labs agreed to fund the club, which was named: The Ames Laboratory Tinkering with Science 4-H Club.
The club was a smashing success. We advertised it widely in the community and took registration, signing all the participants up as 4-H members. – Check out this picture of the club members showcasing their engineering feat at the State Fair.
There are a lot of innovative aspects to this club, but what made it work was the partnership between 4-H and Ames Laboratory. Such organizations can not only provide the funding for a SET club, but can also help identify an employee to volunteer for the club, and incentives for this employee such as time off work or a stipend.
Find out more about the innovative structure of the Tinkering with Science 4-H Club by checking out its description on the Innovative Club Models webpage. You can also read descriptions of other innovative clubs and download a template for posting descriptions of your own innovative clubs.
We would love to hear what you think of this post! Please comment on our blog post!
Marcus Johnson, PHD – Lead volunteer for Tinkering with Science 4-H Club
Holly Bignall, Campus 4-H youth program specialist, E-SET coordinator