Members of the Utah State University Extension 4-H youths program recently attended the National 4-H STEM Summit in Washington D.C., where they participated in hands-on science, technology, engineering and mathematics activities and taught workshops for other youths from across the country.
The youths who attended the STEM summit are part of the newly formed Utah 4-H STEM Design Team. The team’s mission is to help develop activities that 4-H teens throughout the state can use to teach other youths about STEM topics.
“STEM is a major part of helping society progress,” said Seth Ivie, a member of the Utah 4-H STEM design team. “I love teaching kids that there is a process you can follow that will help you solve a problem.”
Nathon Taylor and Camie Yuan from Cache County, both members of the Utah 4-H STEM design team, led a workshop about the Cache Makers organization. Cache Makers partners with the USU Extension 4-H program to provide STEM education and a community makerspace in Logan.
The local students taught other 4-H members from across the country how to use Makey Makey equipment and a makerspace to host STEM learning opportunities in their local communities.
“The STEM summit experience helped me better understand how to help and teach others my age,” Taylor said. “I am really looking forward to volunteering with our youths and helping them find their career path as they develop new skills.”
Joseph Huff and Italia Neal from Utah County and Seth Ivie from Salt Lake County led a workshop on innovative and interactive ways to teach electricity and engineering topics to younger children.
“I love teaching to the STEM community because they are so attentive and ready to learn,” said Huff. “I was genuinely impressed by the other youths from around the country.”
In addition to leading workshops, the 4-H members learned about natural history and space travel through hands-on experiences like owl pellet dissection and designing a mission to Mars. They also visited the National Zoo and the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum.
“It has been a true privilege to work with these amazing youth mentors and leaders of our future,” said Jenny Kearl, the Cache Makers program coordinator. “The synergy they create as they work together to help motivate the youths in our community through hands-on STEM activities is truly inspiring.”