4-H Grows Creativity through Robotics Programs
Everyone has a measure of creativity in them but how we express our creativity is our choice. What is creativity? I am glad you asked. Creativity is defined as the ability to make new things or think of new ideas. Creativity can be expressed in a tangible or intangible way. It is also the ability to take something known and present it or use it in a new way. So how does Florida 4-H grow creativity in our youth? Well, you know I am glad you asked that too. One way is that Florida 4-H provides opportunities for youth to express their creativity through their project work in one of the national 4-H initiatives: 4-H Science, Healthy Living, Citizenship, and Mentoring.
One of the ways that Florida 4-H is growing creativity is through our Junk Drawer Robotics Program. The 4-H Robotics Program is designed not only to teach youth about science and physics, but also the engineering design process. Every good engineer is creative! Several counties offered a day camp this summer to teach youth about forms of energy, gears, motors, switches, circuits, and pulleys. Then, they were given everyday “junk” to build a robot and make it move or complete a task using the science concepts they had learned. Youth worked in teams and used their creativity and curiosity to design, build, and test their robotics. Youth came together for a district challenge in July and will also have the opportunity to compete November 14th during 4-H Day at the North Florida Fair at the Junk Drawer Robotics Contest. Last year, more than 20 teams competed to build robots that could paint out of scrub brushes, solo cups, and toothbrushes.
Florida 4-H is sending a team of youth and volunteers to the National Maker Summit in Washington, DC November 7th. The Maker National Youth Summit is for the creative and curious young minds of the next generation of innovators. Participants make what they can with a variety of materials from a range of fields, utilizing their resourcefulness and creativity. That same weekend, a 4-H Tech Wizards Team will be hosting a SeaPerch Challenge during the 4-H Marine Ecology Event. SeaPerch is an underwater remote controlled robotic platform that Florida 4-Hers can participate in. Engaging in Florida 4-H from the county to state levels opens an array of opportunities for creative expression via leadership roles, volunteer service, public speaking, teaching, photography, talent showcase, culinary arts, and many other areas. Learn more about opportunities for youth on our webpage or watch this month’s Make a Difference Monday volunteer training on how to Navigate 4-H Events and Activities.
There are many opportunities with Florida 4-H for creativity expression but did you know many youth will not have the chance. Why, you ask? I am definitely glad you did. We need more adults who will be committed to the positive youth development process that happens with 4-H to become a club volunteer. Working with the local 4-H Agent as part of the leadership team, you will find many avenues as well for creativity expression and growth as you help local youth; “Make their Best Better.” Learn more about our volunteer opportunities with Florida 4-H: http://florida4h.org/volunteers_/ or contact your local UF IFAS Extension Office.