STEM+Agriculture and 4-H!

What is “STEAM”?

Science, technology, engineering, agriculture (or art!), and math! It is important that youth have opportunities to engage in these fields, as they instill critical thinking, curiosity, global engagement, and the confidence to change the world for the better.

“In the 21st century, scientific and technological innovations have become increasingly important as we face the benefits and challenges of both globalization and a knowledge-based economy. To succeed in this new information-based and highly technological society, students need to develop their capabilities in STEM to levels much beyond what was considered acceptable in the past.” (National Science Foundation)

Above: STEM jobs are on the rise. Are you ready? (www.ed.gov/stem)

Did you know?

Youth incorporate STEAM topics into their 4-H projects all the time; however, they may not notice it!

Above: 4-H naturally incorporates STEM+Agriculture topics into its programs.

For example, horse projects and records require youth to learn about basic animal SCIENCE and veterinary medicine. They use MATH to tabulate the annual cost of caring for an animal. Managing a horse farm requires extensive knowledge of AGRICULTURAL operations. The learning-by-doing approach encourages ENGINEERING-based innovation.

Even archery projects have a clear STEAM component. Youth must understand general MATH, physics and ENGINEERING principles to hit their target. The different types of bows encourage youth to get excited about new TECHNOLOGY, by learning the features of an improved bows. The application of bow hunting provides a way for youth to learn about wildlife and environmental SCIENCE.Above: All 4-H projects can be STEAM-related!

Here are some ideas on how 4-H club leaders can increase awareness of STEAM topics.

Discuss: Talk about how each activity or project has a STEAM component, within clubs and programs

Connect: Identify opportunities for 4-H members to intern, take field trips, or volunteer with STEAM-related initiatives

Apply: Test out new ideas and innovations in traditional projects. (ie: make your own fit-bit to measure your healthy-living performance! We will be making these at the office on October 4th- National Youth Science Day!)

Inform: Teach others about new ideas and STEAM components in your field

Food for thought

There is a strong connection between motivation, engagement, and achievement. When youth are motivated to do science, engage in science, and gain confidence in themselves, they are much more likely to succeed in similar areas. Read more about this connection here.

Youth in science
Photo credit:bptsa.org