The Importance of STEM in 4-H

According to the Harris Interactive Study conducted in 2011, only 1 in 5 STEM college students feel their K-12 education prepared them for STEM college courses. 63% of high school graduates are not prepared for college-level science courses and 57% are not prepared for college level math (ACT The Condition of College & Career Readiness, 2014). Due to the gap in proper STEM education 40% of U.S. companies report difficulty in filling positions because of a lack of STEM skills (Brookings Institution, Still Searching: Job Vacancies and STEM Skill, 2014).

4-H hands-on learning programs attract youth to STEM.

The 4-H Youth Development program is dedicated to providing STEM programming to youth. STEM programming is available through local clubs, schools, libraries, and grant-funded programs. These hands-on interactive STEM activities encourage more youth to become interested in science at an early age compared to the traditional lecture and textbook method (Purdue University, 2009). Focus areas for science programs include robotics, rocketry, environmental science, agri-science, biotechnology, and veterinary science.

66% of youth participating in STEM programs say their favorite thing are the hands-on activities and projects.

Sumter County 4-H is committed to providing quality STEM programming for the youth of Sumter County. This past year our program offered many traditional and new STEM programs.

  • Seven STEM Programs offered at the local libraries: ECO Bots, Rockets to the Rescue, Motion Commotion, Maps & Apps
  • Five Explore STEM Through 4-H Community Booths
  • Mad Scientist Day Camp
  • Bug and Wildlife Day Camp
  • 27 Youth Participants in the Peach Tree Project
  • 152 Market & Breeding Livestock Projects
  • Florida Friendly Landscaping Club
  • Various Livestock Educational Workshops
  • 87% of 4-H Members completed STEM Related Record Books during the 2016-2017 4-H year.

The 4-H STEM programs reached over 250 youth this past summer and covered everything from biology to physics! The youth conducted a number of STEM experiments that encouraged the development of critical thinking skills, increased science literacy, and enabled the next generation of innovators.

Sumter County 4-H worked with the Sumter County Library System, the Villages Summer Camp program, Kid Central of Wildwood, the UF Entomology Department, the FL Bass Conservation Center, and the Florida Forest Service – Bushnell office.

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