Each year, after reviewing submissions from universities around the US, the National 4-H Council chooses a project for the National Youth Science Day (NYSD). This year, the project was to design a wearable health monitor! County 4-H programs can bring the activity to their own area and train volunteers to teach the modules. Well, Clay and Duval County 4-H had a BLAST doing just that! On October 5th, 20 youth and several teen volunteers from Clay and Duval Counties gathered at the Duval Extension Auditorium for an evening of nutrition, fitness, technology, computers, and health-science learning, as the youth made their own wearable health monitors out of wires and an Arduino© computer breadboard.
While the youth and parents partook upon make-your-own sandwiches and salads, Ms. Annie Sheldon, the Clay County Family and Consumer Sciences Agent, gave a brief interactive lecture on healthy living and nutrition. After the plates were cleared, 4-H Incredible Wearable tool kits were passed out. Ms. Anne Elise Creamer, the 4-H Agent in Clay County, used a projector to take youth step-by-step through the construction process, while Ms. Kelsey Haupt, the Duval County 4-H Agent, and several Duval County teen volunteers gave one-on-one instruction to participants.
The youth connected more than 18 different system components using wires and batteries to construct devices that could sense a person’s heart rate, temperature, and number of steps taken! This data could be retrieve on the device’s own wifi network and refreshed each time the user typed in the IP address on their smartphone or tablet!
Once the youth had their devices working, they had to engineer ways to make it “wearable”. It was amazing what the youth were about to create using beads, felt, string, and pipe cleaners! After designing their device, they got to try it out on a fitness course! Each time they went through, youth noticed a change in heart rate and temperature.
If you see youth with felt bands on their wrists, as they are playing outside or running a local 5K, ask them about it! Don’t be surprised if they are able to tell you all about how the sensors work!
Are you interested in volunteering with 4-H? Email Anne Elise Creamer, Clay County 4-H Agent, at firstname.lastname@example.org
Want to join in on our next youth STEM workshop? December 5th and 7th, we are having a “Wacky Water Workshop!” Follow us on Facebook for more information www.facebook.com/ClayCountyExt