Ongoing 4-H STEM Programs
4-H Water Wizards (Sacramento)
4-H Water Wizards is a 12-week science education project that teaches youth about water and its importance to the planet. Youth participate in hands-on learning experiences that encourage inquiry, teach basic information about water, and develop awareness about this important and limited resource. Youth also participate in a service learning activity to take action on a water issue in their community.
On the Wild Side (Sacramento)
The three day environmental education camp brings 4th-6th grade youth to an outdoor living experience to grow in their knowledge and understanding of the natural world, expand their appreciation for conservation and environmental stewardship, and develop an enthusiasm for nature and outdoor experiences.
Youth Experiences in Science (Sacramento)
The 4-H YES curriculum is designed to foster inquiry and engage children ages 5 to 8 in the process of exploration. Young children are introduced to the formal scientific process by performing a variety of scientific tasks including observing, organizing, comparing and communicating. A cross-age teaching model engages teenage volunteers as teachers.
4-H Million Trees
A project to raise awareness about climate change by asking youth to plan trees in their communities.
SLO Scientists (San Luis Obispo)
A program that brings families together to explore a variety of science topics in a hands-on manner where youth learn how to be scientists, adults learn from kids, kids learn from adults, and everyone has fun.
4-H Tech Wizards (San Benito)
An afterschool, small group, mentoring program for vulnerable and marginalized youth who tend to be underrepresented in STEM fields.
Science or Engineering Presentation (2016)
The California 4-H Presentation Manual outlines a new category. A science presentation focuses on making sense of the world by constructing knowledge and an engineering presentation focuses on finding suitable solutions to problems by weighing design choices.
4-H Sustainable You! Summer Camp (Imperial)
Sustainable You! is a fun and educational summer and camp where children will learn about what they can do to help keep our planet and themselves healthy. The campers will have the chance to build their own worm compost bins, discover the value of local food, learn how to calculate their carbon footprint, enjoy various educational games; and much more!
4-H Science Summer Academy (Merced)
The 4-H Summer Science Academy includes three separate weeks of fun hands-on and heads-on programs. During each of the weeks there will be two different 4-H Science, Engineering and Technology session topics from which to choose.
IMAGINE Science (Orange)
Imagine Science Orange County is a partnership between Orange County 4-H, the Anaheim YMCA, Boys & Girls Clubs of Garden Grove, and Girls Inc. bringing dynamic, hands-on, after-school STEM education to Orange County's underserved youth.
Bio-Security in 4-H Animal Science (I) and (II)
Livestock shows are an important part of 4-H, but members need to be aware of the disease risks involved when stock from different farms come together in one place. This 3-part curriculum teaches principles and practices of livestock health safety.
Youth Participatory Action Research (Sonoma, Humboldt)
YPAR is a form of civic science that engages youth in the research and action process starting with forming the research foci and collecting, analyzing, and interpreting data in order to bring about collective action for positive community change.
The California 4-H Science Leadership Team conducted a statewide assessment to evaluate the needs of county-based 4-H programs related to the key areas of the 4-H Science Initiative: program development and design, professional development, curricula, evaluation, partnerships, and fund development. Read more at Journal of Extension.
Guiding Principles for 4-H STEM
- Experiential Learning: Activities follow the experiential learning cycle with ample opportunity for individual and group reflection and application in new situations. In addition, there is an emphasis on collaborative learning such that activities are structured so young people bring their unique perspectives and experience to contribute in completing joint tasks.
- Inquiry-Based Learning: Activities use effective questioning so youth are engaged to think, explore, question, and make decisions.
- Scientific Practices: Provides opportunities to improve their scientific reasoning skills through engaging in scientific practices.
- Adults as facilitators of learning: Learning experiences led by trained, caring adults and teens who create environments in which they work together as active learners.
- Organization of learning experiences: Learning experiences are organized in a sequence to reinforce one another; concepts build upon one another over time = spiral effect.
- Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS): Learning experiences support NGSS cross-cutting concepts (NGSS Lead States, 2013).
Youth Development Practices
- Safety: Programs attend to physical and emotional safety, first and foremost.
- Relationship Building: Programs provide guidance and emotional support to young people.
- Youth Engagement: Youth have decision-making roles and leadership opportunities.
- Community Involvement: Programs provide opportunities for youth to learn about and impact their communities.
- Skill Building: Programs emphasize developmental structures including nurturing young people’s sparks, development of a growth mindset, practice in goal management, and opportunities for self-reflection.
- Cultural and Community Relevance: Programs attend to cultural and community relevance. Activities are meaningful to young people’s cultural values.
The checklist is designed for use in the planning, development, and evaluation of new and existing 4-H science programs, curriculum materials, and professional development of staff and volunteers. 4-H STEM Checklist
Targeted outcomes include enhanced scientific literacy and improved indicators of positive youth development.
I. Youth Scientific Literacy
- Content (based on the UC ANR Strategic Vision 2025).
- Reasoning skills (potential frameworks may include: NGSS scientific and engineering practices, 4-H STEM Abilities, science process skills).
- Interest and attitudes towards science.
- Contribution through applied participation.
- Competence: Positive view of one’s actions in specific areas, including healthy habits, life skills, love of learning, emotional competence, and social skills.
- Confidence: An internal sense of overall positive self-worth, persistent resourcefulness and self-efficacy.
- Connection: Positive bonds and relationships with people and institutions including faith-based communities.
- Character: Respect for societal and cultural norms, possession of standards for correct behaviors, a sense of right and wrong (morality), and integrity.
- Caring: A sense of sympathy and empathy for others.
- Contribution: Giving to self, family and the institutions of a civil society
Learning experiences facilitated by trained, caring adult staff and volunteers who operate from a perspective that youth are partners in their own development.
I. Educational practices
- Physical and emotional safety
- Relationship building
- Youth engagement and youth-adult partnerships
- Community involvement
- Skill building: sparks, mindset, goal management, and self-reflection
III. Organization of learning experiences
- Learning experiences are organized in a sequence (multiple contacts; extended duration) to reinforce one another; concepts build upon one another over time.
IV. Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)
V. Evaluation - Learning experiences include opportunities for evaluation.