4-H STEM Shark Tank

California 4-H STEM Education Advisory Committee Presents

2022 4-H STEM “Shark Tank”
May 25, 2022, 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm

Shark Tank

Science & Engineering to Solve Global Issues

Young people are entering a world facing science-related challenges: feeding a growing population, finding cleaner ways to produce energy, and sustainability of natural ecosystems, which will require innovative solutions and inventions. The California 4-H STEM Shark Tank is an opportunity for 4-H members (aged 9 to 18, as of December 31, 2021) to design and propose hypothetical or working solutions/inventions to address these issues.  

Exhibition for youth aged 9 to 18 : Pitch Hypothetical Solutions or Inventions to Global Issues

  1. Youth (individual or teams) select a global issue and create a hypothetical (imaginary) invention/solution
  2. Youth prepare images, digital slides, posters, or models to share their solution/invention
  3. Youth register for the 4-H Shark Tank by April 29.
  4. On May 28, youth have 2 to 5 minutes to pitch their solution/invention to the expert panel by Zoom or in-person. Please see the Safety Measures if you plan to participate in-person at UC Davis.

Selected projects will be offered funds (up to $1,000) to build and test a working prototype! Youth who accept will design, build, and test their working prototype over next program year 2022-2023, meet once a month on Zoom, and then share it at next year’s 2023 State 4-H Field Day.

Registration is now closed.


Questions? Please contact 4hsfd@ucanr.edu.

Organizers: Steven Worker & Dagmar Derickson, Megna Nayar, Satleen Gill, & Sudharsan Gopalakrishnan

Sponsor: Christie English

Scenario Options

Agricultural and Natural Resource Global Issues

Global science-related issues will require a civically engaged, scientifically literature populace who are willing and able to contribute to innovative solutions. Solving global issues will need creative solutions. Our young people are the creative problem solvers needed to solve global issues. The California 4-H Youth Development Program is promoting “4-H STEM Shark Tank” as one way to help youth engage in scientific and engineering practices while also become more civically active, encouraging them to think creatively about new approaches to ensuring our sustainable social, economic, environmental, and agriculture needs are met now and in the future.


Increased Food Production

Increasing human populations will need more food.

As the global population increases, food production must expand to meet the increased population demands. Existing crops must be improved, new crops developed, better nutrient management employed, and pest and disease management strategies improved to create sustainable production.

Youth should identify one specific challenge (narrow focus) and design a solution or invention that addresses that challenge while also potentially increasing food production overall.

Cleaner and Sustainable Energy

Energy needs to come from cleaner sources. 

The demand for energy continues to rise. Conventional production (oil, coal) contributes to climate change, thus there are calls for energy production from cleaner and renewable sources as well as more energy-efficient electrical systems. Innovation is needed for energy production and management, particularly for agricultural systems.

Youth should identify one specific challenge (narrow focus) and design a solution or invention that addresses that challenge while also coming from cleaner sources.

Conserving Natural Resources

Changes in climate will stress natural ecosystems.

To address the effects of habitat loss, air pollution, and lowered water quantity, natural lands (aquatic, grassland, forest, desert, and tundra) need diversity of habitats and species, adaptability, connectivity, and functional redundancy.

Youth should identify one specific challenge (narrow focus) and design a solution or invention that addresses that challenge while also potentially conserving natural resources overall.

Other Issues (for Senior 4-H Members)

Numerous other global issues are impacting human life and natural systems now and into the future. Explore other global issues and design a solution or invention to help address.

Senior 4-H members (aged 14-18) may select their own global environmental or agricultural issue. Youth will need to clearly summarize the issue and why it is important during their pitch.