4-H National Youth Science Day prepares Michigan students for MEAP testing

On October 6, 2010, young people from across the country will have a chance to be scientists as they take part in the third annual 4-H National Youth Science Day. Millions of youth will all take part in the same experiment. This year the experiment, called 4‑H2O, will teach students how carbon dioxide can affect aquatic animals, plants and other living organisms in lakes, streams, rivers and oceans.

 The timing of the 4‑H2O experiment is great for Michigan schools. MEAP (Michigan Educational Assessment Program) testing just happens to begin the week after National Youth Science Day, so this gives students a great way to get excited and reinforced about learning and applying scientific principles right before they encounter the MEAP tests.

 Bay County Michigan State University Extension 4-H has built a great collaboration with Washington Elementary School in Bay City while putting together the 4‑H2O National Science Experiment grant. Jodi Schulz, Extension educator, and Jodi Wrzesinski, 4-H program assistant, (yes, the team of Jodi and Jodi) will be conducting the science event at Washington Elementary.

 During the planning of the 4-H2O grant, the administrators of Washington Elementary needed to see how this curriculum tied into the Michigan Grade Level Content Expectation (GLCE). Bay County 4-H staff members researched and made the connections to the GLCEs and presented their findings to school principal Judy Cox. After reviewing the 4‑H staff report, Ms. Cox was so impressed with the program she is supplementing a portion of the grant so that all of her second grade students will each receive a 4-H National Science Day T-shirt. The grant only allowed for 35 students to receive shirts, but she felt it was important that all of the students support 4-H2O by wearing the science day T-shirts during the national experiment. She also felt it was important to share the details of the grant with the district curriculum team, Superintendent Douglas Newcombe and the School Board for Bay City Public Schools.

 And so it all came about that on October 6, Bay County will have 100 second grade students, four second grade teachers, two school administrators and two 4-H staff members wearing the clover while working together on the 2010 National Science Experiment 4-H2O with millions of other youth around the nation.

 Although the Washington Elementary second graders won’t be taking MEAP tests in science this year, we’re confident that the excitement they find in this experiential learning opportunity will help them find fun in other aspects of science and math studies to help prepare them for future MEAP tests and more importantly for their future career opportunities as adults.

 Another 4-H National Youth Science experiment takes place at the 4-H Science Blast October 9 from 9 a.m. until noon at the Kellogg Hotel and Conference Center at MSU. Jacob DeDecker, 4-H Youth Development program leader, invites families and youth groups to come and join the fun and learning. It’s free and you don’t need to register in advance. Toyota sponsors the event and the national experiment as part of its 4-H2O grant.

 If you are an educator or youth leader and need resources to prepare for science day, or you simply want to do further study with youth on water quality, go to https://site.4-h.org/nysd/resources.php

 According to Julie Chapin, director of the Children and Youth Institute, “4-H National Youth Science Day is a great example of how Michigan 4-H is actively promoting science education and collaborating with schools to achieve classroom objectives by extending learning through experiential opportunities.”

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