State 4-H Horse Jamboree participants develop science literacy skills

On April 16, 275 4-H’ers from across the state participated in the State 4-H Horse Jamboree at the MSU Pavilion for Agriculture and Livestock Education. The event included Horse Judging, Hippology and the Horse Quiz Bowl. Fifty adult volunteers made the event possible in addition to animal science event coordinator Carla McLachlan, visiting instructor Taylor Fabus and Michigan State University Extension equine specialist Karen Waite.

 In Horse Judging, young people evaluate eight classes of four horses, place and answer questions about the horses, and then prepare and deliver sets of oral reasons to defend their placings.

 According to Karen, “It’s a tremendous way to develop critical thinking, confidence and public speaking skills with the horse as a tool to excite youth.”

 In Hippology, young people in the junior division, ages 9 to 13, participate in a variety of equine-related activities including a written exam, a slide test and identification stations. Senior members, ages 14 to 19, participate in those same activities and also judge two classes, and develop and deliver solutions to a prepared and a spontaneous equine-related problem.

 Horse Quiz Bowl is an equine game show in which youth test their knowledge about horse care and management in a team format.

 All three of these events provide educational opportunities for youth regardless of their learning style preference.

 And Karen says, “They have the chance to develop and improve their science literacy without really knowing that they are learning about science. They just think they are learning about horses!”

 That kind of hands-on learning, driven primarily by their natural curiosity, is the basis for success of our 4-H program in helping youth to prepare for successful life as adults.

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