Tag Archives: 4-H national youth science day

I Know MI Numbers featured at Ag Expo

As you know, Michigan State University Extension is implementing the I Know MI Numbers initiative, focusing on five targeted programs among many identified as critical to the state’s future on Gov. Rick Snyder’s dashboard. MSU Extension staff members educated the public about each issue in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources tent and the MSU Extension Bookstore tent at Ag ExpoJuly 19–21. In temperatures in the 90s with humidity that led to heat indexes in the 100s, our dedicated staff soldiered on to encourage attendees to improve their quality of life.

MSU Extension Bookstore tent

MSU Extension Bookstore tent

At the MSU Extension Bookstore tent, Ag Expo attendees could purchase soil test kits. The kits make it easy for gardeners to get quick results and information when they send in their soil samples through Extension to the MSU Soil and Plant Nutrient Lab. Mary Wilson, MSU Extension consumer horticulture educator and state coordinator of the MSU Extension Master Gardener Volunteer Program, was on hand in the CANR tent to explain the process. Using the soil test results, gardeners can more accurately determine the amount of fertilizers and herbicides to use – lessening the chance of overuse. This would reduce runoff, improving water quality – a goal of the I Know MI Numbers targeted program: Agriculture That Protects Michigan’s Waters. We’d like to see Michigan’s water index moving higher than 88, on a scale of 100. (If you missed getting a soil test kit, you can still get one at the MSU Extension Bookstore at bookstore.msue.msu.edu.) Staff involved with the water quality initiative staffed a display at the CANR tent as well. And during Ag Expo, many demonstrations throughout the three-day event focused on agriculture that improves water quality. We have nearly 60 programs or events throughout the state that focus on key water-quality issues.

Agriculture That Protects Michigan's Waters

Agriculture That Protects Michigan's Waters exhibit. Photo by Katie Alexander.

In the CANR tent, Extension staff members measured visitors’ height and weight to help them determine their BMI (body mass index). Staff members were ready to talk nutrition and healthy habits with attendees. Reducing adult obesity is a targeted program that aims at reaching 8,000 people across the state to make healthy changes in their behavior. In Genesee and Saginaw counties, 35 adult obesity prevention/reduction classes reach hundreds of adults with information to help them improve their BMI.

Reducing adult obesity

Reducing adult obesity exhibit. Photo by Katie Alexander.

Helping Our Cities and Towns Succeed aims at helping local officials address the fiscal crisis and reduce the cost of government. Michigan residents attending Ag Expo could determine their local fiscal health number (by checking a chart on the Michigan Department of Treasury’s website, created by MSUE) and compare it to other communities. They then placed a colored tack on a map that represented one of three categories: neutral, watch or stress. The goal of this targeted program is to have all communities fall in the neutral category, a number between zero and four. Extension is partnering with the governor and the Michigan Department of Treasury to educate Michigan residents about fiscal health.

Helping Our Cities and Towns Succeed

Helping Our Cities and Towns Succeed exhibit. Photo by Katie Alexander.

Increasing early childhood literacy focuses on Michigan children entering kindergarten with the skills they need in order to be reading at grade level by the third grade. In the CANR tent, a children’s story hour took place every hour. After listening to the story, a child could choose a free book to take home. MSU Extension has held five events since June in which children and parents focused on developing pre-reading skills. And we’ll be distributing up to 500,000 books donated by First Book to youth living in low-income situations.

Increasing Early Childhood Literacy

Increasing Early Childhood Literacy exhibit. Photo by Katie Alexander

MSU Extension is helping to improve science literacy by supporting teachers with resources, experiments and lesson plans that align with Michigan Science Education standards and coordinating 4-H Science Blast and 4-H National Youth Science Day. Kids who attended Ag Expo participated in two water-quality science experiments and the Fashion-a-Fish project activity to improve their own science literacy.

Improving Science Literacy

Improving Science Literacy exhibit. Photo by Katie Alexander.

Thanks to all who participated in making it possible to get the word out about the I Know MI Numbers initiative at Ag Expo.

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Through Toyota 4-H2O grant, Michigan 4-H Youth Development continues to educate kids experientially

For the fourth year, Michigan State University Extension 4-H Youth Development has received a Toyota 4-H2O grant. The $65,000 grant is divided between two areas: $50,000 goes to continue the yearlong 4-H2O projects in Oakland, Washtenaw and Wayne counties along with a cluster of counties in northeastern Michigan. The remaining $15,000 supports the 2011 4-H National Youth Science Day activities that will take place throughout the state Oct. 1–8.

Oakland County puts the Toyota 4-H2O grant money to work with “I pledge my hands to larger service,” a campaign focused on involving elementary through high school-aged youth in water issues and water-related cleanup efforts. Youth also learn about water issues hands-on when they attend the 4-H2O Eco-Challenge summer weeklong camp at Indian Springs Metropark in August.

In Washtenaw County, the Huron River Watershed Council partners with MSU Extension to teach students about community-based water resources such as the Huron, Detroit, Ottawa-Stony and Raisin watersheds. The kids test the quality of the water and learn how their daily actions can have an effect on that quality.

In Wayne County, the grant allows students in the Detroit area schools to continue to engage in the Great Lakes Education Program (GLEP) “School Ship” cruises. Students study curriculum in the classroom that prepares them for the cruise. On the boat, students visit stations that involve them in learning about life on board.

Through Toyota 4-H2O, the Maritime Heritage Center in Alpena, the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service give students in northeastern Michigan a chance to participate in shipboard learning experiences. Students will conduct water quality tests from Lake Huron, the Ocqueoc River and the Trout River. MSU Extension staff members prepare teachers who in turn teach the students.

The grant allows kids the opportunity to learn science using a hands-on approach and relate what they learn to real-world experiences. It also gives them a taste of career options that they previously may not have known existed.

This is just another great example of how we are effectively carrying out our I Know MI Numbers science literacy initiative, providing science education in a non-formal setting using an experiential, learn-by-doing method and sharing it with teachers in formal school settings.

The Toyota 4-H20 Project is funded by a grant from Toyota to National 4-H Council and the Michigan 4-H Foundation.

To read more about 4-H Youth Development and the Toyota 4-H2O grant, click here.

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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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