The Allegan County 4-H robotic club Team ROCK – Reaching Out to Community Kids – took part in the FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Championship April 24–27 in St. Louis, Mo.
The team was part of the FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC). FRC combines sports with science and technology. Teams must solve a problem in a six-week timeframe. Given a standard kit of parts, the members build robots and program them to perform tasks against competitors in the Ultimate Ascent competition. In the competition, the teams’ robots compete to score as many discs as they can into their goals.
Team ROCK was the first Michigan 4-H club to qualify for this worldwide robotics championship. This Allegan County News article pictures the team and talks about the members heading for the state finals. In the article, 4-H leader Jerry Williams mentions that the team had a “slim chance” for advancing to nationals. With dedication and teamwork, that chance did happen, and the 4-H’ers took part in the competition in St. Louis. The club members can be proud of the hard work and determination it took to get there. At the championship, the team had 5 wins and 3 losses.
Michigan State University Extension 4-H program coordinator Dian Liepe said, “I am so proud of these youth! They represented Allegan County 4-H and Michigan by exhibiting great sportsmanship and teamwork.”
Read more here.
This FIRST YouTube video gives you an idea of the excitement and fun that contestants had at the event.
Improving science literacy is one of the goals of the Michigan State University Extension “I Know MI Numbers” initiative. 4-H Science Blasts, held throughout the state, are part of the effort designed to help improve science scores in a state where science literacy for school-aged youth is below the national average. The blasts also help 4-H to reach the goal of engaging one million new young people in science programs by 2013.
MSU Extension’s Allegan County 4-H Youth Development was a part of one of this summer’s Maranda’s Park Parties held July 28, 2011, at the Allegan County Fairgrounds. The 4-H area included a 4-H Science Blast with four stations of learning and fun for the 4,900 individuals attending the event.
MSU Extension educator Jan Brinn incorporated the 4-H Science Blast into the park party to meet the goals of the I Know MI Numbers initiative and National 4-H by educating youth in science. The 4-H area reached more than 900 youth who not only learned about science and 4‑H but had fun too.
The Science Blast included four stations that covered the areas of animal science, plant science, engineering and technology, and environmental science. Youth met a cow up close and personal, took part in 4-H beef science activities, made butterflies using the 4-H “Project Butterfly Wings” curriculum, pollinated flowers using corn meal and made red bean necklaces. They enjoyed watching the TEAM ROCK Robotics 4-H robot pick up balloons made by Giggles the Clown. They even learned about worm farming from a young 4-H’er. Attendees also were able to proudly wear Science Blast tattoos.
Jan is excited about the success of the event. “With the large number in attendance, TV cameras and wonderful 4-H volunteers helping in the 4-H area it was very successful. 4-H was promoted, youth educated in science and everyone had fun as well,” she said.
4-H leader Robyn Wixom (center) introduces attendees to Peggy the Cow at the 4-H Science Blast July 28, 2011, at the Allegan County Fairgrounds. Peggy was a great conversation starter that got kids interested and asking questions about animal science. Photo by Janis Brin.
4-H leader Roxanne Henley teaches two attendees how to make bean necklaces and butterflies at the 4-H Science Blast July 28, 2011, at the Allegan County Fairgrounds. Photo by Janis Brin.
Team ROCK 4-H member demonstrates the Robot 2000 to attentive participants at the 4-H Science Blast July 28, 2011, at the Allegan County Fairgrounds. Photo by Janis Brin.
Attendees proudly show their “Science Blast” tattoos at the 4-H Science Blast July 28, 2011, at the Allegan County Fairgrounds. Photo by Janis Brin.