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Studying science with everyday objects

Ray Gora / Lincoln Times-News
Gary Isom helps students to learn Friday about and build their mock “Eco-Bots,” machines that might be used to aid in environmental cleanups such as oil spills at the National 4-H Youth Science Day at the Citizens Center in downtown Lincolnton.

 

Citizens Center hosts National 4-H Youth Science Day

 

AMANDA SEBASTIANO

Staff Writer

 

Graham-cracker space machines, Lego bridges and remote-controlled night lights were being crafted last week at National 4-H Youth Science Day — an event that children across the nation were attending. More than 70 youth attended the event to learn about various areas of science.

The auditorium of the Citizen’s Center was transformed into a room filled with multiple tables where 4-H’ers and their parents and other volunteers taught interested children, ages 5-12, from Lincoln, Catawba and other counties across the state about various topics involving science and experiments. Based on age, participants were split up into groups, and stayed at their unit for the two-hour event, mastering their subject before snacking on pizza.

NASA’s Curiosity Rover was the topic of discussion at Randy Street’s booth, as he taught his group about the Rover and its exploration of Mars. Students, like 6-year-old Anna Duncan, eagerly listened as Street explained how they would construct their own machine out of graham crackers and other edible options laid out on the table. They also split into groups — one filled with scientists and the over were Rovers — as they learned the difficulty and patience it takes to operate such a tool.

“I like the idea of going up in space; my mom told me about it,” Duncan told the Times-News on Friday. “I like Pluto the best, I think.”

Neighboring the edible Mars machine booth was the Lego engineering team, where attendees learned how to construct a bridge that the children would be able to walk on and that was elevated — a group led by 4-H’er Benjamin Teague and his mother Tracy.

The mother-and-son leaders demonstrated how to build sections of Lego — called master bricks — that would stand as pillars to support the structure and keep it standing, they explained.

Teague hopes to expand his own knowledge of engineering and science, while gaining experience in leadership by helping teach younger children how to build something interesting, he explained.

Across the room, some of the older participants were building Eco-Bots, battery-powered toothbrushes, to clean up a “spill” –rice scattered across a printed out beach scene.

“The kids will learn a lot about forming a hypothesis and experimenting to get results,” booth leader Gary Isom said.

His team seemed enthusiastic to figure out what they would be doing with what they normally only see in the bathroom when they brush their teeth.

Hearing 4-H’er Cody Johnsen explain how to build a remote-controlled night light sounded complicated, even for adults, as he went through the sheet each student had in front of them and explained the process they would be doing. A few of the all-boy group members had been to the science day before and had picked the booth ahead of time, they agreed.

Upstairs, Lincoln County Cooperative Extension Agent for 4-H Youth and Development April Dillon met with the youth who will be participating in the 4-H science fair next year, giving them tips for how to make stand-out boards and other tools they made need to do well at the competition. County Cooperative Extension Program Assistant for 4-H Fran Senters held down the fort below, which she didn’t mind.

“This will introduce kids to all areas of science,” Senters said. “I hope this will open up the doors for them to really understand it (science); it’s the future of America.”

 

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