4-H

UConn 4-H Computer Science Pathways

Bridging the Gap Between Scientists and Communities

4-H clover4-H knows talent is everywhere, but opportunity is not. Building youth equity and closing opportunity gaps by connecting youth curriculum, lesson plans, technology and training is the focus of the UConn CAHNR Extension Computer Science (CS) Pathways program.

Computer science and technology are not just transforming jobs and economies in cities, they are equally important to rural communities and within the agriculture sector. UConn 4-H received the 2019-2020 Growing a Computer Science Pathway – Launchers for America’s Youth grant presented by National 4-H Council as part of a $6 million grant from Google.org. 4-H and Google are bringing computer science education to the 4-H system with the goal of creating equitable access to these life-changing skills for kids and teens everywhere. 4-H works wherever the youth are with a focus on rural youth and populations that traditionally have limited access to computer science education.

In Connecticut, whether through a military program developing a lighting system for a henhouse, a small town community club using e-textiles in a sewing project or an urban afterschool program using code to make robots run more efficiently, the 4-H approach is flexible to help students see the range of ways computer science can connect the things they care about. Computer science skills, like analytical thinking, resilience and creativity, are some of the most sought-after skills in today’s job market.

The 4-H Computer Science Pathways Program represents an opportunity for young people of all backgrounds to create, not just consume technology, while also fulfilling a critical workforce need. UConn 4-H brings over 100 years of transformational educational experiences that build successful youth-adult partnerships in our communities. The UConn 4-H Computer Science Pathways Program is using the grant to continue building on our success delivering computer science education to communities in four primary ways:

1. Creating mobile learning libraries and laboratories

Also known as mobile labs, these are self-contained traveling classrooms used to teach new skills and ways of thinking that bring all of our young people access to opportunity and help them innovate. We teach youth technical computer science skills such as coding, and essential life skills including computational thinking, teamwork, and problem solving. The mobile labs have digital and unplugged activities. Digital activities do not require internet access. “Unplugged” activities are used on their own or as part of other programs, including the healthy living program, civic engagement program or STEM programs. Educators and 4-H club leaders receive essential and support training with the mobile labs.

2. Providing comprehensive, statewide, professional development

Teens as Teachers: Teens learn the fundamentals of teaching diverse audiences. These skills benefit many subject areas, not just computer science. Youth-Adult Partnerships: This training teaches the fundamentals of youth-adult partnerships and strategies for success. These partnerships were part of the original design of 4-H programs and are a core value today.

Growing Computer Science Pathways: This face-to-face training teaches the fundamental theories of computer science program delivery and introduces the lesson plans, curriculum and supplies needed.

Growing Computer Science Pathways Digital and Unplugged: Hands-on learning.

Principles for effectively delivering digital and unplugged activities for youth of all ages is provided in this training  Unplugged activities teach computational thinking, problem solving and the basics of coding without needing digital technology.

3. Creating and facilitating teen mentoring, teen-led programming and youth-adult partnerships

We teach volunteer and teen training programs. In these workshops participants learn the importance of, and strategies for, giving youth authentic and meaningful engagement opportunities. These opportunities, in programs, and in their communities, help youth find their voice. Youth see that they can exert influence and develop decision-making authority.

4. Leveraging the National 4-H Council’s and Google’s computer science expertise and resources

Community educators receive the skills and resources they need to deliver cutting-edge computer science programming through this collaboration. Youth computer science programming from 4-H fits community’s needs, while fostering leadership, confidence, and life skills.

There is a tremendous need for young people to create technology, not just consume it. By bringing our organizations together, we are combining the reach and expertise of the nation’s largest youth development organization, 4-H, with the power of Google’s computer science educational programs and volunteers.

Visit 4-H.uconn.edu for more information on the Computer Science Pathways Program.

Article by Maryann Fusco-Rollins

Extension in Our Communities

map of UConn Extension program in Connecticut communities using 2019 data

Programs delivered by Extension reach individuals, communities, and businesses in each of Connecticut’s 169 municipalities. UConn Extension has collaborated with our partners, communities and stakeholders for over 100 years. Find your community on our map of Extension programs (based on 2019 data) and see how active we are in your city or town. Learn more about our Extension programs.

 

4-H Youth Program Offers Virtual Activities and Programs

boy with iPadCalling all youth! UConn 4-H is excited to announce a suite of virtual activities and programs for youth. Our 4-H youth educators have shifted their programming online to help youth adapt to the current situation, and continue their involvement with 4-H.

  • The UConn 4-H Challenges are two separate contests – a food art challenge and an upcycle challenge. All entries are due by April 17th and can be submitted on social media using the contest hashtag or submitted on the contest website. Youth must be a 4-H member to participate, and can join online.
  • The 4-H Virtual Trivia Challenge is an eight-week competition for 4-H members using the online Quizziz platform. Each week, 4-H members will join others in their age group – novice, junior, or senior – to answer the questions. Youth can join online as an independent member if they are not already enrolled in 4-H. The scoreboard will be updated weekly on the website, and youth with the highest scores in each division at the end of the competition on May 27th will receive a prize. Youth must be a 4-H member to participate, and can join online.
  • The UConn 4-H Calendar Photography Contest is open to all 4-H members. Youth who are not enrolled in 4-H but want to participate can become an individual 4-H member by joining online. All photos entered in the contest must be related to the youth’s 4-H project and submitted by June 1st.
  • The 4-H Horse Judging and Hippology (horse science) programs are offering youth online resources to learn and practice their skills. Resources are available for all age groups – novice, junior, and senior. A 4-H horse activity book has activities for youth including puzzles, quizzes, and activities.

Parents and families with children out of school can use the other resources available from our UConn 4-H program to provide new educational activities for youth. Keep youth engaged and learning with new materials. We have resources for a variety of age groups.

UConn 4-H is the youth development program of UConn CAHNR Extension. 4-H is a community of over 6 million young people across America who are learning science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), leadership, citizenship, and life skills through their 4-H project work. 4-H provides youth with the opportunity to develop lifelong skills including civic engagement and healthy living.

UConn CAHNR Extension has more than 100 years’ experience strengthening communities in Connecticut and beyond. Extension programs address the full range of issues set forth in CAHNR’s strategic initiatives:

  • Ensuring a vibrant and sustainable agricultural industry and food supply
  • Enhancing health and well-being locally, nationally, and globally
  • Designing sustainable landscapes across urban-rural interfaces
  • Advancing adaptation and resilience in a changing climate.

Programs delivered by Extension reach individuals, communities, and businesses in each of Connecticut’s 169 municipalities.

4-H clover

Ask UConn Extension Your Questions

Indu
Indu Upadhyaya, Food Safety Assistant Extension Educator. Photo: Kevin Noonan

UConn Extension has collaborated with our partners, communities and stakeholders for over 100 years. We are proud to serve all 169 cities and towns in Connecticut. The worldwide pandemic involving COVID-19 (coronavirus) has produced unprecedented challenges in the UConn community and around the world. Our services continue during this challenging time.

We are still delivering the science-based information you need. We are ready to answer your questions. Consult with us by email or on the phone. All of our educators are working and ready to serve you. Ask us a question online.

We are developing virtual programs to offset canceled in-person learning Abby Beissingeropportunities. Our educators are writing and updating fact sheets and other information. You have access to educational materials on our YouTube channel. We are growing our suite of online resources every day to meet the needs of our communities and stakeholders.

UConn CAHNR Extension educators have curated resources related to COVID-19 for our statewide audiences, including families, businesses, and agricultural producers.

Resources for all audiences includes:

  • Food safety and cooking
  • Hand washing and sanitizers
  • Infection prevention
  • Financial advice
  • Listings of open farms/farmers’ markets and school emergency meal distribution

Parents and families with children out of school can use the resources from our UConn 4-H program to provide new educational activities for youth. Activities available will keep youth engaged and learning and are appropriate for a variety of age groups.

Bruce Hyde presenting at Land Use Academy
Bruce Hyde presenting at Land Use Academy.

A list of resources has been collected for Connecticut businesses. It is a clearinghouse of resources, and not an official site. Business owners can connect to the state resources we provide for official and legal advice.

Agricultural producers are still working on farms, in greenhouses and along the coast in Long Island Sound during the COVID-19 outbreak. Extension educators have developed resources for specific agricultural sectors, including fruit and vegetable farms, aquaculture, and nursery and landscape professionals. Links to important updates from the Connecticut Department of Agriculture also are available.

Our Extension educators are updating and adding resources regularly. Please visit http://bit.ly/COVID-19-Extension.

We are also ready to answer your other questions, including:

  • How do I get my water tested?
  • What is wrong with my plant?
  • Can I eat healthy on a budget?
  • How does my son/daughter join 4-H?

UConn CAHNR Extension has more than 100 years’ experience strengthening communities in Connecticut and beyond. Extension programs address the full range of issues set forth in CAHNR’s strategic initiatives:

  • Ensuring a vibrant and sustainable agricultural industry and food supply
  • Enhancing health and well-being locally, nationally, and globally
  • Designing sustainable landscapes across urban-rural interfaces
  • Advancing adaptation and resilience in a changing climate.

Programs delivered by Extension reach individuals, communities, and businesses in each of Connecticut’s 169 municipalities.

We are here. We are ready to serve you.

 

5 Ways to Keep Kids Engaged and Learning at Home

Article by Kittrina Thompson for National 4-H

boy squeezing limeAs communities across America experience the impact of school closures it can be stressful for parents and families to find resources available to maintain a sense of normalcy and make sure kids don’t get off track in their daily development. And while some schools are implementing a virtual learning plan, others don’t have the resources to continue student lessons.

If you are looking for ways to keep your kids engaged during this impromptu time off, 4‑H offers learning resources that are hands-on, fun and engaging. Check out these five fun at-home educational activities:

  1. Inspire your kid to do
    4‑H’s free Inspire Kids to Do™ activity guides collectively feature over 100 activities that will turn your home into a learning oasis! Your kids can learn essential life skills like giving back, health and wellness, cooking, and leadership.
  2. Family fun comes first
    If the entire family is spending extended time at home, you may be wondering how you can make the best of your time together. Plan activities that everyone can participate in that are fun and educational. Try some family recipes (featured in the free downloadable Healthy Living Activity Guide) to bring the household together!
  3. Take a homeschool approach
    If you don’t want to break your kids from the structured learning that is adopted in many classrooms, 4‑H Curriculum can help. From photography to cooking, robotics to entrepreneurship, each 4‑H Curriculum is developed and supported by an accredited university and includes full lesson plans, instructor guides, and student worksheets.
  4. Create your own learning lab
    Science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) skills are applied to many school subjects and everyday tasks. The free 4‑H STEM Lab uses basic STEM concepts and learning to bring you fun activities for kids of all ages. You can sort activities by grade and topic, as well as see items needed for each experiment. Also, each activity shows the mess level—a great added feature for at-home experimenting!).
  5. Combat cabin fever with mindfulness
    With extended time at home, it’s easy to get a little stir-crazy—for both parents and kids. Our guide to mindfulness is a great way to protect and care for your mental health, staying clear- and level-headed and relaxed.

Thinking about using any of the above tips? Use hashtag #InspireKidstoDo on social media to share photos of your kids doing any of the activities to give other parents ideas on engaging with their kids!

Originally posted by National 4-H

Infection Prevention Action Steps

hand washing
Photo: Clemson Extension

Our UConn 4-H team developed the following fact sheet for 4-H youth during public health emergencies. The action steps can be used by any family, group, or organization.

During any public health emergency, it is important that we all take a little extra time to increase sanitary practices at 4H gatherings. Not only will this help pre- vent the spread of illness but is a wonderful opportunity to educate youth and adults about proper healthy hygiene and social responsibility for ourselves and the community around us. Our goal is to provide resources to assist you in reducing the risk of inadvertently spreading disease at your 4H meetings and events.

Download the fact sheet.

Vote for our Granby 4-H VEX Robotics Team

Granby 4-H VEX Robotics Team
Granby 4-H VEX Robotics Team
Please vote by 1 PM Sunday, January 19th! We need everyone’s help for our UConn 4-H Hartford County Granby 4-H VEX Robotics Team. They are tied for first – let’s help them win.
 
They entered a VEX Robotics Online Community Challenge. We are showcasing what 4-H and STEM looks like in CT to a national audience. We need your vote. Please vote for our video and spread the word. Voting closes Jan 19. Directions to vote are below.
 
Community Award Online Challenge sponsored by Google
 
1. Go to Community Award Online Website
 
2. Go to Login/Register. You will need to register with your Google or Facebook account.
3. Return to Community Award Online Challenge – open it up
4. Go to All Entries button on the right-hand side
5. Go to Page 5
6. Look for Entry Called “Reaching Out: Community and Beyond”
7. Hit the Thumbs Up Button
8. Log Out
 
Thank you for supporting our 4-H members!

UConn 4-H Military Partnership Hosts Barnyard Boogie

little boy holds rabbit

The UConn 4-H Military Partnership Project joined forces with the Subase Exceptional Family Member Program (EFMP), Subase New London School Liaison Officer, University of Rhode Island 4-H, CT and RI National Guard CYP Coordinators, and New London County 4-H clubs for a “Barnyard Boogie” family sensory afternoon. Hosted by Horses Healing Humans, a partnering agency with VETSCT.ORG (Veteran Equine Therapeutic Services), local businesses, non-profits and Mental Health Professionals collaborated to make possible this free event for military-connected EFMP kids to meet kid-friendly barnyard ponies, goats, chickens, rabbits, sheep, and dogs. Over forty youth connected to the 4-H animals, many meeting a farm animal for the first time. Four 4-H clubs attended with animals in tow. This event will become an annual experience for our military families. Proud moment of the day involved one school-age boy, who, after much encouragement from his mom, tentatively reached out one finger to touch Trinket the sheep’s fleece. An expression of pure joy flooded his face, and he threw both arms over Trinket and buried his face in her fleece.

family meets the animals little girl holding a rabbit

Article by Pam Gray, New London County 4-H

Making Every Penny Count: 4-H and Financial Education

child looking at a jar of moneyAccording to a 2014 study conducted by the Connecticut Jump$tart Coalition for Personal Financial Literacy, only 10% of Connecticut high school students participated in a personal finance class annually. Fewer than 20 high schools required students to take a personal finance course prior to graduation. According to the Report on the Economic Well-Being of U.S. Households in 2015 by the Federal Reserve System, “Forty-six percent of adults say they either could not cover an emergency expense costing $400, or would cover it by selling something or borrowing money.” Young people need opportunities to learn about money and practice those skills to prepare for their financial futures.

Every 4-Her has the opportunity to learn about finances through their projects and activities. As a member of a local 4-H Club, they are likely to pay dues to cover the cost of their various activities. This fee (usually a dollar or two) may be used to pay for snacks, a club t-shirt, jacket, or supplies. Most clubs have officers including a treasurer who will record these funds under the supervision of an adult leader. In addition to learning about the financial aspects of their specific project such as animal husbandry, science and technology, leadership and community service, 4-H members can register for projects such as money management, consumer education, or financial literacy.

When 4-H members begin a project, they need to write down their project goal. This is great practice for managing their own finances as they will need to identify their personal financial goals and determine their priorities. 4-H members complete project record sheets for their major projects. If they spent money to complete their project, they document it. For example, when a 4-H member has a horse project, they need to consider all the costs involved in keeping that animal alive, healthy, and safe. They inventory their supplies and write down the financial value of those items. Expenses related to feeding and health such as veterinarian bills and costs related to participating in competitions are recorded. This practice reminds them that there are usually costs involved in almost any project they choose. A 4-H alumnus reports “We had to keep records of animals, breeding, litters, sales, [and] showing [events] as well as expenses such as grain, hay, feed and water bowls, carrying cages for showing, and entry fees… becoming responsible for keeping a written record for expenses and income.” In a consumer and family science project such as sewing or childcare, they record any expenses or financial values of items related to their projects such as patterns, fabric, and thread in sewing, or games, books, videos, or craft supplies to entertain young children.

4-H members have the opportunity to serve on county and state planning committees such as 4-H Citizenship Day and 4-H Advisory committees. They review the costs related to the event from the previous year to help in determining the budget for this year’s event. As a committee, they will discuss different ideas for the event and will learn that any changes they make in the program may also affect the final cost, learning financial decision-making and the need to balance income and expenses. In addition, they can become involved in county fair boards where one responsibility of each officer role is financial management. One 4-Her shared “When I was treasurer, I learned more about the financial system in 4-H. I was required to count money during the fair weekend and compare the income to past years. As Coordinator of home arts, I was responsible for calling a vendor with a request for tables. I had to know the estimated amount needed and get the estimate for the fair meeting. For entertainment, I was responsible for filling out forms for performers to ensure they were paid.“

Throughout a youth’s time in the UConn 4-H program, there are many opportunities to learn and practice financial decision-making and responsibility.

For more financial literacy resources visit https://financialliteracy.uconn.edu/

Article by Faye Griffiths-Smith, Extension Financial Educator and Margaret (Peggy) Grillo, 4-H Youth Development Educator