More than 800 youth in Pierce County will join millions of young people across the nation to become scientists for the day during the fourth annual 4-H National Youth Science Day on Weds., Oct. 5. The annual event seeks to spark an early interest in science and future science careers and to reclaim the nation’s position of leadership in scientific exploration.
This year’s experiment, “Wired for Wind,” explores how to create more sustainable and clean sources of energy. Youth will learn about wind energy and enhance their engineering skills while designing and creating blades of a wind turbine. Students will then test the blades they designed from paper cups or poster board by attaching them to a motor and a multimeter that measures voltage. By blowing wind on their model turbines with a fan, students will see how much energy their design produces. The experiment will also help youth relate their scientific experiences to their lives as they determine the best location for a wind farm by calculating wind power and studying wind data and maps.
Philip, a 13-year-old member of the Happy Hoppers 4-H club in Puyallup, conducted the experiment at the Pierce County Fair. “I liked working in a team to design the wind blades and making changes to see what would happen,” said Philip. “I’ve seen the turbines along the Columbia River and it was interesting to make a smaller model and get an idea of how they work. I want to learn more about clean energy that doesn’t cause pollutants to go into the air.”
“Participation in the 4-H National Youth Science Day offers youth and adults the opportunity to engage in scientific exploration and work together to build the next generation of our nation’s scientists, engineers and mathematicians,” said Christina Murray, WSU Extension Pierce County 4-H Coordinator.
The experiment is being conducted with several organizations in Pierce County, including the Rescue Mission. The goal of the Rescue Mission’s youth program is to develop opportunities where kids can grow emotionally, spiritually and academically.
WSU Pierce County 4-H is partnering with the following organizations to advance science exploration with local youth through participation in the science experiment: YMCA of Pierce and Kitsap Counties; Boys & Girls Clubs of South Puget Sound; Rescue Mission; NE Tacoma Elementary; CASTINGS at McCarver Elementary; Metro Parks Portland Avenue Community Center; Tacoma Nature Center; Cascade Christian Schools; Daffodil Valley Elementary; Bryant Montessori; First Creek Middle School; Gray Middle School; Jason Lee Middle School; and Sugar-n-Spice child care.
In an effort to combat a national shortage of young people pursuing science college majors and careers, 4-H is reaching out to 1 million youth in science, engineering, and technology programs nationally by 2013. The university research-based science curriculum, combined with 4-H National Youth Science Day, will provide youth with the necessary technical skills to help America maintain its competitive edge in the global marketplace. More information about Pierce County 4-H is available at http://www.county.wsu.edu/pierce/ .