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Incorporating STEM into 4-H

STEM Activities by Project Area

Check out this document to point you to STEM activities by 4-H Project area! Created by Monica Lobenstein and Jackson County Staff, this document is still a work in progress, but is a great resource for educators!

Other 4-H STEM Resources

On this page, you will find resources that volunteers and staff can use to incorporate Science, Technology, Engineering and Math in 4-H Youth Development.

Wisconsin 4-H STEM Projects

The Wisconsin 4-H Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) program area cuts across all program and project areas. However, strong STEM projects use an inquiry-based learning approach, improve STEM abilities, provide opportunties to improve mastery-independence-belonging-generosity skills, are based on National Science Education Standards and are led by trained adults.

STEM also has specific projects in 4-H such as aerospace, water, computers, small engines, electricity, electronics, astronomy, energy and robotics.

  • Aerospace Click this link for resources and information to support 4-H Aerospace.
  • Space Place from NASA Check out games, animations, projects, and fun facts about Earth, space and technology.
  • NASA No Boundaries Project The No Boundaries project was developed by NASA in collaboration with USA TODAY Education to help youth explore careers in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) and to learn about NASA.
  • INSPIRE (Interdisciplinary National Science Program Incorporating Research and Education Experience) INSPIRE provides students from the 9th grade through the freshman year of college with online resources; NASA related activities and educational modules; and participation in video teleconferences with the centers. This link leads to more information and application materials.


  • Night Sky Notes The Night Sky Notes is a place to keep skywatchers up to date on what's up in the sky. Check back often to find out what's new and visible in our ever changing sky
  • University of Wisconsin Space Place To encourage students, teachers and the general public to learn, think, and talk about space science and research, the UW Space Place is located on South Park Street in Madison with professionally designed exhibits, a classroom space, lecture room and a roof top deck for sky viewing.
  • Galaxy Zoo Find out how you can help astronomers explore the universe. You will view images from the NASAQ's Hubble Space Telescope and classify them by shape.

Computers Click this link for resources and information on the Wisconsin 4-H Computer project.

Electricity Click this link for resources and information on the Wisconsin 4-H Electricity project.


  • word icon Power of the Wind Activities Outline (4 pages, 51 KB) This outline, created by Cathy Vrentas, highlights activities and resources to teach youth about wind energy. Many of the activities are based on the 4-H Curriculum, Power of the Wind. Other resources and references are also included.

Environment Click this link for resources and information on the Wisconsin 4-H Environment project.

Geospatial Click this link for resources and information on the Wisconsin 4-H Geospatial project

  • Navigating to Success: 4-H and GPS Developed by Gail Roberts and Alan Paul Price, this PowerPoint gives lots of helpful information about GPS and how to use this technology in 4-H.
  • 4-H and GIS The 4-H GIS Program provides GIS and geospatial technologies to young people and qualified adults involved with U.S. 4-H clubs and related state and national organizations. It is created in cooperation with the National 4-H Headquarters and other partners. There is information about the ESRI grant program on this site.
  • 4-H Youth Favorite Places Youth Favorite Places (YFP) is an activity designed to help teach youth about Geographic Information Systems/Global Positioning System (GIS/GPS) as well as provide a service to their community.
  • GEAR Tech 21 Robotics and GPS GEAR-Tech-21 teaches robotics, GPS, and GIS technologies through building and programming a robot, navigation, and mapmaking activities. The site helps with step-by-step guides and resources. It’s real learning with real adventures! A 4-H club can even compete in virtual competitions with teams located across the country. GEAR-Tech-21 is based on the Nebraska Robotics and GPS/GIS in 4-H: Workforce Skills for the 21st Century program and is funded by the National Science Foundation.

Power of Wind Click this link for online activities and information on the National 4-H Power of Wind Curriculum

Robotics Click this link for resources and information on 4-H Robotics. You will find guidelines for starting a robotics program in your county, information on storing robotics equipment, a sample evaluation and links to sources of information and curriculum.

For information on the 2011 Robotics Rally, click the Science Activities link on the left.

Small Engines Click this link for resources and information on the Wisconsin 4-H Small Engines project

Water Click this link for resources and information on the Wisconsin 4-H Water project

Related 4-H Project Activities and Resources

Wisconsin 4-H Mechanical Sciences Wisconsin 4-H hosts state contests in small engines, aersopace and tractor driving.

Wisconsin 4-H Plant Science Day For youth and adults who want to learn more about Plant Sciences, there is an annual Plant Science Day held in Hancock, Wisconsin.

National 4-H Engineering Challenge National 4-H Science, Engineering and Leadership Event.

Wisconsin 4-H Project Page To learn more about all Wisconsin 4-H projects, check out this link.

STEM as a Part of the 4-H Experience

Making Science Cool Videos The After-School Corporation (TASC) released a series of short videos that provide rationale for why doing science after school is so important. These videos show kids engaging in hands-on science activities in after-school settings. TASC explains that after-school science is not a substitute for in-school math and science learning, but rather it is a way to excite kids about acquiring science knowledge and engage them in real-world applications.

The following links give hints and ideas on making Science, Engineering and Technology (SET) a part of 4-H projects:

pdf icon 10 Ways to Incoporate SET into 4-H Projects (1 page, 61.4 KB) Discover the Top Ten Ways to Integrate SET into 4-H Projects. This could be used with 4-H project leaders and youth members as they brainstorm projects or ideas. It might also be used to introduce leaders and members to SET concepts.

pdf icon Science with Kids, by Kids (3 pages, 445 KB) Authors Tom Zinnen and Sally Bowers provide background information on how to involve youth in hands-on science activities. It leads the reader through the scientific inquiry process with examples and ideas to use.

word iconSTEM Activity Plan (2 pages) This is an activity plan that includes the science inquiry model in the activity plan. Use this to change current plans or to create new activities.

pdf icon SET Checklist (1 page, 106 KB) This checklist identifies the criteria for SET activities established by National 4-H Council.

STEM Activity Plan for Engineering Activities (2 pages) This is an activity plan that includes the engineering design model in the activity plan. Use this to change current plans or to create new engineering or design activities.

Science Process Skills Inventory The Science Process Skills Inventory (SPSI) was developed by Mary Arnold and Virgina Bourdeau to measure the ability to practice the full cycle of steps in the scientific inquiry process. The inventory measures science process skills, not science content knowledge. The inventory is intended for use with youth ages 12 and over.

Assessment Tools in Informal Science This is a searchable database of assessment tools for science learning and child outcomes in out-of-school programs. Find the right assessment tool to measure performance of informal and out-of-school science, technology, engineering and math programs.

National Science Education Standards 4-H STEM complements the National Science Education Standards which can be found on this link.

Wisconsin Model Academic Standards for Science 4-H STEM also complements the Wisconsin DPI Model ACademic Standards.

Science Inquiry Resources

To fully implement  4-H STEM actvities, 4-H staff and volunteers use an inquiry-based learning approach to lead 4-H project activities. The following resources support the use of inquiry in learning activities.

4-H STEM Scientific Inquiry Videos The videos on this link were selected by National 4-H Council to show effective use of scientific inquiry in 4-H project work especially using the new Power of Wind curriculum. These  videos give a range of activities facilitators can use with youth, content to help support work in delivering science activities, and a step-by-step example of the scientific method. The videos demonstrate imagination and creativity, and provide a foundation bank of video training resources to improve SET professional development for 4-H educators and volunteers.

pdf icon Science Inquiry Model Web ( 1page, 70.3 KB) An illustration of the scientific inquiry model shown as a web which shows in a visual way how the inquiry model works.

pdf icon Science Inquiry Model Cycle (1 page, 68.2 KB) An illustration of the scientific inquiry model shown as a cycle which shows in a visual way how the inquiry model works.

Science Inquiry Activity from the Exploratorium Institute for Inquiry In this activity teachers and professional developers transform a structured activity using parachutes into a series of open-ended investigations that draw upon children's questions.

word iconExamples of Good Science Inquiry Facilitation Questions (1 page, 25.5 KB) Use these questions to encourage youth to process and think about what they are doing and thinking. These sample questions were developed by Sally Bowers.

word iconScience Inquiry in Action Model from Virginia Bourdeau (1 page, 32 KB) This model showing the interaction of Science Inquiry and Experiential Learning was created by Viginia Bourdeau and published in the Journal of Extension, October 2004 V 42 #5 in an article titled: "4-H Experiential Ed- a Model for 4-H Science as Inquiry."

Science Inquiry Background Information This link is to NWREL's Science Inquiry Model(TM) that was developed to help K-12 teachers infuse inquiry into their science instruction and curriculum. Explore this site and learn more about the components of the model, inquiry-based teaching strategies, and resources for teaching and learning.

word iconPeanuts and More Peanuts (14 pages, 612 KB) This activity introduces the scientific inquiry process in an engaging, hands-on activity. Potatoes, strawberries, carrots or another fruit or vegetable could be used in case someone has a peanut allergy.