by Emily Kerr
Educators often say that one of the most rewarding aspects of their work is that moment when a child’s eyes light up with excitement or understanding. It’s a contagious feeling, and one that reinforces the desire to teach.
There were many of those moments last month at our second annual 4-H Science Bonanza, a free event hosted by the STEM Discovery Lab and UNH Cooperative Extension that features a series of fun science workshops and a 4- H Science Showcase for youth. One of my favorites was the moment a young boy held a live chicken for the first time in the “Learn About Chickens” workshop. He had waited patiently for his turn, and when it came, it was obvious he didn’t want it to end. He stroked the chicken’s feathers with a big smile on his face, reluctantly handed it back to the instructor when his turn ended and immediately got back in line.
Other workshop highlights included making felted soap using sheep wool, 3D printing, learning about space, making solar ovens and having families connect over STEM activities. Local organizations and county 4-H programs kept the excitement going during the STEM Showcase. Revision Energy provided hands-on activities about solar energy, Unchartered Tutoring encouraged youth to explore art and local FIRST Robotics teams provided demos of their robots.
The program would not have been possible without tremendous support from 4-H volunteers and staff, STEM Discovery Lab advisory board members and community volunteers. Seeing the excitement among the youth was definitely a rewarding experience for all. We look forward to hosting this event again next year.
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