Education - 4-H Youth
This five year scale-up project is based on the successful Nebraska Robotics and GPS/GIS in 4-H: Workforce Skills for the 21st Century NSF ITEST project (ESI-0624591). This project will bring the innovative Robotics and GPS/GIS in 4-H curriculum and educational resources to youth across the country. The scale-up project consists of nine key components:
- An educational robotics kit with programming software (the CEENbot developed by the SPIRIT 2.0 robotics team at the University of Nebraska). Curriculum for youth, supporting over 300 hours of instruction over two years.
- An educator’s guide to accompany the youth curriculum.
- Professional development opportunities for informal educators, coordinated through a tiered train-the-trainer program.
- Summer camps centered on robotics and GPS/GIS activities.
- IT and STEM career exploration opportunities as part of the curriculum.
- Annual national 4-H robotics virtual competitions.
- Camp-in-a-box organizational resources for summer camps.
- An innovative cyberinfrastructure component to support youth and adults.
- The scope of the Nebraska project will be extended from 150 students to approximately 4800 students, representing 5% of the 4-H clubs nationwide, over the five year scale-up project. Informal educators (club leaders, afterschool educators, and parents) will lead groups at over 480 sites to reach the youth participating in the project.
This project is designed to address the critical need to improve STEM education in the United States and to prepare and inspire students to enter STEM and IT careers. The project will demonstrate the depth of student’s learning and attitudinal changes by extending and broadening the research techniques used in the Nebraska project. This included a pre- and post- STEM content knowledge assessment to evaluate student learning and results demonstrated significant score increases across the sites participating in the program. The scale-up project will continue to use the content knowledge assessment as well as an instrument to assess students’ attitudes and intentions toward STEM and IT careers. These assessments will be measured against a comparison group of students who do not receive any robotics or GPS/GIS instruction. In addition, the project will measure the informal educators’ content knowledge and confidence in presenting the curriculum to youth as we assess the effectiveness of the professional development program.
In collaboration with our partners, the National 4-H Council and the National Afterschool Association, this project will take a unique approach to improving STEM education by providing informal educators the tools they need to make a real difference for youth across the nation.
Learn more at the GEAR-Tech-21 website.