The wide-ranging menu featured unlikely matches: strawberry jam, physics, horses and movies. It must be summer at 4-H.
The UMass Extension 4-H Youth Development program was in full gear June 26-28 as they engaged 59 students from across the state in active hands-on learning on the campus at UMass Amherst. Each year young people have the opportunity to select a track of study where they spend the day exploring a field of science with faculty, staff or a professional in the field. Their experience is rounded off with short workshops and other activities that expose these middle and high school students to a wide array of scientific fields. Another benefit for 4-H campers is that they get a taste of college life as they sleep in dorms and eat in campus dining halls.
UMass Amherst’s nationally-recognized Chenoweth Food Science laboratory hosted a group that chose to understand how food is safely processed form the farm to fork. They made jars of jam from local strawberries they picked fresh that morning. Amanda Kinchla, Extension Assistant Professor, introduced food safety concepts and taught them about choosing high quality crops for their product. Students proudly took home their red-jeweled jars of jam.
Rising UMass senior and facilitator, Angela Essa, joined Professor Heath Hatch to offer an exploration of the human body through physics. Essa, also a 4-H alumni, was enthusiastic in her support of young students learning critical thinking skills. She was part of the planning team that developed new tracks for Summer of Science. Goals for this track were to develop skills in areas of logic while obtaining tangible knowledge for the future. Judging by enthusiastic responses to challenges: mission accomplished!
UMass Hadley Farm found 4-H students from across the state engaging in hands-on animal activities as they explored the veterinarian profession. A highlight for students was when they viewed a horse fetus on ultrasound and taking vital signs. Social media also had a good share of interest as up and coming filmmakers created movies using an iPad Air.
Through a partnership with Hanscom base in Bedford and Massachusetts 4-H, a National Aviation Day event will be held on August 19, expanding even more opportunities for youth in the Commonwealth.