Seventh-grader Sean Ingram knows what it takes to be a scientist, thanks to a Purdue Extension program.
Sean built and programmed robots in the Purdue Extension-Union County 4-H SET (Science, Engineering, Technology) Club with 24 other youths. Working on the robots was fun and gave club members a hands-on experience with science. They learned how to solve problems like a scientist, developed engineering skills, and honed their computer programming skills.
“It’s exciting to me because you can learn extra things from others in the group and you can have fun while you’re at it,” Sean says. “It’s not like sitting in a classroom. It’s the exact opposite — it’s fun.”
Purdue Extension Educator Jennifer Logue facilitated the program and stresses the importance of introducing youth to science concepts and careers.
“We don’t have a lot of money in our community to offer a lot of programs for our youth,” says Logue. “Every opportunity that we make available to them to enable them to be successful is very important.”
That opportunity has expanded Sean’s understanding of science careers.
“I didn’t really know what an engineer was until I went to this class,” he says. “Now, I know engineers design and build things. They use scientific inquiry.”
To further expand youths’ views of science and scientists, the program also includes a field trip to the Cincinnati Museum of Natural History and Sciences. The robotics course was funded through a generous grant from Cargill to Union County’s 4-H Youth Development Program.