Science achievement in the United States among K-12 youth has lagged behind many of their grade level peers from other countries for many years, prompting much concern from researchers as well as from federal agencies such as the National Academy of Sciences (2007). Non-formal educational experiences, such as those found in 4-H, play an important role in increasing children's exposure to, and interest in, science. Exposure to 4-H science-related programming in particular appears to be significantly associated with higher-level science coursework taken in high school (Heck, Carlos, Barnett & Smith, 2012).
Research on science programs in non-formal settings has suggested that non-formal science programs have the potential to increase science interest among young people and that these programs can have long-lasting impacts (Heck, Carlos, Barnett & Smith, 2012). The science of agriculture response (SOAR) is designed to integrate and make the cognitive connection that exists between science content standards and 4-H member projects and community interactions.
The University of Minnesota Extension Center for Youth Development has been working to create the Science of Agriculture Response program. SOAR will utilize an experiential learning approach that employs the skills gained from a 4-H project and require students to demonstrate the acquisition of those concepts via a visual presentation. The 4-H members will participate on 3 levels; the local community level, regionally, and at the State 4-H Agriscience Summit. At the state summit, 4-H members will deliver oral presentations about an agriculture issue that exists within their community.
Science of Agriculture Response: Integrating Science and Engineering Concepts into 4-H Youth Development.
University of Minnesota Extension.
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