4-H youth take on Missouri 4-H Robotics and STEM Challenge

  • Published: Thursday, April 25, 2019

COLUMBIA, Mo. – Youth gathered on the University of Missouri campus in Columbia on April 13 for the Missouri 4-H Robotics and STEM Challenge.

“These young people exhibited the skills and knowledge gained in the robotics and computer science projects,” said Lynna Lawson, University of Missouri Extension 4-H youth development specialist.

During various challenges, youth showed their ability to design, assemble and program simple robots to perform specific tasks. Virtual challenges allowed participants to upload entries demonstrating coding and animation skills. 4-H youth also created exhibits on robotics and STEM.

Mateo Hayward of Cape Girardeau County 4-H was awarded the first Bill Pabst 4-H Opportunity Award for “his selfless characteristics in sharing the joy of science with others.” The late Bill Pabst was an MU Extension 4-H science specialist who shared many opportunities with youth, volunteers and staff to spread nonformal science education to all, Lawson said. Hayward participated in the robotics exhibit with a Lego Mindstorm color sorter and an Animate a Name entry. “He was helpful to other exhibitors and engaged with visitors at the hands-on science displays,” Lawson said.

Other award winners were Matthew Barry and Reid Bennet of Lewis County in the Known Robotics Challenge and Robotics Exhibit; Declan Martin and Jackie Kelly of St. Louis County in Unknown Robot Challenge and Sumo Robots; Kaleb Ledgerwood and Royce Ledgerwood of Oregon County in Animate a Name; Matthew Barry in Turtle Blocks; and Olivia Pfeiffer of St. Louis County in STEM exhibit.

4-H STEM youth committee members Drachen Koester, Kaitlyn Foster and Olivia Pfeiffer served as the emcees and opened the challenge with the U.S. and 4-H pledges.

“Science is often an overwhelming and consequently overlooked subject for young people, but events like the 4-H Robotics and STEM Challenge make science exciting, accessible and relevant,” Lawson said. “Kids will learn about cutting-edge technologies and will be encouraged to continue their science exploration by applying what they’ve learned in their communities and their homes.”

The Missouri 4-H Robotics and STEM Challenge was held in conjunction with Show Me Mizzou Day, a campus open house that featured more than 100 demonstrations, presentations and hands-on activities. The event exposed many visitors to the scope of 4-H. The 4-H Science Matters teen team from St. Louis County engaged with projects making dog toys to raise awareness of abandoned pets; Working on Recycling More (WORM) showed ways to compost and recycle; and ProMO taught about promoting the health of Missourians through healthy living and food security. 4-H Science Matters is funded by a grant sponsored by Bayer and the National 4-H Council to engage teens as teachers with delivery of projects in the community.

Sponsors of the challenge were MFA Inc. and the Missouri 4-H Foundation, with key support from the MU Office of Extension and Engagement.

About 4-H

More than 55,000 members strong, Missouri 4-H is an active, dynamic organization of young people who are learning, growing and preparing to be the leaders of today and tomorrow – making a real difference in their community, country and world. 4-H is the youth development program of the University of Missouri and the nation’s Cooperative Extension System. For more information, visit 4h.missouri.edu.

4-H is a community of 6 million young people across America learning leadership, citizenship and life skills. National 4-H Council is the private sector, nonprofit partner of 4-H national headquarters located at the National Institute of Food and Agriculture within USDA. 4-H programs are implemented by the 109 land-grant universities and the Cooperative Extension System through their 3,100 local extension offices across the country. Learn more about 4-H at www.4-h.org or www.facebook.com/4-H.

Photos available for this release:

Mateo Hayward of Cape Girardeau County won the Bill Pabst 4-H Opportunity Award.

In the Animate a Name challenge, Kaleb Ledgerwood, left, won junior first place, and Royce Ledgerwood won intermediate first place. The Ledgerwoods are from Oregon County.

Declan Martin, left, and Jackie Kelly of St. Louis County won the Unknown Challenge.

Reid Bennett and Matthew Barry of Lewis County were the Known Challenge winners.

Olivia Pfeiffer of St. Louis County won an award for her STEM exhibit, 'Electronic MicroBit Belt Buckle.'

Writer: Lynna Lawson

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Lynna Lawson

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