Submitted by Carolyn Belczyk –
OSU extension staff from four counties collaborated with Shawnee State University faculty, students, and staff to provide a Maker Festival for members of the 4-H Tech Wizards program on Saturday, Oct. 22. The Festival was held at Shawnee and featured tours and demonstrations in the Chemistry, Plastics Engineering Technology, and Gaming Simulation departments; a stop in the University Center; and Maker Stations and demonstrations in the Teacher Education Building.
More than 65 4-H Tech Wizards from Adams, Jackson, Lawrence, and Scioto counties participated in the event with their adult and teen mentors. The 4-H Tech Wizards program is funded through a grant from the 4-H National Mentoring Program with the goals of providing youth with strong positive adult and teen role models and opportunities to participate in a variety of authentic STEM experiences. The event at Shawnee exposed participants to multiple STEM focused majors and potential careers and provided youth with opportunities to explore and participate in a variety of STEM activities at the Maker stations.
Each of the 4-H Tech Wizards groups provided and staffed a Maker station. The Lawrence County group provided the Hay Kicker or Pumpkin Chunkin’ station, where youth engineered a catapult. Scioto County provided and staffed an Ag Bot station, where youth engineered harvesting equipment powered by Hex Bugs. The Jackson County group provided KEVA plank activities, and the group from Adams County provided two stations: a Color Blob activity staffed by North Adams Elementary School 4-H Tech Wizards youth and mentors, and Sphero Chariot Races, staffed by Peebles Elementary School teen mentors.
Additional Maker stations and demonstrations included a 3-D printing demonstration and LED light saber activity provided by Jamie Seger and family. Seger is an education technology specialist with the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES) at The Ohio State University.
Eric Romich, a field specialist in energy development with OSU Extension based in Ottawa County, provided a solar demonstrator unit and related solar energy activities. Joe, Jo, and Jason Shuman, active members and advisors with the Ross County 4-H program, provided a robotics demonstration and related activities.
In addition, Adams County 4-H teens staffed several stations. Molly Bauman, Otway, worked with youth to make solar cockroaches; Kelsea Hamilton, West Union, staffed the LED ghosts station; and Jace Howard, Stout, worked with youth to create circuits and play pianos with marshmallows, fruits, and vegetables using Makey Makey kits and software.
Dr. Xiaodan Huang, Professor and Chair, Department of Teacher Education at Shawnee, and Timothy Davis, Coordinator, Clinical and Field Experience, worked with OSU Extension staff Carolyn Belczyk, Adams County and Jo Williams and Josi Brodt-Evans, Scioto County, to plan and implement the event.
The Maker stations and demonstrations were held in the Teacher Education Building, just off campus, and students from that and other departments on campus led the tours. Drs. Skip Miller and Adam Miller and their students in Engineering Technology facilitated the demonstrations and activities in the Plastics Engineering Technology and Gaming Simulation departments, and Dr. Andy Napper facilitated the demonstrations and activities in the Chemistry department.
Participating 4-H Tech Wizards received a goodie bag from Shawnee State University and a tour of the University Center, as well. Apples for the event were donated by Fuhrmann Orchards, LLC, Minford, OH.
The Maker Movement is part of the global do-it-yourself, innovation movement sweeping the globe. Maker Faires® and festivals are held around the world. According to Paul Hill, Specialist with Utah State University Extension, “‘Making’ is gaining traction as a strategy to engage young people in building their science abilities. A Maker is someone who makes stuff: robots, crafts, furniture, art, or electronic gadgets. Riding the wave of the Maker Movement should be critically important to 4-H programs because many of these Maker projects incorporate a variety of STEM topics.” Participants in the event at Shawnee had a great time, while experiencing STEM. They had some fun, met and interacted with 4-H Tech Wizards from other counties, and were exposed to several STEM focused majors and potential careers during the campus tour portion of the program.