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Local 4-H observes National Youth Science Day
Rockets to the Rescue experiment melds STEM skills, humanitarianism
Liberty County 4-H Program Assistant Gypsy James, left, and 4-H member Courtney Kuelling, center, look on as other 4-H members prepare for the "Rockets to the Rescue" experiment Thursday in the historic Liberty County courthouse. - photo by Photo by Jeremy McAbee

Liberty County 4-H members celebrated National 4-H Week by participating in National Youth Science Day last Wednesday.

According to the 4-H website, National Youth Science Day is “an exciting, interactive learning experience that engages thousands of youth across the country in conducting the National Science Experiment.”

The 2014 National Science Experiment, titled “Rockets to the Rescue,” was developed by the University of Arizona. Participants built and launched their own rockets to learn about rocket science and aerospace engineering.

Liberty County 4-H Program Assistant Gypsy James led local 4-H members through the experiment in the multi-purpose room on the first floor of the historic Liberty County Courthouse.

The scope of the experiment was to build a rocket that would deliver food and supplies to natural-disaster victims on a fictitious island. The experiment was designed to engage students in engineering concepts, math skills and nutrition principles as well as expose them to a real-world issue.

“Your job … is not to build a rocket that goes the farthest or the highest,” James explained to a roomful of youth. “Your job is to build a rocket that is going to hit the target.”

Participants used PVC pipe, 2-liter soda bottles and other household supplies to build a propulsion system that would launch the rocket toward its destination. The students then conducted trial launches to test their rockets before attaching the payload of food.

“(The students) are engineers today, so they’re going to think of different things to add to it to make sure that it flies straight or that it flies to where it needs to go,” James said.

A handful of 4-H parents looked on as their children worked with peers to accomplish the task.

“I think (4-H) is a great place for kids to come to stay out of trouble and interact with other children,” said Patricia Kuelling, mother of two 4-H members. “They make projects, go to competitions … a lot of agricultural-type things.”

Kuelling’s oldest daughter, Courtney, last year received a $1,000 grant from the National Future Farmers of America organization as a result of 4-H programming that got her involved in raising chickens.

According to James, 4-H is open to youth ages 9-19. For more information, call James or 4-H County Extension Agent Kasey Bozeman at 876-2133.

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