4-H Youth Development Program
University of California
4-H Youth Development Program

Resources for 4-H Staff and Volunteers

Professional Development

Tools of the Trade II is a after school staff-development guide that uses a “train-the-trainer” approach to deliver a comprehensive 21½ -hour training for afterschool program frontline staff and youth workers on incorporating science, engineering, and technology (SET) into afterschool programming. Using a handson, interactive skill-building approach, it provides tools drawn from research and best practices to help afterschool staff enhance communication, management, and educational delivery of afterschool programs. Each session provides complete instructions, readily available supplies and session evaluations.

4-H Science Professional Development Connection newsletters - The 4-H Science Professional Development Connection is a newsletter provided by National 4-H Council to connect land grant university professionals to training and resources available to increase skills and knowledge to deliver 4-H Science to youth.

4-H Science Promising Practices published by the National 4-H Council in their 4-H Science Professional Development Connection e-newsletter.

National 4-H Science Professional Development Website
Contains resources and Materials for building understanding, implementing programs, and evaluation efforts. Two of these include:

Using Inquiry-Based Learning to Support 4-H Science
This online course includes three-lessons to prepare professionals and volunteers to use inquiry-based learning when facilitating 4-H Science programs.
Inquiry-Based Learning Videos

4-H Fund Development Toolkit
The 4-H Fund Development Toolkit combines learning modules along with practical tools and resources to enhance your fundraising for 4-H Science as well as 4-H's other mission areas. Whether you are new to fundraising, looking to strengthen your existing fund development skills, or searching for ways to engage leadership, staff and/or volunteers in mission driven philanthropy for 4-H, the toolkit has something to offer.

4-H Experiential Learning Website
This website contains three modules with activities to use with 4-H staff and volunteers.

  • I. Understanding the Experiential Learning Cycle
  • II. Inquiry-Based Learning and the Experiential Learning Cycle
  • III. Developing and Adapting Curricula to Integrate Experiential Learning

Carlson & Maxa. (1997) "Science Guidelines for Nonformal Education"
The purpose of the science guidelines is to encourage understanding of science and technology, address guidelines from a nonformal perspective, and assure that nonformal guidelines are compatible with other science standards. This document will be used to evaluate existing program curricula; guide the development of new science curriculum; judge a particular program's potential to fulfill the vision of a scientifically literate society; and enhance the quality of programs that were designed to improve youth's opportunity and ability to learn science.

Selection of California 4-H Presentations and Publications




 UC Delivers

Marketing & Promotion

The need for science literacy

  • Committee on Prospering in the Global Economy of the 21st Century: An Agenda for American Science Technology (2007). Rising above the gathering storm: Energizing and employing America for a brighter economic future. Washington, D.C.: The National Academies Press.  Available from http://www.nap.edu/catalog.php?record_id=11463

  • Fleischman, H.L., Hopstock, P.J., Pelczar, M.P., and Shelley, B.E. (2010). Highlights from PISA 2009: Performance of U.S. 15-year-old students in reading, mathematics, and science literacy in an international context (NCES 2011-004). U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office. Available from http://nces.ed.gov/pubs2011/2011004.pdf

  • National Center for Education Statistics (2011). The nation’s report card: Science 2009. (NCES 2011-451). Washington, D.C.: Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education. Available from http://nces.ed.gov/nationsreportcard/pdf/main2009/2011451.pdf

  • Gonzales, P., Williams, T., Jocelyn, L., Roey, S., Kastberg, D., and Brenwald, S. (2008). Highlights from TIMSS 2007: Mathematics and science achievement of U.S. fourth- and eighth-grade students in an international context (NCES 2009–001 Revised). Washington, D.C.: National Center for Education Statistics, Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education. Available from http://nces.ed.gov/pubs2009/2009001.pdf.

Research on the Effectiveness of Informal/Nonformal Science Education

  • 4-H Study of Positive Youth Development - Wave 6 (2008) - SET Findings

  • 4-H Study of Positive Youth Development - Wave 6 (2008) - SET Findings POWERPOINT

  • 4-H SET Fact Sheet (2009)

  • National Research Council. (2009). Learning science in informal environments: People, places, and pursuits. Washington D.C.: The National Academies Press. Available from http://www.nap.edu/catalog.php?record_id=12190
  • Fenichel, M., & Schweingruber, H. A. (2010). Surrounded by science: Learning science in informal environments. Washington D. C.: The National Academies Press. Available from http://www.nap.edu/catalog.php?record_id=12614
  • Harlen, Wynne. (2001). Primary science: Taking the plunge: how to teach science more effectively for ages 5 to 12. While focused on classroom science teaching, the pedagogy and advice given fits right in with 4-H SET. It was accessible and easily understandable. Every 4-H volunteer involved with 4-H science programming should read it!    
  • Rahm, Jrene. (2010). Science in the making at the margin: A multisited ethnography of learning and becoming in an afterschool program, a garden, and math and science upward bound program. roadens our understanding of learning science, using research in sociocultural learning, which includes developing identities, motivations, and participation in authentic communities. "This book explores youths meaning making of science and co-constructions of new levels of understands of science, as well as how they come to position themselves in relation to science through participate in science practices at the margin."
  • Furtak, E.M., Seidel, T., Iverson, H., & Briggs, D.C. (2012). Experimental and quasi-experimental studies of inquiry-based science teaching: A meta-analysis. Review of Educational Research, 82(3), 300-329.
  • Shirk, J. et al. (2010). Public participation in scientific research: A framework for deliberate design. Ecology and Society, 17(2). Available from http://www.ecologyandsociety.org/vol17/iss2/art29/

Research on 4-H Science Education

  • Heck, K., Carlos, R., Barnett, C. & Smith, M. (2012). 4-H participation and science interest in youth. Journal of Extension, 50(2). Available from http://www.joe.org/joe/2012april/a5p.shtml
  • Barker, B., Grandgenett, N., & Nugent, G. (2009). A new model of 4-H volunteer development in science, engineering, and technology programs. Journal of Extension 47(2). Available from http://www.joe.org/joe/2009april/iw4.php
  • Bourdeau, V. (2004). 4-H experiential education – A model for 4-H science as inquiry. Journal of Extension 42(5). Available from http://www.joe.org/joe/2004october/tt3.php
  • Bourdeau, V. D. & Arnold, M. E. (2009). The science process skills inventory. Corvallis, OR: 4-H Youth Development Education, Oregon State University. Available at http://www.pearweb.org/atis/tools/18
  • Heck, K. (2009). 4-H impacts young people’s interest in science, engineering, and technology: Data from the 4-H study of positive youth development. Fact Sheet. UC Davis, CA: 4-H Center for Youth Development. Available from http://www.ca4h.org/files/1319.pdf
  • Horton, B., Gogolski, J., Warkentien, C. (2007). Science, engineering, and technology (SET): Programming in the context of 4-H Youth Development. Chevy Chase, MD: National 4-H Council. Available from http://www.ohio4h.org/publications/documents/SET2007.pdf
  • Kress, C. A., McClanahan, K., & Zaniewski, J. (2008). Revisiting how the U.S. engages young minds in science engineering and technology: A response to the recommendations contained in The National Academies’ “Rising Above the Gathering Storm” report. Chevy Chase, MD: National 4-H Council.
  • Mielke, M., LaFleur, J., & Sanzone, J. (2010). 4-H science, engineering and technology (SET) initiative: Youth engagement, attitudes, and knowledge study. Washington, D.C.: Policy Studies Associates. YEAK Final Report Executive Summary Spring 2010
  • Smith, M., Dasher, H., & Klingborg, D. (2005). A model for recruiting and training youth development volunteers in urban areas. Journal of Extension. 43(5). Available from http://www.joe.org/joe/2005october/a6.php
  • Smith, M. & Enfield, R. (2002). Training 4-H teen facilitators in inquiry-based science methods: the evaluation of a “step-up” incremental training model. Journal of Extension, 40(6). Available from http://www.joe.org/joe/2002december/a3.php
  • Smith, M., Meehan, C., Enfield, R., George, J., & Chin Young, J. (2004). Improving county-based science programs: bringing out the science teacher in your volunteer leaders. Journal of Extension, 42(6). Available from http://www.joe.org/joe/2004december/a5.php
  • Worker, S. (2013). Embracing Scientific and Engineering Practices in 4-H. Journal of Extension, 51(3). Available from http://www.joe.org/joe/2013june/iw3.php


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