4-H Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Initiative
These efforts aim to develop new and strengthen existing programmatic opportunities for California 4-H that align closely with the new UC ANR Strategic Vision 2025.
The goals of the 4-H STEM Initiative are to:
- improve youth science literacy through educational programming, grounded in youth development and educational practices as outlined in the UC 4-H Youth Development Program Framework, that uses high quality curricula and educators prepared by using research-based professional development strategies
- support the advancement of the research-base of youth nonformal science education
- support the implementation efforts through systematic approaches to the development of programs, professional preparation, curriculum and applied research, and fund development.
For Economic Prosperity and National Security
Scientific literacy positively impacts our nation’s economic prosperity and national security. American has a shortage of scientists and engineers to meet future demand.
For a Functioning Democracy
Young people in the United States are the future leaders and voting public who will help shape the state of public policy in the 21st century. In order to take on this role effectively, youth need scientific knowledge, skills, and opportunities to apply these in authentic participation to address important societal issues, including challenges around public health, water quality, agriculture, transportation, communication, and energy conservation.
As Preparation for Life
As the world grows ever more complex and reliant on science and technology, young people will need to be scientifically literate in preparation for the 21st century workforce and in order to be critical consumer of information (and the media).
Low Levels of Scientific Literacy in California and the U.S.
Unfortunately, scientific literacy in the U.S. is undesirably low: California ranks 49th in 8th grade science literacy and only 21% of seniors are considered proficient in science (NCES, 2011).
Youth Learning Outcomes
While the 4-H program advances a long term goal to increase the number and diversity of youth pursuing higher education and careers in science, engineering, and technology fields, it is not our intent to only prepare future scientists. 4-H science programs are designed to help youth see science as a powerful tool to make sense of and construct knowledge about the world; address and think about issues in their lives that involve science, engineering, and technology; and connect learning with real-world situations where youth can adopt and use new science methods or improved technology to solve problems.
Anchor Points of Scientific Literacy
Read the full paper: Scientific literacy: California 4-H defines it from citizens’ perspective
Based on the UC ANR Strategic Vision 2025 and a focus-on-situations orientation, the expected learning goals for youth participation in 4-H science programming include four intertwined anchor points: science content; scientific reasoning skills; interest and attitude; and contribution through applied participation. These anchor points provide guideposts for curriculum and program development, teaching and evaluation, and are flexible enough for adaptation to local needs and situations.
Targeted outcomes include enhanced scientific literacy and improved indicators of positive youth development.
|I. Youth Scientific Literacy
|II. Positive youth development
Learning experiences facilitated by trained, caring adult staff and volunteers who operate from a perspective that youth are partners in their own development.
|A. Educational practices|
|B. Youth development practices - Book & Summary Flyer
|C. Organization of learning experiences - Learning experiences are organized in a sequence (multiple contacts; extended duration) to reinforce one another; concepts build upon one another over time.|
|D. Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) - Learning experiences support NGSS cross-cutting concepts - NGSS website & Summary Flyer|
|E. Evaluation - Learning experiences include opportunities for evaluation.|
4-H STEM Leadership Team
Title: Youth, Families and Communities Advisor
Specialty: Program and curriculum development; Garden-enhanced nutrition education; Experiential learning
Unit: Placer-Nevada Counties
Title: County Director San Benito County & 4-H Youth Development Advisor
Specialty: Youth Science and Technology
County: San Benito County
Phone: 831-637-5346 x 12
Martin H Smith
Title: Specialist in Cooperative Extension, Youth Scientific Literacy
Specialty: Youth science education; scientific literacy; curriculum development; educator professional development; inquiry-based learning; experiential learning
Unit: Veterinary Medicine Extension
Phone: (530) 752-6894
Steven M Worker
Title: 4-H STEM Coordinator (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics)
Specialty: Learning in out-of-school contexts; STEM education; community development
Unit: Youth, Families, and Communities Statewide Program
Phone: (530) 750-1341