Tag Archives: education

Maker program encourages kids to be creative

Maker STEM camp participants build and test electronic circuits to run small engines.

Maker STEM camp participants build and test electronic circuits to run small engines.

While the robot that 12-year-old T. J. Handy made at Maker STEM camp worked perfectly fine indoors, it struggled to move over the sandy terrain when he took it outside. Instead of getting frustrated, T. J. simply went back inside, adjusted the robot’s suspension, and tried again. This time, it worked.

Handy is one of the 22 middle school students who participated in Maker STEM camp at the Georgetown School in Hanover County, Virginia, last summer.

Maker is an after-school and summer camp program put on by 4-H. Trained adult leaders teach students the principles of STEM — science, technology, engineering, and math — through a learn-by-doing philosophy. Maker coaches lead campers through demonstrations on the day’s lesson, such as robotics. Then, the campers create their own models. The coaches encourage creativity and try to eliminate the fear of failure. This enables students to look at problems they run into as challenges to overcome, rather than as failures.

“The kids look at troubleshooting as just another part of making,” said Rita Schalk, 4-H youth development Extension agent in Hanover County.

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Virginia Agriculture Leaders Obtaining Results

VALOR participants

VALOR participants. For more information, visit www.valor.aee.vt.edu

Over the past year, the inaugural Virginia Agriculture Leaders Obtaining Results class has viewed farming and food policy in the state from just about every angle. They visited tomato farmers on the Eastern Shore, underwent media training at TV stations, discussed agricultural policy with Gov. Bob McDonnell, and glimpsed agriculture from a new perspective — that of the federal government.

The VALOR Program, led by faculty members in the Department of Agricultural and Extension Education, began in 2012 with the aim of giving agricultural professionals around the state the tools to be able to create collaborative solutions and promote the industry. The first class includes teachers, farmers, and bankers, among others. After the two-year program is over, VALOR Fellows will serve as advocates and ambassadors for agriculture — both within the industry and with the general public. Continue reading

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