John Essex fourth-graders become 4-H Innovators
Through a new program developed by State of Alabama 4-H Staff called 4-H Innovators, and piloted this year by 4-H Regional Extension Agents, they are attempting to build such skills as critical thinking, problem solving, teamwork and experimentation through the tradition of “hands-on” learning.
4-H Innovators is being piloted in fourth grades around the state, but can be used with other grades, as well. Susan Thompson, 4-H REA for Choctaw and Marengo Counties, recently taught the 4-H I lessons to the fourth grade at John Essex High School.
The program consisted of a pre-evaluation, a lesson on tech or non-tech, a lesson on mining, where the students mined for chocolate chips from a cookie, building a tower from spaghetti noodles and a post-evaluation.
Each small group was given tools and supplies for their hands-on experiment and encouraged to plan, implement, and follow-up with their experiment. Afterwards, they were encouraged to think of “investigable questions” which are indicative of inquiry learning.
Jamar McCoy and Paige Williams were the winning team of the spaghetti tower activity because they were the only team who constructed a freestanding tower out of the designated materials that supported a marshmallow on top. In the cookie mining activity, the students learned the “ins and outs” of mining, including that the cost of supplies, labor and reclamation have to be considered before income can be calculated. Next year, more programs will be added to the 4-H Innovators curriculum.
If you would like to learn more about the 4-H Innovators program, call your Regional Extension Agent, Susan Thompson, at 334-790-3870 or your County Extension Office.