Arizona 4-H Wins National Science Experiment Competition With 'Rockets to the Rescue'

Paper rockets. Five straws. Four cotton balls. Rubber bands. With the simplest materials, 4-H youth participating in the 2014 4-H National Youth Science Day experiment will learn about aerospace engineering, mathematics, trajectory physics and nutrition. (Photo by Kirk Astroth)
Paper rockets. Five straws. Four cotton balls. Rubber bands. With the simplest materials, 4-H youth participating in the 2014 4-H National Youth Science Day experiment will learn about aerospace engineering, mathematics, trajectory physics and nutrition. (Photo by Kirk Astroth)

Kids are usually told to not throw their food.

But this year, in a nationwide 4-H youth science experiment, kids across the country will not only be encouraged to throw their food, they’ll be taught how to build a rocket to launch it into the sky.

Arizona 4-H, a program of Cooperative Extension in the University of Arizona College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, has won a competition among state 4-H organizations to design a science experiment for the 4-H 2014 National Youth Science Day, happening Oct. 8. Along with national recognition, the Arizona team receives a $20,000 cash prize.

National Youth Science Day is an annual 4-H endeavor to encourage kids to develop interest in STEM fields by hosting a nationwide science day, in which 4-H youth participate in a single science experiment. Since it was begun in 2008, more than 5 million 4-H youth across the country have participated in 4-H Science Day experiments.

Each year, one winning experiment design is selected from proposals submitted by 20 to 30 state 4-H organizations. The proposals are judged by members of the National 4-H Council and a review team that includes scientists and engineers.

Design of this year’s winning aerospace engineering experiment, called “Rockets to the Rescue,” was “truly a cross-campus, cross-community collaboration,” said Kirk Astroth, director of Arizona 4-H Youth Development.

Astroth designed the experiment along with colleagues in UA Cooperative Extension and Pima County 4-H, the UA STEM Learning Center, Flandrau Planetarium, and faculty in the UA College of Engineering, the College of Education and College of Agriculture and Life Sciences' Department of Nutritional Sciences, and collaborators at Raytheon Inc. in Tucson, Northern Arizona University's Center for Science Teaching & Learning, and the Arizona Center for Afterschool Excellence.

For the Science Day experiment, 4-Hers across the country will be presented with a fictional scenario: People are starving on a remote, isolated Pacific atoll called Ceres (named after the Roman goddess of agriculture) and the kids have been asked by NASA to build a rocket that can be launched from mainland, travel over the ocean and deliver high-energy food to the starving population.

Read more from this May 7 UANews article at the link below.

Date released: 
May 15 2014
Contact: 
Kirk Astroth