When people think of 4-H or agriculture, they might imagine fields filled with golden corn being plowed over by green tractors, snow-colored cotton being stretched over rolling hills, or a rusty, red barn with the loud hullabaloo of animals inside. However, they never picture the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) that go behind it all in order to make it possible. The corn was carefully planted in a manner to grow and harvest it with ease. The cotton was subjected to a machine that precisely singled out every seed. The tractor’s engine was meticulously engineered to endure several hard years of labor and the tractor’s body was designed to carefully till the soil. STEM is everywhere in our lives, especially in agriculture.

One STEM project through 4-H is the Discover Scientific Method Poster Contest or science fair. Science fair projects are not about facing what is simple and can be googled for a single, one-word answer, but rather searching for what is not known or apparent to us. Science doesn’t favor any specific kind of person. In other words, you don’t have to be a “nerd” to participate. Science doesn’t care what you look like or how you do your hair in the mornings. Science Fair is applicable to everyone because science is in every aspect of our lives. Whether it is testing the vibrations in music, building a model airplane, or calculating the statistics of a “Hail Mary Pass” from various teams down a football field, science is a part of it.

While the “requirements” may vary by contest, the general requirements are fairly lenient on what type of project you wish to conduct. They have divisions for animal systems, power/tech/environmental systems, food systems, plant systems, and even Agricultural Sociology. So, whether it be building a robot or studying human behavior, there is room for it in the 4-H agricultural science fair.

Science Fair is about being curious about something and finding an answer through the scientific method. It is about slowly building solutions to the problems of our world and gaining skills throughout the process. During the fabrication or building of your project, you can gain technical skills you may need for the future. During the presentation of your project, you can gain the public speaking skills you will need in order to thrive in your upcoming career.

As our technology grows, STEM becomes further and further integrated into our daily lives in agriculture and with it, our project diversity grows, too. 4-H has several projects that are alluring to all. Its unique project range sets it into the ideal position to educate our youth about leadership, community service, and ways to better ourselves and our community.

If you are interested in expanding your horizons and serving our community with your head, heart, hands, and health (4-H), contact our local Guadalupe County Extension office at its website, Guadalupe.agrilife.org , or our County Extension Agent Matt Miranda at 830-303-3889.

Megan Clark is a six-year member of Guadalupe County 4-H. She is a 4-H ambassador specializing in STEM, Livestock and Leadership.

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