Photo Gallery | Alabama Youth Participate in 4-H National Youth Science Initiative
About 280 seventh graders at Alexander City Middle School took the Eco-Bot challenge, building a robot and simulating how to clean up an oil spill. They, and about 2,000 other Alabama youth joined millions of young people across the nation to become scientists during the 5th annual 4-H National Youth Science Day (NYSD) initiative.
The youth assembled their own Eco-Bot using a toothbrush head, a watch battery, a tiny motor, foam mounting tape and red and black wires. Once they’ve built their robot, they figured out the best way to use it to clean up an imaginary spill, for this experiment, rice.
NYSD events seek to spark an early youth interest in science and future science careers, and to reclaim the nation's position of leadership in scientific exploration. As part of 4-H NYSD, youth are participating in the 4-H Eco-Bot Challenge: the 2012 National Science Experiment.
“The youth tested how well the Eco-Bot cleaned up the spill, and how their design and various surfaces created different interactions,” said 4-H Science specialist Tony Cook. “They had the challenge of determining the most effective clean-up solution for the simulated spill.”
Alabama 4-H Regional Extension Agent Kirsten Holt, who oversaw the project at Alexander City Middle School, said the experiment really excites youth. “Boys and girls have a great time with this project and you can tell that they have learned from the challenge,” she said. “They are very interested in finding out how something will work better with a design change, how to build something and to see it work. They love figuring out something.”
With Holt were five employees of the Donaldson Company facility in Auburn, who volunteered to help youth with the experiment. The company’s foundation helped to sponsor the national experience and asked its employees to volunteer in communities where they live and work. The Auburn plant employs about 240 workers.
Information Source: Alexander City School District