Cochrane- Fountain City Youth Chug Full STEAM Ahead Towards Endless Learning Opportunities

Buffalo County youth experienced a summer full of STEAM! The youth of the Cochrane- Fountain City 4-H Afterschool program, along with other local young people participated in the wonders of STEAM Discovery Days. Youth were provided an opportunity to use Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics through fun and engaging hands-on activities.

The program was conducted Tuesdays in June and July at the Cochrane-Fountain City School. During the many sessions throughout the summer young scientists explored topography maps, drones, the properties of quicksand, infrastructure safety, the harm of UV rays, aerospace and gravity, electrolytes, cells and viruses, archeology and many more hands on experiments. Through these experiments youth explored all aspects of STEAM in a fun-filled environment.

There were 53 students who attended the program over the course of the summer. The purpose of STEAM Discovery Days was to help students gain a better understanding of STEAM while practicing skills like critical thinking, problem solving, collaboration, communication and decision making skills. The program aims to help bridge a gap between the academic years and fall with the goal of retention efforts.

Parents were provided an opportunity to give feedback on how they felt their child(ren) enjoyed the program. Some responses were that they enrolled their child in this program because they, “Wanted them to have the opportunity to engage their [children’s] brains over the summer and all of their friends participate too”, and that “The very knowledgeable, enthusiastic, responsive, responsible, and engaged staff was highly valued and appreciated” as well as they are “Very much looking forward to sending their child again in the future”. Parents reported their children seemed to enjoy all of the activities, but catapult building, lip balm making, earthquake resistance and fossil excavation were some of their favorites. According to the survey, 100% of respondents said they would most likely or absolutely encourage their child to participate in another STEAM Discovery Days or similar program coordinated by UW-Extension. Overall, responses were very positive towards this summer educational program.

STEAM Discovery Days were led by the UW-Extension, Buffalo County 4-H Youth Development Summer Intern Cassie Kees, with the leadership of 4-H Afterschool staff Briana Wolfe, Allison Doelle, Kashes Franz, Abbey Killian, Sawyer Gibson, Tiffani Skroch, Lexi Schmidtkneckt, and Deanna Wiersgalla along with youth 4-H counselor Dirk Wilson. A special thanks to Buffalo County 4-H Youth Development Educator Annie Lisowski and the rest of the UW-Extension team. Thank you to all the parents who brought their children to this fun filled program.

Caption: Pictured Left to Right: Kylie Broxson, Ashlynn Kalmes, Olivia Stanton, Bailey Kujak, and Arden Hayter had fun creating their own Geometrocity.

Caption: Olivia Stanton, Abbey Killian, and Arden Hayter are all smiles while making juice into noodles!

Caption: Rylan Patzner and Karter Gibson created an earthquake resistant structure using teamwork.

Caption: Lexi Schmidtkneckt lead youth in building a water way to transport fluids from one cup to the other using gravity.

Caption: Abbey Killian (pictured right) engages youth (pictured left to right: Stevie Meyer and Aiden Auth) in testing the electrolytes in several different liquids and comparing the similarities and differences between them.

Caption: Pictured left to right: Row 1- Addison Welch, Grant Yapp, Andee Renchin, Row 2- Imani-Rose Elliot, Alivia Elliot, Sawyer Gibson, Arden Hayter, and Karter Gibson are proudly holding up their handmade and self-propelled propcopters, while spending some time learning about drones and what they could be used for in the future.

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