Linn County 4-H teamed up with Parametric Studio, an educational technology company that specializes in engineering-centric, project-based STEM software, and the NASA Iowa Space Grant Consortium to inspire youth to ‘take flight’ into STEM at a 4-H Science of Flight day camp.
During the August 1 program offering 16 kindergarten, first, and second grade youth partnered with 4-H staff for a unique learning experience. Youth practiced teamwork through developing an aircrew flight badge and explored principles of flight, such as lift and center of gravity, while flying balsa planes, competing in an airplane flight contest, and completing an egg-carry mission with foam gliders specially designed by Chris Whitmer with Parametric Studio, Inc. 4-H staff and Chris partnered with youth to test the foam glider prototypes. Youth explored effects of wing positioning and weight on flight patterns while caring adults fostered an inquiry-based learning environment that encouraged teamwork and youth-led solutions. After initial fights, teams explored cargo planes and payload while being tasked with creating a payload carrier that could protect an egg during glider flight.
Four teams of youth creatively designed carriers using everyday materials like drinking straws, pipe cleaners, plastic bags, and paper cups. Teams strategically placed and attached the cargo carriers to the gliders using what they learned about center of gravity in the previous flight activity. Youth participants excitedly watched each flight test and voted on whether they thought the cargo survived the glider’s flight. At the end of the activity, teams were awarded certificates for most creative design, best teamwork, and more!
The Iowa Space Grant Consortium loved working with the 4-H Science of Flight day camp and 4-H Linn County.