College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences

4-H Youth Development

Out-of-school informal learning activities can improve the overall well-being and long-term success of youth. These opportunities are especially important for children who might encounter more obstacles to academic achievement and social and emotional development, and sometimes have fewer occasions for positive social interaction with their peers.

4-H is the largest youth organization in the U.S., and Cooperation Extension 4-H programs reach youth through traditional 4-H clubs, special interest clubs, and after-school programs. Through hands-on learning experiences, 4-Hers from grade school through high school explore scientific topics, learn to be engaged citizens and students, and develop leadership qualities that enhance their academic success and self-confidence. 

Building Community in the Classroom and Promoting Learning Beyond Its Four Walls

Our unique workshops and programs give kids a head start. For example, our STEM classroom on wheels, digital literacy programs, and hands-on health exhibitions are all designed to care for the welfare of tomorrow's leaders and inspire interest in agriculture and emerging technology. From urban areas to rural communities, we also serve as a resource for parent education, providing tools and knowledge to strengthen families.  

4-H Programs Inspire Children to Learn About Agriculture, STEM and Leadership Development

4-H is a national youth organization that helps young people learn about science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) through hands-on activities and leadership development. 

In partnership with Cooperative Extension at N.C. A&T, 4-H has established programs like Innovation Station (link), Tech Changemakers, Game of Drones and Speedway to Healthy; provides training and resources for teachers and community based organizations, including lesson plans for teaching science and agricultural literacy; and offer training for parents so they can use these lessons at home with their children and further the well-being of the community.

Tech Changemakers Promotes Digital Literacy

More than 20 million people in the U.S. don't have broadband internet access. The National 4-H Council addresses this digital gap with the Tech Changemakers program, empowering teens to lead digital skills training and educate lawmakers on the importance of broadband access. This program focuses on building community by leveraging the tech savvy of teens to teach digital skills to members of their community. Teens teach adults skills such as how to build a professional resume in Microsoft Word, or how to effectively use videoconferencing platforms such as Zoom or Microsoft Teams. 

The Tech Changemakers initiative is a free program for youth ages 13 to 18 that equips them with leadership and digital literacy skills through interactive workshops and hands-on activities. Through training in public speaking, program development, and specific Tech Changemakers lessons,  instructors guide teens to develop critical 21st-century skills that will help them succeed both academically and professionally.   

Meet Zamaria Kinsey of Sunbury, N.C., National 4-H Tech Changemaker:

4-H Tech Changemakers' Impact

Speedway to Healthy Educates Children About Wellness

Speedway to Healthy is an interactive, walk-through exhibit designed to help elementary-aged children learn about their bodies and healthy lifestyle choices. Through the exhibit and standards-based classroom activities, kindergarten through fifth grade students explore healthy eating, body systems, and wellness practices. Speedway to Healthy is dedicated to enhancing childhood health and nutritional knowledge throughout North Carolina.

The Speedway to Healthy Exhibit consists of eleven pitstops. As the students race through the exhibit, they gain a deeper understanding of the various organ functions and explore the interplay between nutrition and healthy lifestyle choices.

The eleven "pit stops" within Speedway to Healthy encompass:

  1. The Starting Line: Learning the essential nutrition of the MyPlate food groups.
  2. Brain: Understanding the importance of brain health and nutrition.
  3. Mouth: Exploring oral hygiene and its connection to overall well-being.
  4. Stomach: Unraveling the role of nutrition in stomach health.
  5. Small Intestine: Learning how dietary choices affect the small intestine.
  6. Heart: Discovering the significance of heart health and proper nutrition.
  7. Lungs: Understanding the relationship between lung health and lifestyle choices.
  8. Kidneys: Exploring the role of kidneys in the body and their nutritional requirements.
  9. Bones: Delving into bone health and the impact of diet on bones.
  10. Muscles: Learning how nutrition and exercise influence muscle health.
  11. Skin: Understanding the connection between skincare and overall well-being.

Speedway to Healthy is a dynamic educational tool offering a hands-on, memorable experience for children to grasp essential health concepts. To learn more about hosting this interactive exhibit, visit the Speedway to Healthy website.”

Innovation Station Is A STEM Machine

Innovation Station is an interactive science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) lab on wheels that creates both outdoor and indoor learning opportunities. Inside the 41-foot bus students and community members can partake in 15 workstations, including one wheelchair-accessible desk. Outside, under a 20-foot awning, we make use of an interactive monitor and a public address system for outdoor programming. 

Innovation Station brings hands-on learning opportunities to both students and community members with hands-on activities and classes. 

  • Robotics 
  • Video Game Design 
  • 3D Modeling and Printing 
  • Computer Software Programming 
  • Renewable Energy 
  • Micro: bit Block-Coding 
  • Structural Engineering 
  • Maglev

Game of Drones Creates Coding Mastery

4-H teaches youth to be leaders; Game of Drones teaches some of them to be “Ruler of Earth and Sky.” 

Game of Drones, offered by the 4-H STEM program of Cooperative Extension at N.C. A&T in collaboration with STEMerald City LLC, a Fayetteville-based organization that provides STEM tutoring and hands-on learning, teaches students how to code and pilot drones. 

“It is vital that we provide opportunities for students that lack access to technology to participate and gain skills and exposure to concepts that will better prepare them for the future workforce,” said Misty Blue-Terry, Ph.D., 4-H STEM specialist for Extension at A&T. “Coding will be one of the most sought after skills as it cuts across so many different industries. This is a fun way to learn coding and see the results of your work.” 

Learn More about Game of Drones