Kids enjoy hands-on science activities during Washington County Ag Expo & Fair

July 21, 2012|By LAUREN KIRKWOOD |
  • Martin Witmer, right, and grandmother Kay Witmer get the water spout experiment going on Saturday at the 2012 Washington County Ag Expo & Fair at the 4-H Science Activities table where youngsters do hands-on experiments.
By Yvette May/Staff Photographer

While much of the action at the Washington County Ag Expo & Fair centers around the livestock and agricultural events, kids also got a chance to experiment with hands-on science activities at a 4-H STEM table Saturday.

Jamie Kenton, the University of Maryland Extension’s faculty extension assistant for 4-H youth development, said activities geared toward encouraging interest in the science, technology, engineering and math fields are an important part of the 4-H program, and are a popular part of the fair.

“Science is a big push right now, with STEM,” she said. “This fall, we’re starting a robotics program in Washington County.”

On several days during the week, including Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, there will be robotics demonstrations involving the construction and programming of a Lego robot, as well as scientific art activities, which put a scientific twist on crafts, she said.

Kids of all ages came to the science table Saturday to turn a pair of scissors into a magnet, or make their hair stand on end while learning about static electricity.

“One of the things that we have is a science discovery table where they get to work with static electricity, and they’re taking balloons and rubbing them on their heads,” Kenton said. “And later today, we’ll be making some lava lamps and wave tubes as well.”

Throughout the week, the activities will vary, but all have the goal of getting the kids interested in discovering the myriad ways science affects their lives, she said.

“We have science activities going on right now where the kids can come in and experiment and observe and do some hands-on activities with science and static and magnetism,” she said. 

Kenton monitored the tables filled with paper clips, water bottles, magnets and other elements of the 4-H experiments, encouraging the kids to think for themselves and understand why each experiment or object works the way it does.

“My push is science,” she said. “I was a science teacher for 10 years, and 4-H has a variety of science curriculums, all the way from entomology to animal science to robotics and electricity and magnetism.”

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