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Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Last Meetings for a while...

We had our regular 4H project meetings today.

We started out with Wildlife where we discussed the correct answers from the contest.  We will have one more meeting before we compete again at the regional contest.  It is hard to believe the fall classes have gone by so quickly!  We will probably not meet again for Wildlife until next year.  It seems so hard to believe.  However, we will immediately start focusing on our WHEP (Wildlife Habitat Education Program) concepts so Wildlife is not out of the picture just yet.  So, next week we might need to have a surprise for the group as we meet to look over last minute techniques.

We then went to Robotics and learned that the project would be coming to an end a week early.  It just was not feasible to extend the meetings an additional week since that would have meant learning new concepts.  We were at a good stopping point in the modules.  We are not through for the year, but we are taking a break so our project leaders can get through the busy holiday season with their catering business.  We will start up again in January.

I am looking forward to seeing where this leads us...will we continue Junk Drawer Robotics? Or will we start the infamous Lego Robotics?  Only time and money will tell!

The 4Hers did complete the goal of creating a mechanical arm that could lift objects (various weights) and move them across multiple planes.  I know I have said this many times over the last few weeks, but I am so amazed by the ideas the youth designed.  All very different and flexible in the adaptations that improved over the course of the project.  I think all the groups enjoyed the results of their efforts.  Everyone was successful at various degrees.

I also liked how the older ones learned to work with the younger ones.  It is a good skill to learn patience.  It also gave the older ones an opportunity to teach in a way adults cannot ever seem to accomplish.  For instance, these two little cuties (in the picture to the left) might have seemed like they were just running around squealing ..they were actually very interested in what was going on around them.  I was even surprised to see these two sitting so quietly as they watched the older ones at work!

Also, there were practical advice throughout the project for the actual 4Hers involved.  Tonight I heard many older ones giving tips on how to create the parts of the arm.  This was more about construction but very important life skills.  I love that about 4H!  Sometimes the learning has nothing to do with the project content.  I cannot emphasize that enough for all the 4H projects!  I think that is why there is such a wide range of ages involved in 4H.  There is always someone for the youth to admire and want to learn these skills. The project content just becomes the setting for these life lessons!

I am so thankful for the ability to invite the entire family to join in the fun!  And isn't that what it really is all about?  Having fun!  I am also thankful that even though there might be competitions to the end it is about enjoying time with your friends learning about a topic of interest.  And maybe even learning that you have an interest!  There were siblings who came only because they had to be there for their brother or the end, they usually joined in the learning and were very creative!  Of course, there were also those who learned they would never be engineers!  So, it worked out both ways!  Have I mentioned that I love this about 4H?  I see it as another way "to make the best better!"  Learning your strengths and weaknesses definitely makes the world a little bit better place!

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