Gilmanton students tinker with rovers as part of National 4-H STEM Challenge

The 3rd and 4th grade students in Mrs. Hovey’s class at Gilmanton participated in the 2020 4‑H STEM Challenge on October 12, facilitated virtually by Annie Lisowski, Buffalo County 4-H Youth Development Educator.

The 3rd and 4th grade students in Mrs. Hovey’s class at Gilmanton participated in the 2020 4‑H STEM Challenge, formerly known as 4‑H National Youth Science Day, on October 12. The 4-H STEM Challenge is an annual initiative to inspire kids everywhere to take an interest in science, technology, engineering and math through hands-on learning.

Students had a mission to navigate a pathway for their rovers to cross over a simulated Mars planet terrain. Students tinkered with and debugged (science terms that mean to experiment and fix) the gears, motors, wheels and axles to get their rovers from one point to another, go around a channel or crater on Mars’ surface and stop. During the challenge, 3rd and 4th graders practiced using a problem-solving process that most computer scientists use to develop programs and systems called Computational Thinking.

The 4-H STEM Challenge was facilitated virtually by Annie Lisowski, Buffalo County 4-H Youth Development Educator and Professor of Youth Development at the University of Wisconsin-Madison Division of Extension. It is a program developed by Google and Virginia Cooperative Extension called Mars Base Camp and is a collection of activities that teaches kids ages 8-14 STEM skills like mechanical engineering, physics, computer science, and agriculture.

Students tinker with their rovers to navigate them across a pathway on a simulated Mars surface.

Gilmanton 3rd and 4th graders learned about how NASA scientists tinker and debug rovers and practiced similar skills on their own rovers.

Students used classroom supplies to weight their rovers as part of their computational thinking and problem solving.

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