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Youth across North Dakota complete 4-H Eco-Bot Challenge

Published November 26, 2012

4-H members and other youth across North Dakota made mini robots and used them to simulate cleaning an oil spill for this year’s 4-H National Youth Science Day activity.

4-H’ers from North Dakota and the rest of the nation carried out this single, innovative experiment to promote 4-H’s leadership in building America’s workforce in science. The experiment was conducted in at least 35 North Dakota counties through 4-H clubs, classrooms and after-school programs.

“This year’s experiment, the 4-H Eco-Bot Challenge, let youth explore how robots can be used to preserve and protect the environment while giving them a glimpse into the science disciplines,” said Linda Hauge, 4-H youth development specialist in the Center for 4-H Youth Development. “The youth built tiny robots with toothbrush ‘sweepers’ that moved the rice that was simulating oil globs on a beach. They also experimented with options to better control the robot and the surface. Some older youth even calculated the efficiency of their ‘cleanup.’”

Astrid Axtman, a Rainbow Kids 4-H Club member in Cass County, said, “It was fun tinkering with the robots to make them go faster, slower or be more controlled. “

The 4-H National Youth Science Day is just one of the North Dakota 4-H activities that promotes hands-on science learning for youth, said Brad Cogdill, Center for 4-H Youth Development director. In addition to 4-H projects through clubs in robotics, computer science and other science topics, North Dakota 4-H hosts an Aerospace Camp at the University of North Dakota, carries out science activities at camps and after-school programs, and leads science activities at Governor’s School.

“Our 4-H Science action plan identifies science content in robotics, geospatial sciences, energy and film making as our current priorities,” Cogdill said. “The focus is to use technology to teach science. This is in addition to other aspects of 4-H science work like animal science, plant science, food science and environmental science.”

4-H is the youth development program of the NDSU Extension Service. Learn more about 4-H at


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Last Updated: Tuesday, May 19, 2015 11:46:04 AM