As part of this year's National 4H Week, students here in the city and across the country recently took part in a program called "Wired for Wind," an ongoing effort to engage students in science, technology, engineering and math. NY1's Tara Lynn Wagner filed the following report.
Figuring out how to turn simple items such as scissors, tape and paper into energy was just one of the tasks tackled by students from several Brooklyn schools during 4H's National Youth Science Day.
The group believes the best way to get kids to think like engineers is to act like engineers, or just to act, with students taking on various roles in a play about the origins of energy.
"I learned about the sun and that we get mostly everything from the sun and we get our energy from the sun," said Third Grader Jaden Wilson.
Next, the students fed their minds while feeding their bodies with smoothies made in a blender powered by photovoltaics -- a big word, but one that Lucinda Randolph-Benjamin of 4H says even third graders can digest.
"When they are actually drinking the smoothie they are making they are like, 'Ah the sun made this.' They get it, they feel it, they do it," said Lucinda Randolph-Benjamin of the 4H Development Program for Cornell.
The second experiment involved designing the blades of a wind turbine which, if done correctly, would generate enough power to light up a jack-o-lantern, and the kids' faces along with it.
"That's my favorite part of science. It really is. Because you get to experiment, you get to feel how it means to be a scientist," said Eighth Grader Brandon Mathurin.
with experiments focused on solar and wind energy, the lessons are two-fold. For one thing, kids are learning about the environment.
"We want them to be good stewards of their community, of our planet, and really take a look at renewable energy sources," said 4H Youth Development Educator Charles Malone.
The hope is that students will also take another look at science, not just as a subject but as a potential career. It's a push that seems to be working. When asked how many of them want to be scientists one day, there was a pretty energtic showing of hands.
"I think it is cool that you can do different experiments," said one student.
"I want to be a scientist because there's a lot of things that you can do and a lot of fun things that you can make," said another.
For more information on programs designed to engage students in science, technology, engineering and math, visit www.connectamillionminds.com.