Thursday, September 18, 2014

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City Students Clean Up At Annual Robotic Challenge

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Dozens of city students from six Brooklyn schools built robots and tested them out Wednesday as part of the fifth annual 4-H National Youth Science Day. NY1's Roger Clark filed the following report.

A simulated spill using bird seed and rice on a mat gave students a chance to learn about environmental clean-ups Wednesday in Bedford-Stuyvesant, part of the 4-H National Youth Science Day. Cornell University Cooperative Extension runs 4-H in New York State, teaching young people leadership, citizenship and life skills. There are 20 4-H clubs in the city.

"The subject matter base of 4-H programming is applicable in schools, after school centers, church groups, or formal school settings," said Jackie Davis-Manigaulte of Cornell Cooperative Extension Family and Youth Development.

The highlight of the program is building tiny robots. They are made with the bristles of a toothbrush, a watch battery, some double-sided tape and a vibrating pager motor. The kids were asked to think like engineers, led by teen mentors from the 4-H program.

"I'm so excited to be a mentor because they are just so interested to learn and the energy you feel is just amazing," said Forest Hills High School 4-H Team Leader Keiana Quallo.

"It makes me feel like I'm doing the right thing as a person because you know for them to look at you and say I'm willing to learn it makes you feel really nice about yourself," said Pilgrim Church 4-H Team Leader Tyshawn Parker.

Teachers say the program is a fun way for their students to feel good about learning science.

"The kids actually got to construct something, they got to see it in action, and this is the best way for them to learn," said PS 28 Teacher Diana Gering.

After Wednesday's session teachers were given a curriculum from Cornell Cooperative Extension and 4-H, which they can bring back to their classrooms and continue these activities with their students.

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