The young child from Prince George County couldn’t believe what was before him – a radio he had made with his very own hands. But it was about so much more than just one radio.
“I can’t believe it! I built a radio and it works. I can do anything!” he said.
The child was one of the many who participated in the Virginia Cooperative Extension 4-H Maker program and learned about their untapped potential.
Maker programming encourages thinking by doing hands-on activities to create and modify objects by repurposing, reusing, up-cycling, fabricating or employing shortcuts and novel, untried methods to problem-solve. It’s also part and parcel of a comprehensive initiative aligned with research supported by exterior entities such as the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine to make science more accessible to youth and in doing so, instilling intrinsic motivation for learning.
4-H youth learn by doing, and in that sense the current zeitgeist of do-it-yourself culture plays well with 4-H Maker programming.
“These two movements are a hand-in-glove fit in Virginia 4-H, where both historically and culturally 4-H has engaged youth to creatively respond to challenges by finding unique solutions to problems through ‘tinkering, individual planning, and group collaboration’, ’’ said Hermon Maclin, 4-H associate youth development Virginia Cooperative Extension agent in Prince George County.
As a result of maker education programming in Prince George County, 90 percent of the youth indicated they were engaged in the process of making, 90 percent said they wanted to take additional Maker projects in the future, 100 percent said that they learned something new, and 80 percent indicated that they learned from their peers.