Scientists conduct experiments to find new knowledge. Engineers apply knowledge of science, technology, math, and the arts to solve problems. 4-H Makers learn about engineering design by taking on challenges, building prototypes, then looking for ways to improve on their designs. 4-H Maker programs facilitate an experiential learning process. Young Makers seek answers, rather than being given answers. In the experiential learning process the Maker becomes a facilitator for learning and becomes a co-learner.
4-H Makers believe in a positive youth development setting. Positive outcomes are the result of providing opportunities, choices, and support necessary for youth to fully participate. 4-H programming focuses on giving youth developmentally appropriate opportunities. Youth should have the opportunity to experience life skills, practice these skills and use them throughout life.
The Virginia 4-H STEM Programming Model reminds us to begin with the end in mind and develop intentional, outcome based programming. Dr. Kathleen Jamison, Extension Specialist with 4-H Youth Development has provided a 4-H Resource Guide available for download (pdf). 4-H Virginia extends the Maker model into the field of invention. Time to Invent is an afterschool program with hands-on STEM learning activities for young inventors.
Hanover 4-H Makers currently supports maker workshops and makerspaces in four Hanover County Public Schools. The program focuses on science, technology, engineering, math, and the arts for elementary and middle schools. 4-H Makers encourages participation by young women, minorities, special education, special needs, and other youth who may develop an interest in science and technology fields.