4-H invites local youth to build their own fitness trackers

4-Hers shoot off rockets they built in a past 4-H National Youth Science Day activity held on the University of Nevada, Reno campus.

4-Hers shoot off rockets they built in a past 4-H National Youth Science Day activity held on the University of Nevada, Reno campus.

Youth in Nevada are getting a unique opportunity to build their own low-cost wearable fitness trackers, then use the trackers to collect data on their own movement.

The activity is part of the 10th annual 4-H National Youth Science Day challenge, as part of National 4-H Week in the beginning of October. This year’s challenge, called Incredible Wearables, introduces youth to the field of wearable technology in a hands-on interactive design challenge. More than 100,000 4-H youth across the world will be leading other youth in the activity, making it the world’s largest youth-led STEM challenge.

Here in Nevada, 4-H is a program of University of Nevada Cooperative Extension, which is hosting the challenge at several locations across the state.

The exercise teaches youth about engineering design, wearable technologies and health monitoring. Designed by the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, the hands-on engineering design challenge will allow youth to experiment with circuits and wireless interfaces to create functional, wearable devices that can record several biological signals, which can then be used to make informed health decisions. The activity follows the “experiential” learning model, or hands-on learning method, that’s the backbone of the 4-H Youth Development Program.

“This challenge is an opportunity to show our communities the types of learn-by-doing activities that our 4-H programs provide for youth,” said Carrie Stark, Nevada 4-H Program Director with University of Nevada Cooperative Extension. “There are so many different 4-H programs, including 4-H Clubs and activities that are tailored to youth’s various interests, and now is a great time to get involved.”

Stark said a study conducted by Tufts University shows 4-H youth are at least five times more likely to graduate from college, two times more likely to participate in science activities outside of school, and three times more likely to be physically activity.

Youth in Northern Nevada are invited to participate in the Incredible Wearables challenge at the following locations:

In Carson City: 10 a.m. Oct. 7 at the Carson City Extension office, 2621 Northgate Lane, Suite 15.

In Elko: 5:30 p.m. Oct. 4 at Great Basin College, 1500 College Parkway, Health and Science Building room 108.

The events are free, and those not wishing to participate are welcome to observe. National 4-H Council will host the flagship national 4-H National Youth Science Day event, with hundreds of youth participating in the challenge on Oct. 5 in Washington, D.C. The 2017 national partners are HughesNet, Lockheed Martin and U.S. Cellular. DuPont, a leader in the development of materials for printed electronics applications, including wearable electronics and smart fabrics, is the national sponsor.

To find out more about 4-H or how your county is celebrating National 4-H Week and 4-H National Youth Science Day, contact your county’s University of Nevada Cooperative Extension office. For office locations and phone numbers, go to www.unce.unr.edu or call 775-784-7070.


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