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Charleston Business

Clemson Announces 2019 S.C. 4-H Engineering Challenge

Jan 17, 2019 10:18AM ● By Kathleen Maris

Photo: At the 2018 event, the Building a Bridge Challenge asked each team to design, construct and test their bridge to determine which bridge can hold the most weight.

Engineering requires science and technical skills to bring imagination to life and youth from around the state will have a chance to put their imaginations to the test at the 2019 South Carolina 4-H Engineering Challenge.

Registration is now open for the event, which offers fun and engaging ways for young people to compete in various STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) disciplines, such as open bridge building, energy, GPS, robotics, and rocketry.

The 2019 S.C. 4-H Engineering Challenge will be held from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, March 30, at the South Carolina State Fairgrounds in Columbia. Registration for the event ends on March 1.

“One of the things we pride ourselves on in 4-H is trying to make science matter and give kids an outlet to explore science in real-world situations,” said Ashley Burns, assistant director of Clemson University’s 4-H Youth Development program. “We focus on building confidence, developing competence, and exposing youth to a variety of STEM-related concepts and careers through this fun-filled event. Not only does the Engineering Challenge test their skills, it provides youth a safe platform to gain new skills and seek new opportunities.”

Most challenges are only available to youth 9-18 years of age, but the Photography Challenge is open to youth 5-18 years of age. This year’s team challenges (with two to four youth per team) include Bridge Building, Lego Robotics, Mystery, and Rocketry, while the individual challenges include Coding and Photography.

All ages are calculated as of Jan. 1, 2019. Youth who are registered as individuals or as part of a team will receive a T-shirt and are offered a chicken-sandwich meal. In addition to challenges, 4-H Engineering Challenge hosts a STEAM Fair to further excite youth about opportunities in STEM careers and education.

Since the Engineering Challenge began in 2013, the competition has grown to more than 250 participants annually. It is supported by the 4-H Science on the Move initiative, a partnership between South Carolina 4-H and the S.C. Coalition for Mathematics and Science.

STEM learning is one of the mandates of the National 4-H Council, and Burns said it was very important to meet that mandate by providing opportunities for the state’s youth to develop their skills in those areas.