Montana State University

Montana 4-H science project receives national recognition

October 19, 2012 -- MSU News Service

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Tel: (406) 994-4571
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BOZEMAN - A filmmaking and robotics project of the Montana 4-H Youth Development program was selected as one of eight "promising science programs" from among 70 in a national report on best practices in science, technology, engineering and math initiatives for youth.

The Pretty Eagle/Children, Youth, and Families at Risk (CYFAR) project set in St. Xavier, Mont., at the Pretty Eagle Catholic School uses filmmaking and robotics technology to teach science, math, literacy and life skills to kids ages 9-14.

Youth plan, produce, and edit an original 3-5 minute movie on a science topic of concern or importance to the local community. The hands-on learning process is designed to help improve their awareness of science and technology.

They also build and program robots to use in community projects or in regional challenges. This project utilizes an integrated approach in which staff and teachers at the school provide direction and instruction under the guidance of MSU professionals.

The CYFAR program has been operated in St. Xavier for four years with 60 kids participating. It includes an afterschool component, operated by teachers and staff from Pretty Eagle.

"This is wonderful recognition for our project at Pretty Eagle as well as for Montana 4-H and Montana State University," said 4-H program coordinator Stephanie Davison. "Other programs and youth practitioners can use this report to design a new program or improve an existing one. The report highlights practices that are important to youth development such as youth outreach and recruitment, volunteers, professional development, curricula and pedagogy, and attitudes toward science, partnering, evaluation, and sustainability."

Videos made in the program, as well as a process video describing the success and specifics of the project are available on the Montana 4-H website (http://montana4h.org/#program:44).

The CYFAR program has provided funding nationally to university Extension services since 1991 for community-based programs for at-risk children and their families.

Contact: Stephanie Davison, 4-H program coordinator, (406) 994-3502 or sdavison@montana.edu.