STEM expanding in Alcona County

Alcona County 4-H was awarded a STEM grant to enrich STEM opportunities in Alcona County.

Alcona County 4-H and Michigan State University Extension received a science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) grant from the Michigan STEM partnership for STEM Enrichment in Alcona County. The grant funds will be used to support:

  • Lunchtime 4-H STEM club at the elementary school.
  • New 4-H underwater remotely operated vehicle (ROV) clubs.
  • Professional development for Alcona educators.
  • Scholarships for youth to area STEM camps.
  • Family Engineering Night.

MSU Extension is working with Alcona Elementary School to increase STEM. We will host a Family Engineering Night this Feb. 3, 2016, from 5-7 p.m., which will include hands-on activities for children of all ages including tin foil boat building, building bridges and designing rockets. The school has added STEM for all grades K-6 as one of the “specials” youth will have this year. They will also have a series of lunchtime STEM clubs running about five weeks for each grade, which students will be able to join. Alcona Elementary is exploring the idea of an afterschool STEM club on Fridays because school ends every Friday at 1:45 p.m.

4-H has a long standing reputation of engaging youth in experiential, inquiry, hands-on activities. These activities enhance formal (public school) science education through their alignment to the eight Scientific and Engineering Practices. MSU Extension is excited to work with Alcona schools to provide professional development for area educators to enhance their STEM knowledge and learn additional ways to engage youth in experiential, hands-on, inquiry, STEM activities.

While enriching STEM in the schools, this grant also brings new opportunities to area youth and their families. Area youth new to 4-H will be able to apply for a partial scholarship to “Go Green!,” a multicounty STEM camp held in June each year. This year, youth will engage in recycling, reusing and renewable energy activities. The funds will provide new ROV 4-H clubs in Alcona County with an underwater ROV kit, practice boards, tools and a soldiering station when they get started. Families or community members interested in learning about underwater ROVs and starting a ROV club can contact Les Thomas at

For more ways to share science with youth in your life, please explore the MSU Extension Science and Technology website. For more information about 4-H learning opportunities and other 4-H programs, contact your local MSU Extension office.

Did you find this article useful?