By Scott Fishman, Forum Publishing Group
November 2, 2012
What can you do with a battery, toothbrush, cellphone vibrator and some tape?
More than 100 students at the Broward County 4-H at the UF/IFAS Broward County Extension Office in Davie recently found out by using the materials to create mini eco-bots.
was the fifth year the 4-H (Head, Heart, Hands, Health) celebrated
National Youth Science Day with an experiment. During the Eco-Bot
Challenge, children were robotics engineers for the day. The groups
created their own eco-bots to simulate environmental cleanup using rice.
"It's nice to be able to
reach out to them and have them get involved in it because it also pulls
them into 4-H," said Erin Daniels, Broward 4-H secretary.
Among the volunteers was computer engineer George Hanna, who worked with the children on making the eco-bots operational.
"I like to be able to show kids about science, engineering, math and
all these things using my background," he said. "One of the common
issues was the robot would constantly tip over, so they have the chance
to troubleshoot the issue and draw their own conclusion on how to fix
that. It's a great activity."
Jordan Latson, sixth-grader at Silver Lakes Middle School in North Lauderdale, enjoyed the project.
was fun," he said. "I liked having to use the toothbrush and the other
things … to make a working robot. I learned that there can be robots out
there to help the environment."
Jordan Brown, a sixth-grader at Margate Middle School, worked with classmates Liam Fisher and Marco Cruzata.
"It was fun building a robot I haven't built before, especially with these types of parts," she said.
Cruzata said he was a little intimidated when he received instruction for the project, but he was happy with the results.
"I really thought it was going to be hard, but it was actually pretty simple and easy," he said.
to its website, the 4-H program offers hands-on education and projects
in such areas as marine ecology, photography, horticulture, food and
nutrition, animals and computers.
For more information, call 954-357-5270 or visit http://www.broward.org/parks/extension and click on the 4-H link.