KELLER - Keller Elementary School students joined other across the nation to become scientists for the day during the fifth annual 4-H National Youth Science Day on Oct. 10.
As part of the Washington State University Extension Science and Technology Across the Reservation program, the annual event seeks to spark an early youth interest in science and future science careers, and to reclaim the nation's position of leadership in scientific exploration.
This year's experiment, 4-H Eco-Bot Challenge, introduced youth to robotic engineering concepts as they programmed an autonomous robot to clean up a simulated environmental spill.
The Keller students enhanced their engineering skills by working in pairs to assemble their own Eco-Bots and surface controls to manage a mock environmental clean-up. They tested the interaction between the Eco-Bot's design features and various surface control configurations to determine the most effective clean-up solution for the simulated spill.
Scientific exploration was carried into the Keller After School program, where the students had an opportunity to analyze various tools and equipment used by scientists. Students were able to inspect, practice with and try on such items as lab coats, medical scrubs, magnifying glasses, pipettes, measuring devices, gloves and goggles.
Amy Martin, Colville Confederated Tribes Environmental Trust wetlands specialist, was explained what she does and what fields of study are required to prepare for careers related to the environment and ecology.
"Nationally, our young people are falling behind other countries in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math; here on the Colville Reservation is no exception," Colville Reservation-Ferry County Extension Educator Linda McLean said.
By providing educational, hands-on science activities, youth and adults get opportunities to work and learn together, thus building a stronger community, McLean said.