Tracy Keifenheim, Fond du Lac County 4-H Educator in collaboration with 4-H Educators Amy Mangan-Fischer, and Jayna Hintz designed take and learn project kits on the topics of art, science, wellness, woodworking, cake decorating, and garden & bugs. The project kits included a variety of learning explorations and were distributed to partner organizations in each of their respective counties for youth to learn by doing. The kits included information about 4-H and experiential learning. The educators are finishing up the second round of project kits for delivery (late March) to partnering organizations. The 4-H Educators developed some lessons into virtual classes that are being presented through the Virtual Learning Community.
Keifenheim led a session: Design your own parachute challenge. The session focused on youth developing a plan based on knowledge of how a parachute works, building a model from their plan, and testing the model parachute. Many of the youth then applied what they learned from their testing and built a new parachute or made modifications to their current model. This taught youth to follow the Do, Reflect, Apply methods of experiential learning. The session had 31 participants from 26 different counties, including participants from Fond du Lac County. Of the participants that completed the survey at the end of the session, 77% agreed or strongly agreed they would be interested in another STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) Virtual Project Lesson. Hintz and Mangan-Fischer also led sessions and all partnering organizations were invited to join in on the virtual learning!
The Virtual Learning Community (VLC) began during summer 2020 in response to COVID-19 filling immediate needs and continues to support education across Wisconsin today. Across the state youth and adults, in kindergarten and older, can choose from one or more virtual monthly activities. Activities range from live cooking experiences, self-paced lessons, to virtual tours of farms, art museums, and more! These opportunities have expanded Extension programming efforts while creating a learning environment where youth and adults feel connected, valued, and included. Sessions are promoted through the Extension calendar and social media channels. Registration is handled through 4-Online.