Robots take over 4-H Science Day

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By Molly Haines

Hoping to turn 4-Hers into future scientists, the Owen County Extension Office will host an Eco-Bot Challenge Oct. 10.
The event will take place as part of the fifth annual 4-H National Youth Science Day. The experiment will introduce youth to robotic engineering concepts as they program an autonomous robot to clean up a simulated environment spill.
Owen County’s Cooperative Extension Agent for 4-H Youth Development Staci Thrasher said in the past the focus has been on hyrdo-fuels and last year’s project centered around wind and energy.
“This year they’re going to be using basic materials to create a robot,” Thrasher said. “They will simulate an oil spill, like on a beach and will use the bristle-head of a toothbrush, a vibrating pager motor, a watch battery and double sided tape to create a robot.”
Thrasher said the participants would also build a barrier for containment area and use their math skills for percentages to see how much of the area the robot was able to clean.
Participants will test 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.
The week of Oct. 7-13 is National 4-H Week and activities will be held throughout the week to celebrate.
Thrasher said an ice cream social will be held Oct. 9 to give kids who have never been involved in 4-H the opportunity to ask questions and receive information regarding 4-H.
Oct. 14 will be 4-H Civic Engineering Day, which Thrasher said is a tri-state effort between Florida, Tennessee and Kentucky where local teens will be packing bags for the backpack program. Kids from 9 to 19 can join 4-H.
The Eco-Bot Challenge is limited to a group of 20, but Thrasher said three spots are still open.
If a child participates in the Eco-Bot Challenge, Thrasher said they will need to sign up to participate in 4-H the day of the challenge.
To sign a child up for the Eco-Bot Challenge, call the extension office at (502) 484-5703.