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ALABAMA A&M UNIVERSITY, Ala.–Alabama Extension at Alabama A&M University participated in the 4-H launch of the 2019 National Youth Science Day (NYSD) challenge called Game Changers. Game Changers was designed by Google and the West Virginia Extension Service. It teaches kids ages 8-14 how to use computer science to create games and solve problems while engaging in topics of personal interest.

Eighty students from the Morris P-8 School in Madison County and Austin Junior High in Morgan County engaged in Game Changer activities during the week of October 1-4. The Morris P-8 School students from Bonnie Garrett’s classes utilized lessons from Game Changers, Alabama Extension’s STREAM curriculum, and MIT’s Scratch software to program interactive stories, games, and animations. The young people created and tested their own version of the “Tag” game.

“A special thanks to Bayer for providing the Game Changers kits. The interactive activities sparked youth interest in STEM and were a great supplement to our existing STREAM curriculum,” said Dr. Angela Williams, urban 4-H youth development specialist. “If we are to truly narrow the STEM gap, it is imperative that educators encourage youth to unlock their passion for STEM and engage them in activities that encourage creativity, critical thinking and collaboration.”

Pupils from Jay Daniel Greenpower’s class at Austin Junior High used Game Changers and software to prepare public service announcements. The students gained a greater awareness of real world problems they later shared with their peers.

Alabama Extension uses critical thinking activities to foster an interest in STEM disciplines and careers among young people across the state.

Contact Extension Specialist Dr. Angela Williams at (256) 372-5713 or arw0033@aces.edu for more information about Urban 4-H youth development programs.

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