Week Seven!

24 07 2012

This week, I had my second of three Mad Science workshops. This was a new challenge because I taught nine children for three hours; up from my last workshop of 5 kids. I felt so accomplished to have even had all of my materials lined up. Only people who have planned and executed a Mad Science workshop would understand how much time it takes to get stuff together and organized.

The big focus of my week was learning about the importance of evaluation and how it is used in extension. I was able to apply what I learned to my mad science program.

With every program that you offer you should always have a big picture. This primary goal should be on the leader’s mind during planning and execution of the program.  The big picture for the Mad Science workshop was not only to spark the interest of budding scientists but really to expose the children to opportunities in 4-H. I promoted other programs and clubs during the workshop and encouraged them to get involved with other kids in their community.

The effectiveness of the big picture can be evaluated in a number of ways. There’s always the paper evaluation, however with younger children I find it more effective to simply ask. I asked if anyone knew what 4-H was; only three children raised their hands. At the end of the day I asked if everyone had fun; thumbs up for a fun time, thumbs down for a bad time. Everyone gave a thumbs up and some shouted out “TWO THUMBS UP!”. Then I asked if anyone would be interested in joining a 4-H club and everyone raised their hands. This shows me that the program was fun enough to leave them wanting more. It is now evident to me that summer programs are an AWESOME way to recruit for new members.

I also learned about the “targeting life skills” model. This model would be utilized in more of a long term program with many hours of interaction. I think this could be very useful when you are evaluating the effectiveness of a club or even just thinking about how to implement necessary life skills in the programming.

Iowa State University


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