From skate parks and bike paths to the world’s largest marshmallow attraction, fifth graders from Arcola and Shelbyville recently visited Lake Land College to participate in the 2013 4-H National Youth Science Day, where they designed and mapped their ideal community park.
Using cartography skills and GIS mapping tools, these fifth graders conducted this year’s experiment, “Maps and Apps,” and created two-dimensional drawings that included water features, vegetation, recreational features, amenities and attractions.
Brooke Ferguson, Lake Land College adjunct geographic information systems (GIS) and geography instructor led the students in their geographic inquiry and reviewed with them the importance of mapping and GIS technology.
“When we make a map, we’re making a smaller version of the world around us, which can be a very important tool in helping to solve problems or improve our world,” explained Ferguson. “We can use maps in a variety of ways, from city planning to national disaster prevention and relief.”
According to Dana Homann, University of Illinois Extension youth educator, 4-H National Youth Science Day is a way to engage hundreds of thousands of American youth in a single science experiment.
“We’ve partnered with Lake Land over the last few years to offer the National Youth Science Day to our local youth in hopes of sparking an interest and leadership in science, technology, engineering and math careers,” said Homann. “Exposing the children to these fields now is a way to help keep America competitive in those areas.”
During the day, students also went on a GPS scavenger hunt using handheld devices, where they explored the campus with students in the Civil Engineering Technology Program, instructed by Galen Altman, Lake Land College civil engineering technology instructor.
The students who attended the event at Lake Land will share what they learned with their peers back at school when they lead the experiment on Oct. 9.
For more information on this experiment or other 4-H programs contact your local University of Illinois Extension office.
For more information about Lake Land College, visit www.lakelandcollege.edu.