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Boulder Hill Elementary Have a "Blast" with Science

The students created energy with yeast and sugar to inflate balloons during the 4-H Biofuel Blast experiment.

University of Illinois Extension’s Jo Ann Britton demonstrates a step in the 4-H science experiment “Biofuel Blast” to a Boulder Hill Elementary School fifth-grade class on Tuesday, Nov. 26.
University of Illinois Extension’s Jo Ann Britton demonstrates a step in the 4-H science experiment “Biofuel Blast” to a Boulder Hill Elementary School fifth-grade class on Tuesday, Nov. 26.

More than 90 fifth-graders at Boulder Hill Elementary School got pumped up for science with Kendall County 4-H in November. The students created energy with yeast and sugar to inflate balloons during the 4-H Biofuel Blast experiment.

The project is designed to show how organic materials can be converted to energy, but it also introduces youth to concept of biofuels and the universal Scientific Method, said Jo Ann Britton, 4-H School Enrichment Program Coordinator for Kendall County.

“The Scientific Method is a critical skill set. Through this fun experiment, students experience, participate and record each step themselves,” Britton said. “We provided hands-on involvement from start to finish so that students can be more comfortable when they execute their own Science Fair projects.”

At Boulder Hill Elementary, Britton works closely with teachers and helps introduce fifth-graders to the Scientific Method as they begin preparing for their own Science Fair. 

With Biofuel Blast, she led the classes through the complete process: purpose, hypothesis, materials, control, procedure, variables, observation and collection, conclusion and even clean-up. She also will revisit the school in a few weeks to help the same students finalize topics for their projects.

“It really brings the process to life for the students, and now they will be better prepared to start their own project,” Britton said. “Many of us learn best by doing, which is a key ideal of 4-H Youth Development.”

4-H Youth Development programs provide hands-on learning activities for youth in Kendall County, across Illinois and throughout the country. There are many different ways to experience 4-H in your county, including community clubs, special interest (SPIN) clubs and afterschool activities and camps.

“We work with area schools, libraries and youth organizations to provide the 4-H curriculum to supplement current programming, and a large selection of our curriculum focuses on science, technology, engineering, math and nutrition,” Britton said. “You can schedule an activity or project for your group, and 4-H provides the rest.”

For more information on the 4-H Youth Development in Kendall County, contact Britton atjbritton@illinois.edu, or visit http://web.extension.illinois.edu/dkk/.  University of Illinois Extension provides equal opportunities in programs and employment.

Provided by the University of Illinois Extension

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