Youth invited to explore drones in huge engineering design challenge

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Welcome to the world of drones! Thousands of enthusiastic youngsters are expected to be involved in the 4-H NYSD, the world’s largest youth-led engineering design challenge related to unmanned flying objects or drones.

The Challenge to be held in Washington, D.C, on October 5   is open to youth from across the world. In 2015, the Challenge attracted over 100,000 participants.

Drones are revolutionizing the way we work and play, whether you are a filmmaker looking for the perfect aerial shot, a rescue worker mapping damage from natural disaster or a farmer determining how to increase crop yield. As drones play an increasingly important role in the world around us, 4-H National Youth Science Day (4-H NYSD) 2016 introduces youth to the burgeoning field of drones in a hands-on, interactive design challenge.

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This year’s challenge, called Drone Discovery, will teach youth a wide variety of topics related to unmanned flight including flight dynamics, aircraft types, safety and regulations, remote sensing and flight control. Designed by Cornell University Cooperative Extension, the hands-on, three part engineering design challenge will allow youth to experiment with fixed and rotary wing designs, explore the concept of remote sensing and dive into the world of coding for real-world drone applications.

Youth will conduct the experiment at hundreds of local events taking place in all 50 states, and in countries around the world. National 4-H Council will host the flagship national event, with hundreds of youth participating in the challenge. The national sponsors of 2016 4-H NYSD are HughesNet®, Lockheed Martin and U.S. Cellular.

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“What’s so exciting about 4-H NYSD is that it’s a hands-on, interactive learning experience that uses cutting-edge topics from the real world to get youth excited about science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM),” said Jennifer Sirangelo, president and CEO, National 4-H Council. “For many kids, this experiential approach to learning ignites an interest in STEM topics that can quickly grow into a passion. Facilitating this progression—from interest to sustained passion—is what 4-H STEM is all about.”

All youth are invited to participate in 4-H NYSD. Additional information can be found at, which will be updated regularly as the event approaches. Engineering design challenge kits are available for pre-sale at Each kit comes equipped with all the materials necessary for 10 youth to complete the experiment, including instruction booklets for both youth and adult facilitators.

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Every year, youth complete more than 5 million 4-H STEM projects in robotics, agricultural science, rocketry, wind power, environmental science and alternative energy. A recent longitudinal study conducted by Tufts University, The Positive Development of Youth: Comprehensive Findings from the 4-H Stud­­­­­­­y of Positive Youth Development, revealed 4-H programming does indeed get young people more connected to science.

According to the study, 4-Hers are two times more likely to participate in science, engineering and computer technology programs during out-of-school time (Grades 10-12) and 4-H girls are two times more likely (Grade 10) and nearly three times more likely (Grade 12) to take part in science programs compared to girls in other out-of-school time activities. – USNewswire

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