Hands-on activities immerse young Ag Progress Days visitors in science

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Science and interactive fun are at the heart of planned educational displays and activities for youth at Penn State's Ag Progress Days, Aug. 13-15.

Young visitors will be engaged in engineering, entomology, animal science and other topics, according to event organizers.

At the 4-H Youth Building, the focus will be insects and robotics, said building coordinator Mya Rushton, Penn State Extension 4-H teen program manager.

"An insect exhibit with live displays will be a big part of the 4-H Youth Building," she said. "Kids can learn about insects -- hold them in their hands -- and discover the subject of entomology."

The building also will showcase several robots built by 4-H members from across Pennsylvania, Rushton noted. Penn State Extension 4-H programs in most counties offer a robotics project, and many of the members have competed in national competitions.

Several other exhibits in the 4-H Youth Building will include live animals. The Pennsylvania Rabbit Association will feature Angora rabbits and teach young people how to utilize wool from the animals by weaving and using a loom.

The Penn State poultry science program will showcase baby chicks and the incubation process, while dairy princesses -- young ambassadors for the dairy industry -- engage youth in activities related to healthy diets include dairy products.

Youth also can look at fungi, such as mushrooms, through microscopes.

Rushton said the best aspect of the 4-H Youth Building is the chance it affords to educate youth about the world around them. "It's total excitement for children," she added.

The 4-H Youth Building is located just off of Main Street at the Ag Progress Days site, behind the Family Room building.

Several other exhibits aimed at children and their families can be found throughout the grounds:

-- Kids' Climb, where children can don safety equipment and harnesses and climb a tree like a professional arborist, Main Street, near the Equine Exhibits Building.

-- Shaver's Creek Environmental Center exhibits showcasing turtles, snakes, birds of prey and amphibians, Main Street between West Eighth and West Ninth streets.

-- Grain-threshing demonstrations powered by oxen and interactive exhibits at the Pasto Agricultural Museum, Main Street, across from the red barn.

-- Play mini-golf while learning how to "Protect Yourself from Insect Pests," at the Family Room on Main Street. Also at the Family Room, young visitors can participate in the "MyPlate" Scavenger Hunt and discover the dangers of texting and driving while navigating a simulated electronic course.

-- A-Maze-N Corn, outside the Crops, Soils, and Conservation Building, at the end of East Fifth Street. This corn maze is accessible for wheelchairs and baby strollers.

-- Miniature horses and other demonstrations at the Equine Experience, at the top of Main Street.

-- Pedal Go Kart Derby -- Kids supply the power for these go karts at the serpentine track on West Eighth Street, behind the Family Room building.

Sponsored by Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences, Ag Progress Days is held at the Russell E. Larson Agricultural Research Center at Rock Springs, nine miles southwest of State College, Pa., on Route 45. Hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Aug. 13; 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Aug. 14; and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Aug. 15. Admission and parking are free.

For more information, visit the Ag Progress Days website. Twitter users can find and share information about the event by using the hashtag #agprogress, and Facebook users can find the event here.

Contacts: 
Last Updated July 30, 2013