Since 2008, 4‑H has challenged young people across the country to solve issues in the community and around the world through STEM learning and exploration through 4‑H National Youth Science Day. This annual event introduced youth to various science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) concepts with easy and fun STEM topics relatable to real-world issues.

National 4‑H Council consulted with 4‑H professionals, volunteers, 4‑H’ers, and partners on ways to improve the 4‑H NYSD experience. One of the most important things we heard is that it has evolved to explore topics beyond just science, and the challenge kits are used throughout the year in 4‑H clubs, classrooms, camps, and after school settings nationwide.

That’s why we’re excited to announce that 4‑H National Youth Science Day is now the 4‑H STEM Challenge. The new name reflects the spirit of the program, allows us to reach more kids, encourages easier event planning, and showcases the impact of STEM programs in communities year-round. The challenge—developed this year in collaboration with Google, and with support from our national partner Bayer—is still an annual initiative to inspire kids everywhere to take an interest in STEM topics through hands-on learning.

Here are some of your questions answered about the 4‑H STEM Challenge:

What is this year’s challenge theme?

Today, we announced the 2020 4‑H STEM Challenge is Mars Base Camp. In this challenge, designed by Google and Virginia Cooperative Extension, youth will learn about Mars missions and get to know the red planet. In the process, they will learn about various concepts from computer science to space agriculture.

When can I join the rest of the country in showcasing the STEM Challenge in my community?

Mark your calendars for 4‑H STEM Month in October! It will be the perfect time to showcase how you are participating in the 4‑H STEM Challenge and see how other groups across the country are celebrating. However, you can do the challenge anytime throughout the year and beyond.

Sign up for our newsletter to learn more about 4‑H STEM Month and ways to get involved.

How can I participate in this year’s 4‑H STEM Challenge?

Bring the challenge to kids in your community by purchasing the challenge kit. The kit will include everything you need to lead the challenge and all the necessary materials to participate. Kits will go on sale in July.

Sign up for our newsletter to get updates on kit sales and the Mars Base Camp activities.

Are there other ways to celebrate 4‑H STEM Month?

Along with doing the 2020 Mars Base Camp challenge, 4‑H offers additional activities to do during the month. Check out the 4‑H STEM Lab or past STEM Challenge projects.

No matter when or how you choose to celebrate, you can share your experience on social media using #4HSTEMChallenge! You can learn more about the 2020 4‑H STEM Challenge by visiting 4‑H.org/STEMChallenge.