4‑H National Youth Science Day (NYSD) is an annual initiative inspiring kids everywhere to take an active interest in STEM topics through hands-on learning. Celebrations begin October 1, with participation across the country in classrooms, clubs, homes, and afterschool spaces.

This year’s 4‑H NYSD challenge, Game Changers, was developed by Google and West Virginia Extension Service. It teaches kids how to use computer science (CS) to create games, solve problems, and engage with topics they care passionately about. Demand for CS skills across nearly every industry in the workforce is growing steadily, but kids aren’t prepared to take advantage of the opportunity.

4‑H NYSD is designed to make CS is fun and accessible, helping kids build confidence in their skills while sparking their curiosity to learn more. Through this year’s challenge, it is important to convey that having a background in computer science will be beneficial to all kids, regardless of whether they want to work on a farm, in an art studio, or an office.

Game Changers is a three-part challenge, drawing career and real-world connections between computer science and 4‑H’s non-STEM pillar areas—civic engagement, healthy living and agriculture.

  • Pitch Your Passion is an online activity that allows kids to create an animation advocating for a cause or issue they care about using CS First and Scratch. We’ll be featuring a few of these projects on 4‑H.org/NYSD and social media starting October 14!
  • Program Your Playground is an unplugged activity where kids design their own games of tag and invent playground games to learn concepts like pattern recognition and abstraction.
  • Hack Your Harvest is an unplugged activity where kids learn how to solve and create their own agriculture-themed logic puzzles to learn about automation, optimal efficiency, and programming.

The challenge kit includes all the materials you need to perform each activity, as well as clear instructions for facilitators, offering both low and no-tech options for events without internet access. Also, because Game Changers is an entry point to CS, teachers and facilitators don’t need any prior experience with computer science or coding to guide youth through the challenge.

Thanks to our community partners Afterschool Alliance, American Library Association, First Book, and Imagine Science, more kids and groups will have access to 4‑H NYSD by receiving the Game Changers kit.

Learn more about the 2019 4‑H National Youth Science Day challenge!