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County hosts STEM Expo

For the second year in a row, Franklin County is hosting the Northwest Alabama 4-H STEM Expo under the guidance of Extension Agent Janet Lovelady. It is the fourth year of the expo for the region.

“The event is designed to give youth participating in a 4-H Robotics project an opportunity to showcase their skills and to promote an interest in STEM learning,” Lovelady said.

Several activities will invite student participation, including robotics and virtual reality challenges.

“I try to select challenges that are feasible yet challenging for different robotics platforms,” Lovelady said.

One of the activities is Code Your Dance, which is the 2018-19 4-H National Youth Science Day activity. It is an “unplugged,” or non-computer, activity that introduces coding concepts by having participants use programming cards to design, practice and present a dance.

For the Virtual Reality Expedition, participants will use Google VR goggles and be led on an mission using Google Expedition software. The VR kit was donated by Google as part of the National 4-H CS Pathways Grant.

In Biofuel Blast participants will explore renewable energy sources through an experiment that simulates the creation of ethanol from corn, racing a solar car and building a windmill.

For Junk Drawer Robotics, participants will have to build a remote-controlled vehicle out of everyday items.

Seventh- through 12th-grade participants will learn about careers involving drones and will attempt to fly a small drone through an enclosed obstacle course in Drone Discovery.

Students from Franklin, Colbert, Winston, Fayette and Lauderdale counties have registered for the expo March 14. It will last from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Bishop Community Center in Russellville. There is a $7 registration fee, which includes lunch. Registration is due March 7 by phone or email. Call the Franklin County Extension Office at 256-332-8880 or email Lovelady at