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Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics

Nationwide and in Idaho, there is a growing demand for employees with skills in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). UI Extension 4-H Youth Development is helping to meet that demand through programs focused in these areas.

STEM is a cornerstone of 4-H and includes programs in agriculture, natural and biological sciences, technology and engineering. These activities cover topics that are exciting to youth and relevant to our economy, including water quality, animal health, robotics and drones, coding, electronics, 3-D printing and physical computing. 

NEW — Idaho 4-H STEM Wars!

Join us as we begin a round of challenges to test your skills and creativity! During the months of April, May and June 2021 a new STEM Wars! challenge will be announced each month. Individual or teams may participate by submitting videos of their spectacular attempts at earning high points for each challenge. We want to see explosions, crashes, laughter, and magnificent feats in innovation! Are you up for the challenge?


4-H Challenge 1 — Toothpick Bridge
Launch: March 2021
Winners announced around April 1, 2021

4-H Challenge 2 — Build a Volcano
Details announced end of March
Launch: April 2021
Winners announced around May 1, 2021

4-H Challenge 3 — Egg Drop
Details announced end of April
Launch: May 2021
Winners announced around June 1, 2021

Winning videos will be compiled and shared during National 4-H Week, October 2021

STEM Wars! Flyer (PDF)

STEM Wars Logo (JPG)

If you have questions or need further information about STEM or the STEM Wars! challenges please contact Claire Sponseller at

Challenge 1 — Toothpick Bridge

  • Materials needed — Round toothpicks White glue
  • Challenge — Create a video that will showcase your skills at engineering and design! Build a bridge that can hold at least one 16 oz bottle of water for 5 seconds. Then try to see how many more bottles of water it can hold. Each bottle of water must last at least 5 seconds on the bridge.
  • Bridge Dimensions — Unsupported span must be 12 inches in order to qualify test
  • No toothpicks can be broken
  • Registration — Submit your information and video through the Google registration form
  • Registration link —

Age Divisions

  • Intermediate
  • Senior
  • Small team (2-4 members), any ages
  • Large team (5+ members), any ages

Submission Details

  • First name and/or team name. For team registrations, when you register please include what name video will be uploaded under
  • Confirmation meeting dimensions (verify span is minimum of 12 inches under bridge)
  • Details to qualify for extra points (height, weight, etc.)
  • A person counting down out load 5 seconds per bottle (maintain integrity of video rather than slow/fast)
  • Include description/overview about video. Please include the time if something spectacular happens that people will want to fast-forward to


  • Scoring Rubric
    • Video submission: 5 points
    • Every inch of bridge height: 5 points
    • 16 ounce bottle of water supported for 5 seconds: 5 points
  • Extra Points — nominated and voted on for by community/public
    • Wettest collapse of bridge/Biggest explosion: 15 points
    • Best slow motion disaster: 20 points
    • Most artistic and attractive bridge: 10 points


Preparing the Next Generation of STEM Leaders

Preparing the Next Generation of STEM Leaders — 4-H Makes A Difference 

4-H keeps young people interested in STEM. 13,000 youth enroll in STEM projects, a number that grows year by year. Projects in one county alone went from 80 STEM projects to 800 STEM projects in the past year. To ensure young people across the state have access to STEM programs, UI Extension will continue to create new partnerships, train new volunteers and design new materials.

4-H programs complement family and formal education. 4-H reaches over 70,000 youth each year in all 44 Idaho counties and is a success in helping build the future of Idaho. In 2014, the go-on rate for 4-H'ers was over 60%: by three years past high school graduation, 4-H alumni enrolled in a post high school educational program (college, university or workforce training program) at a rate of 63.7%.

4-H statewide STEM opportunities. We are building a new team to further STEM education within 4-H. Love anything to do with science, technology, engineering or math? Want to excite others about the wonderful world of STEM? Have plenty ideas of what 4-H can do to bring youth and adults together through STEM? Join our brand new committee with other youth, volunteers, industry partners and 4-H professionals to bring your STEM vision to reality. Anyone interested is encouraged to apply. Committee Member Position Descriptions (PDF) should be read before applying. To apply for a position, go to the STEM Committee Application at

STEM Education Up Close

Idaho youth attend NASA Solar Eclipse Camp

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Discovering Drones

4-H camp teaches youth about drones

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Developing STEM Education

UI Extension hopes to increase access to STEM programs

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4-H Headquarters

University of Idaho Extension 4-H Youth Development

Physical Address:
Mary E. Forney Hall
1210 Blake Avenue, Room 206

Mailing Address:
UI Extension 4-H Youth Development
University of Idaho
875 Perimeter Drive, MS 3015
Moscow, ID 83844-3015

Phone: 208-885-6321

Fax: 208-885-4637


Web: 4-H Youth Development

4-H on Google Maps