Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) activities can make learning fun for our Cloverbuds and instill a lifelong desire to learn new things! Doing STEM based learning has many benefits for youth so Morgan County implemented Cloverbud STEM days. Events typically last 2 hours and consist of different STEM activities for Cloverbuds. The day ends with a snack.
The event is completely conducted by Older Youth in Training and Junior Leaders. With guidance, they choose a theme and plan what activities they want to do. Older youth lead the activities throughout the day.
The last STEM Day was on April 7th. It was called “Swing into Spring.” One of the activities for the day was based on the lifecycle of the Monarch Butterfly. It was an interactive game where the Cloverbuds become the monarch butterfly, beginning as an egg.
- Cotton balls
- Laminated Monarch Caterpillars
- Laminated Monarch Butterflies
- Laminated milkweed leaves
- Laminated Flowers
- Milkweed seeds for a giveaway (optional)
- Popsicle sticks (optional, to hot glue onto butterflies and caterpillars for easy holding)
What to Do:
- Explain what the Cloverbuds will be doing (experiencing the lifecycle of a monarch butterfly.)
- They will start off as an egg (cotton ball) and then hatch into a caterpillar. To hatch out of their eggs, each Cloverbud must jump 5 times. After they do so, hand them a laminated monarch butterfly caterpillar.
- Next the caterpillars must eat to form into a chrysalis to become a butterfly. Monarch caterpillars love milkweed. Each Cloverbud must collect (eat) 5 milkweed leaves so their caterpillar can form a chrysalis (explain the chrysalis is the shell a caterpillar will stay in while it is transforming into a butterfly).
- To simulate emerging from the chrysalis, they will put their caterpillars into a green cup. They must take ten steps to break out of their chrysalis (The actual time frame for this is 8-15 days).
- Once they have taken ten steps, hand each Cloverbud a laminated Monarch Butterfly.
- Now that they have hatched, it is time to get ready for the great migration to Mexico. Explain that just like birds, Monarch butterflies migrate too. They fly over Lake Erie to Canada all the way to Mexico where it is warmer. In order to prepare for migration, monarch butterflies must eat. Butterflies eat the nectar in flowers. Cloverbuds must collect eight flowers to successfully migrate to Mexico.
- Lastly, they will cross the finish line making it to Mexico.
There are many different variations you can do with this activity. Consider adding predators or other environmental factors. Morgan County 4-H partners with their SNAP-Ed program assistant to teach a short/fun lesson on nutrition during snack time right before dismissal. Cloverbuds enjoy that aspect of this event.
Consider implementing Cloverbud STEM days in your Cloverbud program. STEM days have been a huge success in Morgan County!