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Ohio 4-H Youth Development

Ohio State University Extension


STEM Pathways

Learn More About this Curriculum

What is the STEM Pathways Initiative?

STEM Pathways programs in science, technology, engineering and math improve participants' curiosity, logical thinking, problem-solving, and team communication – workforce skills necessary to compete in a high-tech global society.

STEM Pathways 2015 Annual Report

Click Here for an overview of the STEM Pathways Signature Program Initiative 

The STEM Pathways Equation: Engagement + Problem Solving = Learning 

The STEM Pathways equation is simple Engagement + Problem Solving = Learning. Each of the twelve STEM Pathways Challenges in the first curriculum cycle focuses  on a Real World Problem that tasks young people to use  the scientific method or engineering design process to come up with a plausible solution. With current scientists and engineers retiring in record numbers, there is a demand for professionals in these fields.  In fact, no job is completely isolated from the influence of new technologies and new ideas derived at least in part from STEM. The ultimate goal is for STEM Pathways to propel young people’s interest on a career path in STEM. In addition, youth’s curiosity, courage, perseverance, teamwork, creativity, communication and critical thinking skills will be enhanced through their involvement in STEM Pathways.   

Check out the STEM Pathways Challenges

STEM Pathways Challenges and Programs are available from your local OSU Extension Office. Contact your local educator or Patty House, STEM Pathways Signature Program Leader for more information and access to the STEM Pathways Challenge Curriculum.  Photo: Josh Jennings, Director at the Global Impact STEM Academy in Springfield, Ohio examines student’s solutions to a more ergonomic tractor seat. This challenge led by Patty House, 4‐H Extension Educator in Clark County, encourages youth to take common household items to construct a prototype of a chair that better addresses the comfort and mobility issues faced by someone with arthritis, since agriculture workers have a higher incidence of arthritis then the general population. The same challenge could be used to have youth build a better car seat, stadium seat, rollercoaster seat, office chair, etc.


STEM Pathways Professional Development

Sixty OSU Extension Professionals attended the STEM Pathways Signature Program Professional Development Training to learn best practices for implementing STEM Pathways in their counties and regions. The training focused on the STEM Pathways Challenges for use in professional and volunteer led youth programming. Many of the Extension Professionals in attendance are planning on kicking off STEM Pathways programming during their 2014 4-H summer overnight and day camps, volunteer training programs for use with afterschool groups and 4-H clubs as well as during special events for the Extension Centennial and Fair Season. Annie Davis, 4-H Extension Educator in Logan County and one of the STEM Pathways Challenge authors is explaining the Cookie Mining Stem Pathways Challenge to Connie Gobel, Pike County 4-H Extension Educator. 

Junior Fair Board Members Take the STEM Pathways Challenge

During the 2014 Ohio Fair Managers Conference, More than 60 Jr. Fair Board members and adults experienced firsthand the importance of teamwork and problem solving. Teens participated in four different STEM Pathways Challenges to be able to take back lessons learned to incorporate in youth programming at their Fair during the summer.  Teens learn about forces in motion as they work together to maneuver their boards to have an egg travel down the assembly line. What implications might this challenge have for real world problems faced in the food processing industry? These teens along with 4‐H Extension professionals will be conducting this challenge and others at upcoming Fairs.

Stem Pathways Team Leader:

Patty House
Extension Educator, 4-H Youth Development


2014 STEM Pathways Annual Report