Tech Wizards group expands to Luther

LUTHER — 4-H and Michigan State University Extension will be bringing the popular Tech Wizards group to Luther which started with a kickoff meeting Feb. 10.

The group will meet on Wednesdays at the Luther Library and will feature a variety of science, technology, engineering and math based projects which are not only educational but fun. There is already a weekly Tech Wizards group which meets at Baldwin Elementary on Tuesdays, but this second group will offer kids from the northern part of the county a better opportunity to get involved.

"The Tech Wizards is a cool program," said Seth Hopkins, the 4-H MSU Extension leader who organizes and oversees the group. "It's a mentoring program and kids can always use another person to look up to. It's also a great way to expose kids to science, technology, engineering, arts and math fields in a way that's accessible and fun."

The Tech Wizards take part in a variety of activities aimed at giving students a deeper understanding of science and math-related subjects than what they can read out of a text book. The key is making the lessons less of a class and more of a hands-on project the kids can see, hear and touch.

"Part of teaching kids in 4-H is giving them hands-on experiences," remarked Hopkins. "I'm not teaching at them, I'm letting them make something they can be proud of and showing them why it works. We're going to do different programs every few weeks. In February, we'll be focusing on Lego robotics; building them, programming them and testing them. We'll have other projects coming up in future months like model rockets and demonstrating how circuits work. We'll be playing it by ear a bit."

Hopkins is inviting students ages 8 to 17 to attend the Luther group. The Baldwin group focuses on students around fifth and sixth grade, but the core age range of the Luther group will depend on what the ages are of the students who are interested.

Hopkins will continue to host the Baldwin area group from 3 to 5 p.m. on Tuesdays at the Baldwin Elementary library. Hopkins is still looking for mentors to volunteer for both groups.

Hopkins said the group will help increase students' self esteem, improve their resiliency, expand their critical thinking skills and decision making, grow their interests in new subjects or potential careers and allow them to do all of this in a fun, social group with their peers.

"The stereotype is kids don't have enough to do and this will give them something fun and positive in their lives they can take part in," said Hopkins.

For more information, contact Seth Hopkins at (231) 745-2732.