Student competition shines spotlight on subjects of science, technology, engineering and math


April 1, 2015             Contact: Katie Rishebarger,
4-H Science on the Move  or,
Mark Quinn, ECSC

Student competition shines spotlight on subjects of science, technology, engineering and math

South Carolina students interested in science and technology will have another opportunity this spring to showcase what they have learned in the classroom. The third annual S.C. 4-H Engineering Challenge, sponsored by EnlightenSC, offers students ages 9-19 a chance to participate in a multi-challenge competition on Saturday, April 18 at Orangeburg-Calhoun Technical College. Organizers of the competition created the event to spur students’ interest in STEM subjects: science, technology, engineering, and math.

The S.C. 4-H Engineering Challenge gives students an opportunity to compete in five distinct disciplines:

•    Bridge Building Competition: Teams will design, build and test their bridge to find out which bridge can hold the most weight

•    Egg Lofter Rocket Contest: Individual contestants will launch egg-bearing rockets as high as possible and return them to Earth as fast as possible without breaking the eggs. Broken eggs are disqualified.

•    Energy Challenge: For teams of creative students interested in energy, architecture and the connection between esthetic beauty and the development of sustainable, energy-efficient homes.

•    GPS Competition: Teams will use a Garmin eTREX 20 GPS unit to find hidden coaches and complete a score sheet using stamps hidden at each cache.

•    LEGO Robotics Competition: Teams will assemble and program their LEGO EV3 or NXT robot to perform designated tasks.

Clemson Cooperative Extension’s 4-H Science on the Move is organizing the competition. Science on the Move is a new state-wide initiative through South Carolina 4-H and the Clemson Extension Service. The program strives to enrich science education by providing mobile science resources to schools, home school groups, after-school programs, community organizations, and anyone working to enhance youth experiences. The program’s wide variety of equipment and kits to give students a unique, hands-on learning experience that will help them further understand the science concepts they are being taught in class.
“Our hope is that these competitions will help students improve their problem-solving skills and further explore their interests in engineering,” said Katie Rishebarger, event organizer and coordinator of 4-H Science on the Move. “Next year, we want to make the competitions more career focused by bringing in engineering professionals in fields related to each competition. Then, they can talk to students about how their interests can translate into a career that they would enjoy.”

The event title sponsor is EnlightenSC, an energy education initiative developed by the state’s electric cooperatives. The EnlightenSC program and its corresponding website ? ? provide South Carolina teachers with free training opportunities and the online classroom resources they need to incorporate energy lessons quickly and get students excited about STEM subjects. All EnlightenSC materials are aligned with state education standards.
“EnlightenSC was created to help inspire young people to solve our state’s energy challenges,” said Lindsey Smith, vice president of education at The Electric Cooperatives of South Carolina. “In our first two years, we focused exclusively on providing teachers with resources that make teaching energy lessons easier. We’re excited to partner with Clemson and South Carolina 4-H in 2015 to connect directly with students through the engineering challenge. It’s going to be fun seeing how these young think, work together and solve problems.”
The cost to enter the S.C. 4-H Engineering Challenge are $5 per individual student or $10 per team. Interested students wanting more information about the contest can visit the website at challenge or contact Katie Rishebarger at To compete, students need to register online before April 8:

EnlightenSC is an energy education program developed by educators for the consumer-owned electric cooperatives in South Carolina. The co-ops created EnlightenSC as a way to help teachers better access energy-related information and activities for their classrooms, resources designed to get young people excited about science, technology, engineering and mathematics: the so-called STEM subjects.

4-H Science on the Move is a new state-wide initiative through South Carolina 4-H and the Clemson Extension Service to enrich science education through a program that provides mobile science resources. Science on the Move follows students ages 5-19, giving them the skills to further their training after graduation and prepare them for careers in the sciences. This program intends to help coach students to become the prepared workforce that South Carolina needs to interest new businesses and encourage economic growth.