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Putnam County 4-H Robotics Team Prepares for National Competition

Aaron Anderson (center) provides skateboard balancing instruction to a member of the Clover STEMs Robotics Team.

Putnam County’s 4-H Lego Robotics Team, the Clover STEMs, do that which has never before been done. There is no 4-H booklet listing things that others have not done. The team members are tasked with creating a project which employs elements of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) to benefit their community.

This year, the Clover STEMs created a project designed to help wannabe skateboarders become the real deal. The project, dubbed Scan2Skate, will allow visitors to the City of Hurricane Skate Park to scan a QR code on their cell phone that will direct them a YouTube video which demonstrates and explains a particular trick or maneuver on a skateboard and/or a scooter.

Clover STEM members recognized the need for instruction because they had witnessed awesome and daring skateboard maneuvers and feared to attempt to replicate the moves. Some members were doubly in need of instruction because they had never skateboarded.

Because the project utilizes QR codes and cell phones, it meets the technology criteria. Was the project something which had been done before in an unknown location? Was QR code access to instruction available at any other skate parks? The club contacted the Tony Hawk Foundation, a nonprofit organization that helps underserved communities create safe and inclusive public skateparks for youth. The organization served as a resource in the design of the Hurricane Skate Park.

No one at the foundation was aware of any facility which employed a system like that which the Clover STEMs were proposing. The project seemingly met the uniqueness criteron.

The project is not complete. It cannot be completed until after the YouTube videos are created and QR codes produced.

On Friday, April 26, the Clover STEMs, members of the Huntington High School Media Class, high school skateboard demonstrator Tanner Foster, and adult skateboard demonstrator Aaron Anderson were all present at the Hurricane Skate Park to make the first step in creating the needed videos.

There will be ten QR codes and ten videos in total. Each QR code will access a particular trick or maneuver. The tricks include Bunny Hop, Tic Tac, 180, and Wheelie.

There are numerous 4-H Robotics teams in West Virginia which have or are in the process of creating a project for national competition. The Clover STEMs’ Scan2Skate project is among three of 47 projects from West Virginia which will compete later in the month of May in a national tournament in New Jersey. Six Clover STEM presenters, accompanied by parents, will present Scan2Skate at the 3-day event. The City of Hurricane is an official sponsor for the project and is providing financial support for the club to participate in the competition.

The Clover STEMs Scan2Skate project has the potential to benefit communities far beyond Hurricane. The QR codes will be registered and can be made available for posting at skate parks in all places.

High school skateboard demonstrator Tanner Foster instructs Clover STEMs on scouter techniques.
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