JCEP | 4-H | Youth.gov | Print Page | Sign In | Join
News & Press: The Pulse

4-H Curriculum, Designed Differently

Wednesday, September 25, 2019   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Jenny Morlock, Ohio State University Extension
Share |

Producing project books for today’s 4-H members can be challenging. Resources are limited and time is precious. By using design thinking, a process for creative problem solving, you can open the door to creating new and innovative curriculum for 4-H youth. 

Design thinking has a human-centered core. It encourages organizations to focus on the people they are creating for, which eventually leads to better products, services, and internal process.[1] As I learn about design thinking, it occurs to me I have been using some of its methods already in my work as lead author on several 4-H curriculum efforts. The focus on people—4-H members, their families, and volunteers—naturally drives not only better content, but also a better approach. It has led me to involve multitalented 4-H volunteers in the curriculum development process.

By empowering volunteers to share their expertise and life experiences, we have created four Ohio 4-H project books that are successful for their appeal to youth, for their popularity with volunteers, and for their fit in the overall program. Working with 4-H staff, volunteers bring fresh ideas and different perspectives to the table. Because of volunteer involvement, our writing team created topnotch resources for youth, and because of their experience, volunteers were also newly inspired.

You can learn more about design thinking online. In the meantime, check out these books written by an open-minded 4-H professional (yours truly) and a dedicated team of volunteers. Follow the links for sample pages.

You Can Quilt! Curious about quilting but don’t know where to start?  Look no further!  Just gather quilting tools, select and cut fabrics, stitch pieces together, and before you know it, you’re quilting! 

Quilting the Best Better This project is for 4-H members who have completed You Can Quilt! Now you can practice and refine your quilting skills by using the half-square triangle method on a built-in community service project and your own lap quilt. 

It’s My Home You can be a big contributor to your household in so many ways.  Why not do so AND keep your own sense of style?  This project covers basic design elements, organization, upcycling, and service learning.  All activities can be done with your excellent decision making, good taste, and a big heart.

Safe Use of Guns This project sets the tone for a safety-first attitude around guns. Take the safety pledge, then learn about pistols, rifles, and shotguns by getting to know their parts and how to handle them. Actually shooting a firearm is not a requirement. This one-time project is for members with little or no experience in shooting sports.

These nationally peer reviewed project books represent unparalleled commitment from our 4-H volunteers, all of whom work closely with 4-H members. They are available through Ohio State University Extension at extensionpubs.osu.edu. It’s My Home is also available at shop4-h.org.

[1] Based on comments by David M. Kelley, IDEO and Stanford d.school, on designthinking.ideo.com/

National Association of Extension 4-H Youth Development Professionals
701 Exposition Place, Suite 206 | Raleigh, NC 27615 | T: (919) 232-0112 | E: nae4ha@nae4ha.com