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Purdue creates online 4-H curricula on timely environmental topics

April 14, 2015

A Purdue University faculty member has prepared Indiana 4-H's first online curricula - and on the environmentally important sciences of weather, climate, soil and water.

The curricula - Soil and Water Science and Weather and Climate Science - will help students in grades 3-12 nationwide learn about the topics that are increasing in interest among the public, said Natalie Carroll, a Purdue Extension specialist and youth development and agricultural education professor who developed the programs. They also will serve as a resource for parents, educators and 4-H volunteers interested in teaching them.

"These topics often are in the news because of the importance of preserving our natural resources not only for today but for future generations," Carroll noted. "We want to help make the public better informed about the issues, and we also hope to help better prepare our youth for college."

The curricula are presented in three education levels - Level 1, for grades 3-5; Level 2, for grades 6-8; and Level 3, for grades 9-12, with the material increasing in complexity according to education level.

The Level 3 material in both curricula helps prepare high school students for topics they will study at a college level.

Because the curricula are online, they offer more learning activities than what otherwise would be available in a printed manual. And instead of following a printed manual from the beginning to the end, participants can click on a topic of interest in the table of contents and go directly to it.

The programs are presented in interactive documents for ease of answering questions on the various topics covered. The results can be stored on a computer or printed on paper.

"We are very pleased to be able to offer these new educational products in an interactive downloadable format," said Renee McKee, assistant director and program leader of 4-H youth development at Purdue. "This aids in the transfer of information that is easily applied by 4-H members to real-world settings."

A video of Carroll explaining the curricula is available at

The curricula are available for a nominal charge at Purdue Extension's The Education Store at Search for "Soil and Water Science" and "Weather and Climate Science." Level 1 curricula is available in a printed publication in addition to online; curricula for the Levels 2 and 3 are online only.

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