BRITT | Music filled the West Hancock Elementary School art room as nearly 20 third- and fourth-graders blew their handmade harmonicas.

“How do you think they make noise?” said Victoria Schmidt, Hancock County Extension youth coordinator. “The paper does what?”

“It vibrates,” a student responded.

The harmonicas, which were constructed using Popsicle sticks, toothpicks, rubber bands and paper, were made during the After School Kids’ 4-H Club on Tuesday, Oct. 17, in Britt.

“4-H Afterschool Kids’ Club is designed to give kids an opportunity to be a part of 4-H,” Schmidt said.

The program is offered to third- and fourth-grade students in Hancock County on Mondays in Garner and on Tuesdays in Britt from 3:30 to 5 p.m. for eight consecutive weeks during the fall semester and spring semester.

“Each semester we focus on discovering a new theme,” Schmidt said.

This session, which runs from mid-September to mid-November, focuses on the science of music, including how sound travels, how sound looks and how instruments and voices work, taught through hands-on learning that can be applied to real-life situations.

Third-grader Violet Clendenen is participating in the after-school program for the first time this semester, and she’s learned a lot about sound.

“Sound waves aren’t waves,” she said. “They go up and down and get thicker and thinner and taller and shorter.”

Clendenen said her favorite part about the program is the snack offered and the games played each week.

Third-graders Haylen Broshar and Gavin Wunder, who attends Kanawha Christian School, agreed.

“It’s really fun,” he said, adding he gets to meet new people through the program since he attends a different school.

Tuesday’s program included a snack, a project, games and a lesson about how sound is measured as well as how and when people should protect themselves from sound.

Wunder also brought an alto saxophone to show the club.

4 H is a youth development organization that serves every county and parish in the U.S. through a network of 110 public universities and more than 3,000 local Extension offices, according to the organization’s website.

In Iowa, more than 100,000 youth participate in 4-H programming, such as afterschool, community clubs and camping, each year.

Schmidt said Hancock County Extension has offered the after-school opportunity for more than 15 years, and it’s had “steady enrollment” — often reaching its 20-student limit — each semester.

“Many fifth-graders ask about how they can get involved and what’s available for them as they get too old to participate in our 4-H after-school program,” she said.

Registration forms for next semester’s 4-H after-school program will be distributed within the schools’ classrooms in early 2018. Schmidt said the registration deadline is usually a couple weeks before the program begins.

For questions about the after-school programs or other 4-H programming, call the Hancock County Extension Office at 641-923-2856.

Reach Reporter Ashley Stewart at 641-421-0533. Follow her on Twitter at GGastewart.

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