Symstad

Amy Symstad, a research ecologist from Hot Springs, works with a group of local 4-H club girls last week as part of a National Science Day event.

HOT SPRINGS – With the goal of encouraging an interest in science, several Hot Springs area 4-H youth members took part in a National Youth Science Day event in the county’s South Annex building (former ambulance shed), where local scientist Amy Symstad led an experiment in “Incredible Wearables.”

Focused on learning about wearable technology – including watches, eyewear, virtual reality headsets, etc – the 10 participating youth were divided up into a boys group and a girls group and were walked through an exercise to build their own fitness monitor from an electronic kit provided by 4-H. Once completed, the device, similar to a FitBit, would be able to monitor one’s pulse and also tell how many steps or movements the wearer took.

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Symstad, who is a research ecologist with the U.S. Geologic Survey and focuses much of her time doing work for the National Park Service, said this was the fifth year in which she had helped with the 4-H’s National Youth Science Day event in Hot Springs. This year’s experiment, she said, was more complex than some of the past year’s science kit provided by 4-H. Previous years had included such things as air-propelled rockets.

Following the completion of each group’s experiment, which included putting together the circuitry of the devices and also designing a means to where them, Symstad asked the youth what they had learned. Answers ranged from how trial-and-error played a role in developing the final product, to how they learned that exercise would increase their heart rate.

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