Individual lessons and curricula on social and emotional skills, healthy living, college readiness, STEM and more.
Animals and livestock
Llamazing Alpaca Explorers is a series of independent learning guides for youth in grades 3 and up to get to know llamas and alpacas. Part 1: Llama-Alpaca Body Bonanza, includes 7 activity guides focused on llama/alpaca history and anatomy. Each guide is designed for youth to be able to explore on their own, or with the help of a caring adult, through pictures, videos, and hands-on activities.
Civic engagement and leadership
Be an agent for change! This series of activities is designed for youth to increase their knowledge of the wide world of plastics while repurposing (upcycling) single-use plastics into an amazing piece of art.
Resources are designed for youth in grades 3 and up to use on their own or younger youth with adult support.
Little Leadership Lessons is a series of 9 short lessons you can use to enhance your leadership training events and programs. Most of these lessons are between 10 and 20 minutes and can be used in any order and either individually or in conjunction with others. Ideal for grades 7 and up.
In this curriculum, youth explore their role as participants in a global society and are prepared to thrive in culturally-diverse settings. It is ideal for youth in grades 6-8, but can be adapted for other age groups. It is also effective as a program model.
In this lesson, youth learn about the dimensions of human identity by using props to build a likeness of Martin Luther King Jr. It is ideal for youth in grades 6-8 and is a sample from WeConnect: A Global Youth Citizenship Curriculum.
Below are the resources in this curriculum library that are designed either specifically for youth in grades K-2 or a grade range that includes K-2.
- All Feelings Matter
- Backyard Birds
- Building Healthy Habits
- Engineering Electricity
- Fuel Up, Tune Up, Groove Up
- I Can Engineer!
- Ice Lanterns
- Junior Aerospace
- Natural Dyes across the Color Wheel
- Outdoor Skills & Stories Day Camp
- Pop the Bag
- Preparing for a Winter Outdoor Adventure
- Straw Painting
- Team Cuisine
- Themed 4-H Agendas
Below are resources to help parents, guardians, volunteers and mentors better understand how to work with youth in grades K-2.
Environment and earth science
In this lesson, youth learn different categories of animal signs and how these signs relate to animal behaviors to help them identify wildlife living in their environment. Ideal for grades 3-6.
The Leaflet is an independent learning guide designed to get youth in grades 3-8 exploring and learning about the natural world! From camping to animal adaptations to archery, youth discover what it means to be a naturalist—a person who is passionate about the environment.
With this learning guide, youth can work independently to look closely at nature and make observations about the world around them. Learn how to record observations, make sketches, and employ senses beyond sight to hear, touch and smell differences in our environment. Ideal for grades 3-8.
With this independent learning guide, youth can work on their own to look at key characteristics of bees and differentiate them from a fly or wasp. They'll learn about native pollinators, focusing specifically on the Rusty Patched Bumble Bee, and they'll explore native plants that benefit the Rusty Patched Bumble Bee and other pollinators. Ideal for grades 3-8.
This guide is designed to encourage youth exploration and understanding of Minnesota habitats and wildlife. It covers topics related to wildlife, water resources and aquatic invasive species, as well as trees and landscapes, with information and activities related to animal tracks and signs, birds, reptiles and amphibians, stormwater, ground water, aquatic invasive species, tree and lichen ID, phenology observations, and more. Designed for grades 4-6.
Expressive arts and communication
In this independent learning guide, youth work on their own to develop experience and skills in the 4-H Shop-Wood and Metal Project area while using reclaimed materials to create their very own clock. Designed for grades 3-8, this project may require adult assistance for younger youth or youth who have never used a drill or hammer.
In this independent learning guide, youth work on their own to discover what they can use to dye fabrics that may be right under their noses. Best for grades 2-8. Adult supervision is strongly recommended.
In this independent learning guide, youth try abstract art by using a straw to paint! Designed as an independent project for grades 3 and up, but K-2 can do the activity with guidance.
Family and consumer science
Gardening and agriculture
In this lesson, youth learn about the plant growing process and the benefits of home gardening by planting herb seeds in a hanging greenhouse they make out of a two-liter bottle. Ideal for youth in grades 3-8.
In this lesson, youth explore the importance and impact of technology in agriculture by experiencing a milking simulation, seeing how farming has changed over the last 500 years through short videos and a timeline activity, and designing preliminary solutions for agriculture challenges. Ideal for grades 3-8.
In this lesson, youth learn about worms and how they benefit soil in gardens and fields by listening to a worm story, learning about worm anatomy, and doing an experiment observing worms and what they need to survive. There is also an optional activity of building a worm farm for making compost. Ideal for grades 3 and up.
This series of six lessons focuses on whole-body wellness for youth in grades K-3. The lesson themes are based on the MyPlate template and include healthy living skill-building, such as mindfulness and physical activity, as well as trying new foods by making healthy snacks. Each lesson was created to be used in a 30-minute online format but can be easily adapted for use in person.
Social and emotional learning (SEL) helps youth to be aware of and manage emotions, work well with others and work hard when faced with challenges. This toolkit includes activities, templates and tools organized around four ways to help support staff and youth in SEL.
This lesson plan introduces the idea of stress. Youth learn how stress affects us, the importance of seeking help when feeling overwhelmed, and stress management techniques to cope with stress. Ideal for grades 6-12.
This compilation of grounding exercises and stress-related activities helps youth understand and manage stress. It includes:
- Grounding exercises that can serve as icebreakers, re-sets or reflections to help youth tune in, calm down and manage stress.
- Activities to help youth learn what stress is, how it affects us, and the importance of seeking help.
- Information to build your own kit and links to related University of Minnesota Extension resources.
Team Cuisine is a series of seven lessons demonstrating how youth can create nutritious meals while building and identifying cultural awareness and differences among recipes.
This series can be used with youth in grades K-13 in a 4-H club, after-school setting, day camp, at home or family events. Use the whole series, or individual lessons can stand alone for single-session programming.
Including youth of all abilities
Below are the resources in this curriculum library that are designed for youth to pick up and use on their own.
This series of 7 independent learning guides introduces youth to the exciting world of ice fishing! The guides cover ice safety, types of lures and bait, fish species, reels and rods, being good stewards and more. Designed for youth grades 3-8 to pick up and use themselves, but it can also be used by adults to facilitate a learning experience for youth.
Youth learn how to read a topographic map and navigate with a compass through 4 lessons on reading a topographic map, understanding the compass, using the compass in the field and navigating an orienteering course. Ideal for grades 3 and up.
4-H Outdoor Skills Day Camp fosters in young children (grades K-2) a love of the outdoors and a respectful relationship with the environment. Through hands-on activities and children’s literature which centers black and indigenous people of color (BIPOC), youth will explore nature through literacy. These five program sessions are full of fun lessons and activities designed to introduce youth to the topics of birding, water protection, hiking, fishing, and camping.
Steppin’ Outdoors is a year-long series of activity guides designed to lead youth and their families in outdoor exploration. Each season of the year has three corresponding activities that encourage skill development, creativity, citizen science and more!
Designed for grades K to 6 to explore on their own.
In this lesson, youth learn about the chemical reaction between acids and bases by combining citric acid and gelatin in their mouths and by designing their own experiments. Ideal for grades 3-6.
In this lesson, youth gain an introductory understanding of how matter changes from one state to another by exploring the behavior of dry ice through dry ice tricks and making root beer. Ideal for grades 3-8.
In this lesson, youth learn about acid-base reactions and use this knowledge to test different household substances to dye eggs and observe chemical changes. Ideal for grades 3-6.
In this lesson, youth design and build a wind-powered vehicle to turn on a light bulb using the Engineering Design Process. Youth also learn how to incorporate this step into a Rube Goldberg™ type machine. Ideal for grades K-8.
This independent learning guide is designed for youth in grades 3-8 to complete an engineering design challenge on their own. The challenge is to create an air powered vehicle that goes as far and as fast as possible.
This independent learning guide is designed for youth in grades 3-8 to complete an engineering design challenge on their own. The challenge is to build a catapult that uses a lever to send objects flying as far as you can!
This independent learning guide is designed for youth in grades 3-8 to complete an engineering design challenge on their own. The challenge is to build a pulley system that can lift as much weight as possible!
This independent learning guide is designed for youth in grades 3-8 to complete an engineering design challenge on their own. The challenge is to build an inclined plan to transfer as much energy as possible!
This independent learning guide is designed for youth in grades 3-8 to complete an engineering design challenge on their own. The challenge is to build a Rube Goldberg machine that uses at least 3 steps and 2 energy transfers to complete a task of your choosing!
In this lesson, youth learn about two of the six simple machines—the wedge and the wheel & axle—by creating, testing and evaluating a vehicle using air to demonstrate how a wheel and axle affects the motion of an object. The lesson can be used in conjunction with the other 4 Engineering Simple Machines lesson, or by itself. Ideal for grades 3-8.
In this lesson, youth learn about two of the six simple machines—the lever and the screw—by creating and testing a model to demonstrate how motion helps a screw and a lever work. The lesson can be used in conjunction with the other 4 Engineering Simple Machines lesson, or by itself. Ideal for grades 3-8.
In this lesson, youth learn about two of the six simple machines—the lever and the pulley—and will demonstrate how a pulley can make lifting easier by building and testing a pulley system of their own. The lesson can be used in conjunction with the other 4 Engineering Simple Machines lesson, or by itself. Ideal for grades 3-8.
In this lesson, youth use information about the six simple machines to create an inclined plane and demonstrate how energy and energy transfer takes place between two objects. The lesson can be used in conjunction with the other 4 Engineering Simple Machines lesson, or by itself. Ideal for grades 3-8.
In this lesson, youth use a variety of the six simple machines to create a Rube Goldberg™ type of machine to solve a challenge. The lesson can be used as the culminating lesson from the other 4 Engineering Simple Machine lessons, or it can be used by itself. Ideal for grades 3-8.
Youth in grades K-2 use the experiential learning process to explore engineering through five engineering design modules. Use these exciting, age-appropriate, low-cost, hands-on activities to help youth think like engineers!
This series of 6 lessons is a compilation of original work and educational resources from the Minnesota Department of Transportation, the National Headquarters Civil Air Patrol, Utah 4-H and the SciTech institute. It is designed for youth in grades K-8 to explore aerospace through hands-on and interactive activities. Youth will spend time designing and learning about gliders, helicopters, hovercrafts and rockets.
The lessons can be delivered stand-alone at a club meeting, after school workshop or camp setting, or be utilized in their entirety through a project club. Guided through reflection practices in the youth flight log, participants will achieve certifications as they complete challenges within each of the lessons.
In this independent learning guide, youth work on their own to create an electrical circuit to light up an LED bulb. Templates are provided to make a car, tree, firefly, rocket or flower. Best for grades 3 and up.
In this curriculum, youth explore the concepts of materials; plastics; reuse, recycle, and reduce; and the work of scientists and engineers. The curriculum set covers three grade bands: K-2, 3-5, and 6-8 and aligns with Next Generation Science Standards.
In this lesson, youth learn how matter (solid, liquid, gas) can change form by mixing two common household substances to cause a chemical reaction that creates a third substance. Ideal for grades K-6.
Youth learn to be an Environment Protector through the science of snow! In this independent learning guide, youth can work on their own to learn how to keep our environment and themselves safe this winter by experimenting with salt and snow. Ideal for grades 5-9.
This Super Science Series is a collection of super fun science lessons (45-75 minutes) designed for grades 3-8. Each lesson includes a science activity that incorporates different science and engineering concepts in a way that gets youth excited about learning more.
Short Super Science is a collection of quick (20-30 minutes) fun science activities, designed for youth in grades 3-6, that can be completed with everyday supplies. Each lesson includes an activity that incorporates different science and engineering concepts in a fun way.
Themed 4-H club agenda samples
Reviewed in 2023