Ignite a Spark and Engage Youth with Spark, Link & Learn Projects!

Thank you for saying YES to Spark, Link, and Learn, and we hope you will enjoy the projects! We’d appreciate your feedback. Please complete this short survey after your students have completed the projects and activities! https://go.unl.edu/spark-link-learn-survey  Post your projects!  #4HSparkLinkLearn

Teacher Supply List

Teacher Survey

Spark, Link & Learn Project Series logo


Bird on a branchBird Explorers

Birds are everywhere! Learning about birds can be a lot of fun and can make for a great day outdoors. Birdwatching (or birding) is a popular hobby for people around the world. By learning more about birds and their habitat, who knows, you might develop a new birdwatching passion! It may even spark an interest in a new career field.

Let’s make a project! Create a bird feeder using supplies in your project bag, and explore birdwatching, all while identifying birds with a free app on a mobile device. We’ve also included a bird explorer’s guidebook. Try out the free projects and activities by clicking on the links below. Have fun!

Discussion Starters: How many species of birds did you find near your school, in your yard, your neighborhood, on a walk, or while you are visiting a new place? What types of careers and jobs could you explore if you enjoy learning about birds and their habitats? Career ideas: Ornithologist (person who studies birds, is an expert on birds), photographer, outdoor educator, birdwatching tour business, or wildlife biologist. What is something new that you learned by doing these activities? 


Bird Explorers

  1. Bird Feeder Project (pdf)
  2. Bird Identification (pdf)
  3. Bird Explorers Guidebook (pdf)



 Lightbulb inside brain Find Your Spark to Start

Hi there! Have you ever thought about starting your own business? Many young people have jumped in and already started a business. You don’t have to wait until you’re an adult! Check out the videos below to learn about two young entrepreneurs and their great business ideas.

What is an entrepreneur?  An entrepreneur is someone who takes a risk and starts a business. Can you think of any entrepreneurs in your community?  Often, they are creative, good problem solvers, friendly, motivated, and believe in themselves!  Does that sound like you?

Think about things you love to do, your strengths, and businesses that might be a great fit for you. Many entrepreneurs start service businesses. For example, plumbers, cosmetologists (people who style your hair), pet walkers, accountants, and dance/fitness instructors. Instead of a service business, you may want to sell products like jewelry, candles, tacos, or other items you make.

Click on the My Spark Box link below to make a personalized box with some great business ideas. Then, get your creative juices flowing with the rubber band challenge! You’ll find the rubber bands in your project bag.

Discussion Starters: What steps could you take to move forward with one of your business ideas? What types of careers and jobs could you explore if you would enjoy starting a business? What problem will you solve with your business ideas? Share something that you learned about yourself by doing these activities.   


  1. Snap Caps (video)
  2. Man Cans (video)
  3. My Spark Box (pdf to print) – My Spark Box (pdf fillable version)
  4. Rubber Band Challenge (pdf)
  5. Additional Activities:  Circle Challenge (pdf); Be You Activity (pdf)



Happy face emojis  Stress Busters

For this project, we are going to turn into Stress Busters! Everybody feels stress from time to time. Stress is a feeling you get when you are worried about something. You may feel frustrated or afraid. How we deal with stressful situations makes all the difference! Try out some of our stress-busting activities below.

First, we’ll be making a stress ball! You will find balloons in your project bag to complete this project. Did you know that a great way to eliminate stress is to exercise? We have added some ideas that will help you burn off energy in a fun way. Engaging in a favorite hobby can also reduce stress and bring you joy! It’s all hands-on as we try out a paper crafting hobby - making mini books to share with your friends and family. This project is guaranteed to take your mind off the stress in your life!    

Discussion Starters: Share what creates stress for you. (Tests, homework, arguments) What are some signs that you are stressed? (Headache, feel angry, upset, sick)  If you enjoy helping others reduce stress in their lives, what types of careers or jobs could you explore? Career ideas: Therapist, physical education teacher, school counselor, social worker, start a hobby business, and more! What is something new that you learned by doing these activities? 


Stress Busters

  1. Stress Ball Project (pdf)
  2. Stress-Busting Fun (pdf)
  3. Mini Book Project  (video)
  4. Parent Resource – Better Kid Care Stress Busting Activities



Build Cool Things  Engineering Fun

Engineering is a career where you use science to invent, design, and build things to solve problems in our world.  The field of engineering includes developing roads, bridges, cars, planes, machines, tools, robots, computers, and more! If you like figuring out how stuff works, and like to solve problems big and small, you might want to explore engineering as a career path!

Today’s project is to build a catapult!  Start with the directions provided and make a catapult. You will find the popsicle sticks and rubber bands needed in your project bag. After building your first catapult, create and design your own. We have included several video links below that will inspire you. If at any point, you find that your catapult design is not working, take a minute to explore other ideas. It’s okay to test a few different solutions before finding the one that works best. Engineers are creative, problem-solvers! 

Our next activity will give your engineering skills a workout! You will build an indoor string maze or treasure hunt for your classmates. Watch as they work their way through the maze using their problem-solving skills! Don’t forget to post a photo! #4HSparkLinkLearn.  

Discussion Starters: If your catapult didn’t work the first time, what changes did you make? If you enjoy figuring out how things work and like to solve problems, what types of engineering careers or jobs could you explore? Career ideas: Computer science, architecture, electrical engineer, drafting & design, aerospace engineer, and more! What is something new that you learned by doing these activities? 


Engineering Fun

  1. Popsicle Stick Catapult Project (pdf)
  2. More Catapult Building ideas!
    1. Catapult Video   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WpLFC_SOpXs
    2. Catapult Video   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wx9rXwn_hSs
  3. Build & Design a String Maze (pdf)