4-H Biotechnology Games

Advancing 4-H Youth Careers in Food and Agriculture via Biotechnology and STEM

A USDA-NIFA funded project is developing cohorts of 4-H youth who are creating biotechnology video games. The games convey fun and science-based information about biotechnology such as genetic engineering. They build public confidence in the safe use of biotechnology in agriculture and the food system while also providing education to youth on career opportunities. The University of Connecticut (UConn) Extension, together with faculty members of other departments in the College of Agriculture, Health and Natural Resources (CAHNR), is leading the project in partnership with the Learning Games Laboratory at New Mexico State University (NMSU).

Youth are participating in meetings and game jams with the UConn and NMSU teams. Curricula includes 4-H experiential lessons, industry field trips, and speakers. The team is developing and sharing outreach materials including two interactive games and videos (see below). NMSU’s role is developing the games with the 4-H youth, allowing them to understand the design and development process.

4-H members are building knowledge and career awareness through the program. They are learning about how biotechnology helps crops through climate resilience, general knowledge of how CRISPR works, basic lab techniques, and more! They discuss and learn about the evolving field of agricultural biotechnology and what scientists worldwide are studying.

The program includes the 4-H fundamentals of belonging, mastery, independence and generosity. These all align with a Whole Child approach through the 4-H Thrive Model.

Project Leader

Dr. Eugene's Biotech Lab

A new biotechnology game created by UConn Extension, in cooperation with the Learning Games Laboratory at New Mexico State University, allows youth to explore career opportunities in a biotechnology lab. The game is available at https://www.4hbiotechgames.org/ 

Youth play the game as an intern at Dr. Eugene's Biotech Lab. Upon entering the lab, Xeb, a robot, greets you and provides an overview. Next, you can choose from four areas of gene editing research, and work with different scientists, including Dr. Eugene, to learn more about their research. There are cases for you to work on in food production, health, nutrition, and the environment. Earn achievements as you work in the lab alongside the scientists, and discover the various careers available in food and agriculture.

Play the game.

drawing of a scientist
drawing of a scientist

Get Involved

4-H Biotechnology Interest Form

The 4-H Biotechnology programs will meet twice per month in the Greater Hartford area, with the opportunity for additional participation.

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Biotechnology Educational Package

Please fill out this form to receive the 4-H Biotechnology educational package, including curriculum, that accompanies Dr. Eugene's Biotech Lab and can be used in your classroom or other educational setting.

Can we contact you with a curriculum evaluation?
This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Additional Information

Funding Acknowledgement

This work is supported by the Food and Agriculture Nonformal Education program, grant no. 2022-68018-36094 from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture.

Extension logo
NIFA logo
NMSU logo