It has come to our attention that that the class descriptions for Architectural Block Construction (ABC) published in the Kansas State Fair book did not align with the rule set for this year. As such we are making an important correction to the 2023 ABC State Fair Rules to correct the difference between the rule set and the class descriptions.
You can see the state fair book here: https://www.kansas4-h.org/events-activities/fairs/kansas-state-fair/index.html
The current 2023 ABC class description reads as follows:
Introductory – Level 1 (about 1 – 3 years of experience)
5710 Level 1 Diorama. A diorama illustrating at least 2 architectural features beyond floors, ceilings, and walls.
Experienced – Level 2 (about 4 – 6 years of experience)
5711 Level 2 Diorama. A diorama illustrating at least 4 architectural features beyond floors, ceilings, and walls, and includes 1 or more motion elements.
Advanced – Level 3 (about 7 – 9 years of experience)
5712 Level 3 Diorama. A diorama illustrating at least 6 architectural features beyond floors, ceilings, and walls, and includes 2 or more motion elements.
Master – Level 4 (10 or more years experience)
5713 Level 4 Diorama. A diorama illustrating at least 8 architectural features beyond floors, ceilings, and walls, and includes 3 or more motion elements.
These descriptions do not fit with the wording and intent of the ABC rules for 2023. We are working with the State 4-H office to put out an advisory notice and correction to the class numbers for the Kansas State Fair. However it is possible some counties may have already included the incorrect class numbers in their county fair books.
For county/district 4-H Staff we recommend reviewing your county fair book to insure you are using the class descriptions below. If your county fair book has already been published and uses a copy of the State Fair rules for ABC you can notify youth and parents of this correction or leave the class descriptions as is. We strongly recommend working with your ABC judge to clarify the judging standards that will be used, and encourage you to follow the published 2023 ABC rule set and not the 2023 class descriptions. If your county fair book has not been published, we strongly encourage you to update the class descriptions for ABC.
For parents or youth in a county using the incorrect ABC class descriptions, we recommend contacting your county/district extension office to clarify expectations. If your county has not published their fair book yet please work with them to update the ABC class descriptions to reflect the corrections below.
Registering ABC exhibits for the Kansas State Fair. For exhibits that meet the 2023 State Fair criteria for ABC, the class descriptions will be updated to those below in the registration system. This means that when registering exhibits for the 2023 Kansas State Fair that you will need to insure the correct class number is used as the classes change from experience based to age based classes. Thus the class number may change for youth in counties that are not using the corrected class descriptions.
ABC Judging at the Kansas State Fair. The 2023 State fair judges will be informed to judge according to the published rules and corrected class descriptions.
The corrected 2023 ABC class descriptions are as follows:
Intermediate (ages 9-13)
5710 Interlocking brick diorama built from scratch.
Senior (ages 14 and up)
5711 Advanced Interlocking brick diorama built from scratch.
The 2023 classes are broken up by age to make it easier for parents, youth, and judges to determine the appropriate class to exhibit in. While not optimal, this should alleviate confusion.
Counties are also encouraged to create a county only class, for example 5713 or adding the letter ‘a’ to the end of 5710, for youth ages 7 and 8, who are ineligible for the 2023 Kansas State Fair to display in at their county fairs.
An advisor notice to this change will be posted on the State Fair rules page and counties/districts will be notified as well.
We are very sorry about the confusion this has caused. Should you have questions or need additional clarification you can use the contact page or reach out to the State 4-H office.
Thank your for your understanding,
I’m reading the corrections above and am now confused about what I should tell me project kiddos about their builds.
We have several kiddos that are either 6/7 and then kiddos that are 9+ years old. The corrected information only mentions a diorama and nothing about the moving components. Would you please be able to clarify this information for me? This is my first year being the project leader for our group and want to make sure I am providing the correct information to the parents and the kiddos.
This year (2023) the options have really opened up. Youth are able to be very imaginative about what they create. There is not a requirement for architectural components or for motion elements. There is a stronger emphasis on tying what is built to a story. The classic question from the judge, “tell me what we have here?”
For example “I built a diorama of the county fair, here you can see my friends John and Susy getting their sheep ready for the sheep show. That one is Dinner and the other is named Mint. Over here are our woodworking exhibits, and Tommy built that table, and he got a purple ribbon on it. Next to that is the food stand, and that’s me, it’s the first time I get to work in there, and I’m so excited about it.” <– I suspect we all know youth that can tell a story like this.
The idea, the desire, is for interlocking blocks to do what they have always done. They allow youth (and adults) to convert abstract thoughts and concepts into tangible creations that they can explain. So the question becomes what do they want to build? Then build it, and tell the story of why you built it and what's happening.
Moving to the grown up perspective and what this is teaching in relation to STEM is actually something that can be difficult for adults to wrap their head around. In STEM new advancements aren't made through wrote memorization of formulas, methods, and equations. These are just building blocks. What allows new and exciting advancements is finding "fun" and different ways to put them together. How do you take the same blocks that everyone else has to build the tallest building, cure an illness, or harvest crops more effectively? You do it by taking the blocks and seeing how you can put them together differently. You then tell the story of what you created. I think this is such a simple concept that it is often overlooked. This, in my opinion, is one of the values of play that should be strongly encouraged. A quote often attributed to Einstein: "If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales." (https://blogs.loc.gov/folklife/2013/12/einsteins-folklore/)
So encourage them to build and tell the story of what they built. An adult can transcribe the story for them, as long as it’s their story in their words.
Is that what you are looking for?