The Georgia Department of Education is dedicated to preparing students for 21st Century workplace careers by providing high quality educational opportunities in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields. In Georgia, STEM education is defined as an integrated curriculum (as opposed to science, technology, engineering, and mathematics taught in isolation) that is driven by problem solving, discovery, exploratory project/problem-based learning, and student-centered development of ideas and solutions. The saturation of technology in most fields means that all students – not just those who plan to pursue a STEM profession – will require a solid foundation in STEM to be productive members of the workforce.
Brookwood Elementary School in Dalton City Schools is the 12th school to be STEM Certified in Georgia. The school’s focus on environmental sustainability serves students well as they partner with Dalton State College to trap and release turtles in a local pond. Release occurs after the turtles have been weighed, marked, and sexed and that data recorded during an on-going research study conducted by 4th graders. 1st graders work collaboratively with the Tennessee Aquarium and the University of Georgia on a Monarch butterfly research study to track migration and count parasites on butterfly scales under the microscope. The entire school participates in the maintenance of a year-round garden where local agricultural engineers monitor and support the research projects conducted by all students. Shaw Industries, United Way, Keep Dalton Beautiful, and others also partner with each grade level to help create regularly occurring STEM integrated stations where students rotate from one teacher to another with environmental sustainability being the cornerstone for lessons. Click here to learn more about Brookwood Elementary.