Science Initiative 2013 Proposal
Written by: Francia McCormack Wilson, M.Ed
Doug Harabe, Director of Fernbank Science Center, DeKalb County School District
Chris Robinson, Science Coordinator, DeKalb County School District
Deneen McBeanWarner, Science Coordinator, DeKalb County School District
Stan Watson, Commissioner of District 7
I am writing this grant for the teachers of the state of Georgia. Georgia will be one of the states
leading the way to redefining science standards. According to the press release from
Achieve.org “American students continue to lag internationally in science education, making
them less competitive for the jobs of the present and the future. A recent U.S. Department of
Commerce study shows that over the past 10 years, growth in Science, Technology,
Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) jobs was three times greater than that of nonSTEM jobs.
The report also shows that STEM jobs are expected to continue to grow at a faster rate than
other jobs in the coming decade.”
In order to better educate students, the state plans to adopt national science standards that will
be a step in the right direction of changing the way teachers educate their students. I feel
Georgia is a confident in leading changes ahead. Something amazing that happens in DeKalb
County schools is a resource called the Fernbank Science Center. An instructional unit of
DeKalb County, it is not attached with the museum. This facility houses scientists in many
subjects dedicated to teaching the children and acting as a resource for teachers. This resource
helps foster love and better understanding in young hearts. In the past programs like Scientific
Tools & Technology (STT) encouraged young science lovers to learn about the many sciences
like aerospace and physics, classes they would normally not take in their high schools.
1. Expanding the programs at Fernbank into more classrooms. This includes
Expansion/Reinstitution of programs like STT for high school students.
2. Provide teacher training at least once a semester focused on science lesson plans.
3. Create a lesson plan database based on partnerships with universities (Memorandums of
4. Create classroom relationships with labs in Georgia universities. Relationships will create
understanding of real life laboratory experiences and experiments.
4. Scholarship opportunities agreed upon in the Memorandums of Understanding for high
achieving science students.
Statisticians that work in the Department of Natural Resources can teach teachers how they
compile date of tree diseases and the general health of Georgia trees.
Partnerships can be established where students can work alongside national and state agencies
A Canadian student working with PBS and a university catalogued the amount of compost his
worms were decomposing by measuring the food going into the compost and the compost
waste coming out for at least 3 years. He shared his measurements, which fed into a larger
database of information. http://www.pbs.org/teachers/connect/resources/675/preview/
Improving the Numbers
In order for us to improve the number of scientists feeding science jobs of Georgia’s future, we
must begin to invest in effective teaching strategies that educators can pass along to their
students. We need to help teachers and students visualize and experience the type of work
needed to advance the State’s scientific community now and in the future.
We should also attempt to reach all students of Georgia by creating a component in the Georgia
Virtual Academy for homeschooled children.
Another component that can be fun, but relevant would be a literary component focused on
science fiction writing. A writing contest designed for students to imagine their science projects
and research in a fictional world. This could be another addon component to an expanding
The fair should have winners guaranteed scholarships, placement into Fernbank Science
programs like Scientific Tools & Technology and learning workshops for teachers, students and
families. Gone are the days where the science fair is just about studentsonly projects. Not only
should students have their own projects, but they should have their classroom projects up for
If students and teachers had real world scientists providing insight, there would be an
enlightening change in the way academia relates to the science workforce.
Academia can help as well. Our resources in Georgia are plentiful. Georgia Tech, Georgia State
University and the University of Georgia are just a few of our phenomenal research facilities. If
research projects adopted a classroom, students could learn from actual research and
scientists. Seeing scientists formulate their hypotheses and then move on to researching could
give valuable experience to classrooms.
Innovative Workshops for Continuing Education
With resources like the Smithsonian for educators or the NASA Quest Program we can
introduce teachers to a number of lesson plans. By creating a regular workshop space for
teachers for Continuing Education credits could provide the time and space, and incentive to
introduce teachers to scientists interested in teaming up with a classroom and innovative lesson
plans. The workshops will be comprised of scientists, researchers and teachers. Their goal
would be to find common ground and creating partnerships.
● Increase Science Fairs 1st semester and 2nd semester
● Science Fiction Literary contest
● Trips to research facilities connected to classroom
● Classroom lab assignments designed to incorporate lesson plans derived from Triad.
● Curriculum assessment based on Triad team’s rubric created in Teacher/Team
● Workshops 1st semester and 2nd Semester
● Triad Team Workshop
● Creating a learning strategy and/or Labbased Lesson Plan for the semester
● Decide Science Projects
● Determine Assessment
● Coordinate Field Trips
● Meet Curriculum Standards
The Main Facilitator for these Triad Teams will be the Fernbank Science Center, which is already
an established science facility in the community.