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Students get into STEM
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Ed Milan of Homes for Heroes shows students in Catherine Rutland's math class the different parts and functions of a prosthetic leg for Georgia STEM Day at Snelson-Golden Middle School. - photo by Tiffany King

Snelson-Golden Middle School celebrated Georgia STEM Day with other schools across the state May 6, engaging in activities involving science, technology, engineering and math.

Each grade level focused on a topic. Sixth-graders learned about building for earthquakes, seventh-graders learned about building prosthetic legs and hands, and eighth-graders focused on writing code for robotics.

Other class subjects such as language arts took part in the Day. Language arts teacher Avistine Cook had students read news articles about earthquakes and created maps to analyze the article.

Ed Milan of Homes for Heroes talked with students about the different components of prosthetics. Seventh-graders created prosthetic legs out of cardboard tubing, tape and other materials, and Milan gave feedback on their projects.

Assistant Principal Michelle O’Gorman said it was great that Milan evaluated the students’ projects.

Principal Roland Van Horn said that STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics) integrates all of the curriculum. Although it was STEM Day, Van Horn said the school was doing STEAM.

“If we can get the kids interested early, especially minority children, they are more likely to choose careers in STEM,” Van Horn said. “They can go to high school, and the curriculum won’t be foreign to them or go to the Liberty College and Career Academy with the knowledge they gained here.”

Van Horn said the students have taken to the curriculum. He called it the “next big adventure in schools.”

In Dedrick Smith’s science class, students were using iPads to code the movement of Lego robots through a maze. Smith said it was important to expose girls to coding because women are underrepresented in engineering.   

Eighth-graders Katherine Holandez and Kamora Brown designed the school’s STEAM logo, which is featured on T-shirts. Each letter illustrates an area of STEAM. For example, the letter E is formed with a light bulb, wrench and screwdriver.

Brown said she wants to become an architect, and Holandez plans to pursue a career in astrobiology.

TAG Education Collaborative, a non-profit organization dedicated to increasing STEM education awareness by partnering schools with technology businesses, organized Georgia STEM Day.

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