The STEM Program at Tucker High School is a cohort-style, problem-based learning model. Students are selected to join a one-class cohort in 9th grade where the students travel to their core STEM classes together, including Science, Math, Engineering, and Literature. This model is carried out over all 4 years of the program and the curriculum include accelerated, honors, gifted, or Advanced Placement courses. Each teacher involved with the program works together to institute a collaborative, integrated, and engaged environment where the students learn in an interdisciplinary and connected way. The program is also centered around one central theme and project, Kelley Cofer Lake. In conjunction with DeKalb Parks and Recreation and Friends of Kelley Cofer, the students work on various aquatic, biological, and marine engineering projects throughout the year. These projects are worked into the curriculum as problems where the students must develop solutions and institute the solutions at the lake and around the community.
The STEM Program has several levels of integration throughout the entirety of the program across all grade levels. The initial integration involves the collaboration that takes place at the committee level. Julie Todd (Science & Chair), William Greszes (Math) and Cory Booth (Engineering) are the primary STEM Program committee members with Jo-Anne Branch, Assistant Principal of Instruction and Shanesa Walker, Counselor, assisting with input on the direction of the program. The three primary chairs work together to plan out the problem-based learning projects the students are exposed to. The projects range from small in-class assignments to full projects where designs are constructed and installed at the lake or at the school. These projects serve to make the explicit connections between the different disciplines and allow students to work across the curriculum from each discipline in a logical and guided manner. This allows the program to be spread across each classroom and have accessibility and visibility to the surrounding community. After the committee has decided on a problem or project, the corresponding teachers who will be involved in the project are asked to provide input from their curriculum and create an integrated design brief and grading criteria. Once everything has been completed, it is then given to the students.
This process is ongoing and changes from project to project. However, we always strive to include science, math, and engineering concepts in the projects. Often we will involve the literature and composition component in the projects through the students completing their research papers or proposals with the literature teachers, increasing their technical writing skills.
Fish Hatchery - In September of 2014, The Tucker High School STEM program organized the construction of a fish hatchery on the school grounds. The hatchery was constructed in order to raise fish into maturity in order to be released into Cofer Lake. Since its installment, the STEM students and teacher raised different types if fish,including catfish and trout. As they grew, the pH, dissolved oxygen levels, and ammonia levels of the water were closely monitored and observed to ensure the fish properly grew before being released into the lake.
Greenhouse - In September of 2015, both the STEM classes of 2018 and 2019 collaboratively began construction on a greenhouse on the school grounds.
Tucker High School Contact Information:
5036 LaVista Road, Tucker GA 30084