STEAM at Ford Elementary School

Science
Technology
Engineering
Arts
Math

"Growing Toward the Future"  

Program Highlights:

STEM Lab- STEM Lab at Ford Elementary School is a special place where students are able to explore their world using a hands-on learning approach. Every student at our school from Kindergarten through 5th grade experiences the STEM Lab for 45 minutes each week as part of their specials rotation.

Lessons are approached from a comprehensive variety of learning experiences including problem based, project based, and inquiry based learning activities. Our students are encouraged to engage in authentic scientific inquiry and problem solving using real world experiences. Elements of Technology, Math, and Engineering are integrated into lessons at every grade level.

Classroom Integration- Our classroom teachers and STEM Lab also collaborate on longer term projects featuring the Award Winning EIE- Engineering is Elementary (www.eie.org) curriculum developed by the Boston Museum of Science.  Our entire staff has been trained on how to utilize this curriculum.   Additionally, our classroom teachers integrate Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math into their daily schedules.  Each grade level has the flexibility to integrate these topics in a manner that is appropriate to the learning needs of their students. 

Environmental Education via Earth Parent Program Over the past 20+ years, we have remained committed to supporting and enhancing our award winning Environmental Education program.  The Earth Parents facilitate six environmental based STEM lessons yearly, and 5th grade will be working on a Social Studies enrichment project in the Community Garden, researching WWII and planting Victory Gardens. The Math Garden, Storybook Gardens and Pollinator Gardens will be the Earth Parent’s focus for primary grades this spring. Our commitment to environmental education has earned Ford the Gold Level status for Keep Cobb Beautiful’s Green School Initiative.

Ford’s model environmental program has served to mentor dozens of schools and organizations across the state and nation and continues to serve as a model school for The Captain Planet Foundation. We often present our award winning program at national and regional conferences and have hosted our own Learning Garden Conference at Ford.  Our efforts in environmental and STEM education  earned Ford Elementary the prestigious National Green Ribbon School Award in 2013.  

Lego Program - Our Lego based learning program starts at the Kindergarten level and builds in rigor through the fifth grade.  We utilize Lego Early Structures, Early Simple  StoryStarter, Simple Machines, WeDo Robotics, EV3 Mindstorm Robotics for a variety of learning activities in the STEM Lab and in the general classroom. 

Computer Programming/Coding ( New in 2014-15) On a quarterly basis, students will be given the opportunity to learn computer programming starting with Beebots at the Kindergarten level and build in rigor over time to include Scratch, Tynker, Kodable, and Lego Robotics. 

Arts Integration (STEAM) The Arts offer a unique opportunity for students to express their personal creativity while solving unique problems. For example, how can sound be represented visually in a two-dimensional work of art? The Arts also connect multiple disciplines in a meaningful way.  Fourth grade students who sing a folk song from Ghana and create rhythm patterns to accompany do not even realize that they are using math skills (finding patterns) social studies (Ghana culture) and language arts (meter, expression) in addition to the various music skills they are mastering.  Through group work and various creative projects the Arts also offer a many opportunities for students to improve their 21st century skills: Creativity and Innovation, Critical Thinking and Problem Solving, Communication and Collaboration, Global Awareness, Initiative and Self-direction, Flexibility and Adaptability & Effective Interaction with others. 

Here at Ford, we offer one STEAM lesson each semester to each grade level.  This might be in the form of an activity (Kindergarten students using unifix cubes to represent their original melody) a lesson (3rd grade students create an abstract collage of various textures and layers to represent sedimentary rock formations) or a unit (4th grade students study the science of sound and create an original notation system to represent bird calls).  We also look for ways to connect multiple disciplines through the arts (combining engineering and art to create standing metal sculptures).  We encourage 21st century skills on a daily basis through group projects, and student centered instruction.

Quarterly STEM Focus Days-(new in 2014-15) At the end of each 9 week academic quarter Ford Elementary School will have a STEM Focus Day in which students will participate in special STEM related activities, share STEM experiences with guests, meet with STEM experts and learn about STEM careers.   We are currently working with experts from the Weather Channel, Google, and Lockheed Martin.

Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) is an initiative that will allow students who have personal technology devices to bring them to school to use them for educational purposes under the direction of a teacher or administrator. For the purposes of BYOD, “Device” means a privately owned wireless and/or portable electronic piece of equipment that includes laptops, netbooks, tablets/slates, iPod Touches, and smart phones.

Opportunities for Enrichment:

Family STEM Night- Each fall, Ford Elementary School and the STEM Magnet Program at Kennesaw Mountain High School collaborate to plan and host this fun and interactive event which gives families an opportunity to engage in Science and Engineering based hands-on learning activities.

STEM Fair/Invention Convention -Each fall, all of our students are invited to participate in our school wide STEM Fair/Invention Convention. Students are encouraged to follow the Cobb County- Standards Based Learning model. These guidelines are based on true scientific methods and procedures. Top winners in grades 3-5 are invited to participate in the Cobb District Science Fair. 

Science Olympiad- Elementary Science Olympiad is a team competition event that challenges students in 18 different categories that include scientific knowledge and in-depth hands-on experiences. This program is available, by application, to students in grades 3-5 with a maximum team size of 20 students. Students from Ford Elementary School practice after school for one hour each week to prepare for Science Olympiad Tournaments. Ford students compete against teams from other schools at both the Cobb District Level and at the State Level. Held at Kennesaw State University, Georgia has one of the largest statewide Elementary Science Olympiad Tournaments in the United States. 

Odyssey of the Mind is an international educational program that provides creative problem-solving opportunities for students from kindergarten through college. Team members apply their creativity to solve problems that range from building mechanical devices to presenting their own interpretation of literary classics. They then bring their solutions to competition on the local, state, and World level. Thousands of teams from throughout the U.S. and from about 25 other countries participate in the program.

Ford Technology Team is an afterschool club for students who have a strong interest in computers and would like to learn more about computer coding/programming. 

Math Mentors is a before school tutoring program that pairs older students who are proficient in math with younger students who may need additional support.  Together these students review math concepts and practice math problems. 

Publix Math Night gives students the opportunity to practice their math skills in a real-life application.  Students and their families solve math problems related to the purchase of groceries at Publix Grocery Store. 

STEM Partners:
Ford Elementary Foundation
Ford Elementary PTSA
Kennesaw State University
Kennesaw Mountain High School STEM Magnet
Captain Planet Foundation
CATO- Cobb Parks & Recreation
Cobb EMC
Publix
Keep Cobb Beautiful
Smith Gilbert Gardens
USDA Forest Service
Clean Air Campaign
National Wildlife Federation
Environmental Protection Agency