Burke County Middle School

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School Initiatives » STEM


Burke County Middle School STEM Initiative

    Burke County Middle School has begun a journey toward becoming certified as a STEM Program School.     STEM, which stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math is more than just doing hands-on activities. It is a concept of engaging students in real-word problem solving and project based learning using all of their STEM knowledge and skills. It requires teachers who are willing to give students the freedom to explore, investigate, collaborate, design, test and redesign their own solutions to STEM challenges faced by our society.

   Already, BCMS has adopted an accelerated math curriculum that will enable students to take High School Algebra. High School Physical Science will also be offered to 8th grade STEM students. Several teachers have graduated from a STEM Academy where they learned how to integrate principals of engineering and technology into their science and math classrooms. Our teachers continue to be excited about attending seminars and other professional learning opportunities in STEM. Imagine math, science, and CTAE (Career, Technical, Agriculture and Engineering) teachers all coming together to create a project that students can work on in all of their classes!

   BCMS has entered into a formal partnership with Georgia Power, a Southern Company (at Plant Vogtle) and plans to partner with even more community businesses to bring real world STEM careers into the classroom. Other teachers have completed or registered for upcoming STEM related conferences to enhance their skills. They will bring in fresh ideas to grow STEM into the fully-blossomed program it can become. Our Principal, Dr. Reynolds, wants to ensure that STEM is not just for the accelerated and advanced students, but that all students at BCMS have the opportunity to connect with STEM.

   Our school has adopted an "End Hunger Games" theme for our school-wide STEM project. STEM has become a national priority and BCMS is doing its part to make sure that our students are ready for the future. In 2016, that project caught the attention of the White House and resulted in a visit to our school by the First Lady of the United States, Mrs. Michelle Obama.

Links (click on titles below)
App Inventor - MIT
Learn how to build Apps for Android (and Google) Devices. Free!!! "MIT App Inventor is a blocks-based programming tool that allows everyone, even novices, to start programming and build fully functional apps for Android devices. Newcomers to App Inventor can have their first app up and running in an hour or less, and can program more complex apps in significantly less time than with more traditional, text-based languages." The site includes tutorials, getting started guides, teacher curriculum and resources, forums and creative ideas about how others have used App Inventor.

Discovery Education STEM
This is Discovery Education's website devoted to STEM. In addition to resources for teachers, students and parents they have included resources for a STEM Summer Camp. This is a complete curriculum with teacher guides, videos, worksheets, hands-on activities and other printable resources with a materials list and preferred materials provider.

eGFI - Engineering, Go For It!
A fun interactive website for students, a wealth of resources for teachers. Students can learn about engineering design processes in a variety of fields and learn about the people who work in those fields. The "For Teachers" tab will take you to lesson plans and classroom activities searchable by grade level. They will also connect you to web resources that include videos with lesson plans and printable worksheets! A great way to incorporate engineering into math and science classes.

Engineer Girl
Promoting girls in engineering, this website features numerous careers in engineering and the women who work in those fields. Students can explore "what they do" and "how to get there." There are also a number of links to other information, competitions, videos and activities.

Engineering Is Everywhere
From the EiE website (Engineering is Elementary), this is a middle school set of engineering design units complete with lesson plans that include a downloadable, detailed "Educator's Guide" with instructions, rubrics, printables, and an "Engineering Journal" that can be downloaded and printed for students. The Journal is a detailed and amazing workbook that guides students on their journey through the engineering design process. There is also a short video to introduce the students to the problem-based learning task. This is a brand new site and is simply amazing!

GaDOE STEM Frameworks for CTAE
As of this initial posting, the GaDOE has supplied Frameworks for integrating STEM into Middle School Agriculture, Healthcare and Engineering CTAE classes. The lessons supplied are extensive and require downloading zip files.

Garden Based Lessons
This is a UGA Extension site containing a "School Garden Curriculum" for K-8 students. It comes complete with grade-level, content specific lesson plans and links to many other related resources, including Environmental Resources linked to the Georgia Performance Standards. This is a great resource for a year-long, community based project and presents possible solutions for our community's nutrition, chronic health care and obesity problems.

Georgia Power - A Southern Company
Resources for teachers, students and parents to understand energy production/efficiency, electromagnetic induction and transformations of energy. Includes info on plant tours and classroom visits/lessons by Georgia Power employees (highly rated!). Resources are specifically directed to teachers, students or parents!

Get The Math
"Get the Math is designed to help students understand real-world applications of Algebra I. Interrelated video segments and interactive tools support student learning of algebraic concepts related to music, fashion, video games, restaurants, basketball, and special effects. Educators’ resources include videos of a teacher using Get the Math materials in his classroom, as well as lesson plans with editable student handouts aligned with the Common Core Standards and Mathematical Practices."

Go Build Georgia
A great site that discusses STEM related careers in skilled trades (e.g. electricians, welders, pipefitters, civil engineers etc.) that do not require a 4 year college degree. Discusses the occupations in detail, educational and other requirements and salary expectations!

Google Computer Science Education
This is a comprehensive set of educational resources for introductory college-level computer science courses. All of it is open-source and free, courtesy of Google and their contributors.

GPB Fast Forward
This a great Georgia Public Broadcasting site for STEM Career videos. These short videos feature a person who is in a STEM career field and discusses not only their current job, but also the job requirements, education requirements, and frequently the pay! The site also has a link to the GPB Fast Forward "STEM Central" which has a wealth of multimedia STEM resources!

IBM Activity Kits
This are free activity kits designed in an IBM project to enable volunteers to present certain topics to children to interest them in STEM related fields. Most activities involve only minimal purchases of materials that are locally available. Activities range from building a solar powered model car, to shoe design and numerous computer-related activities. Great resource for creating STEM lessons in your classroom.

Learn to Code - Code.org

Computer programming made easy. Thanks to the folks at Code.org, they have made it easy and fun to learn to code with their "One Hour of Code" course in drag-and-drop computer programming. Students earn a printable "Certificate" upon successful completion of the program. The free tutorials can also take you and your students beyond into real-world coding in many popular programming languages. Students can learn how to code their own cell phone games! Code.org is dedicated to making programming easy, fun and powerful.


Manufacture Your Future
A Discovery Education site that has STEM "lesson plans and videos" for teachers and career resources for parents and counselors. Band new (as of May 2014), this site focuses on manufacturing ("Design a Robot," "Manufacturing in the 21st Century").

NSTA Resources
This a link to free resources from the National Science Teacher's Association. Literally hundreds of projects, activities, video and lesson links searchable by keyword or content type.

PBS STEM Teacher Resources
STEM Resources from PBS. Includes web page activities, resources and videos from PBS programming. Requires a free account.

Scratch Digital Programming

This is a popular drag and drop programming language that introduces students to computer programming. Students can work on-line, or an off-line version can be downloaded. Programs (apps) can be "published" on the site for others to see and use. The programming code of published apps can be viewed, duplicated and tweaked so a learning community can continually improve an app, even though the students may not even be in the same country! A great way to introduce coding and get students excited about the possibilities!


Sieman's STEM Academy
Resources, news, competitions and professional learning in STEM. Resources are searchable by grade, subject and type.

Soil Science - The Science of Soil (Discovery Education)
A Discovery Education site, the new Science of Soil site contains 6 lesson plans complete with teacher guide and interactive power points embedded with short videos on topics related to soil (properties, nutrients, fertilizer and 21st century issues). The site also includes sections on career connections, exploring plant nutrients, family activities and additional resources. An excellent resource for cross-curricular STEM lessons!

STEM Reach
This is a website created by TAG (Technology Association of Georgia) to collect and categorize numerous STEM Opportunities and Challenges that occur throughout the state and on-line.

A website with free STEM resources for teachers, parents and students. Includes "Articles, Activities and Cool Jobs." Many activities are links to other sites; however, they are searchable by content (Animal Kingdom, Under the Sea, Medical Innovations, Extreme Weather, Crime Scene Investigation, Space, Robotics, Wind Energy and Video Games and Build Your Own App!).

Systems Literacy
This is a collection of videos from PBS which teach science content from a "systems" viewpoint. It include various ecosystems, soil science systems, climate systems, exponential growth, causal loops and stock and flow diagrams. It also includes video modules to assist teachers in incorporating a systems approach to their STEM lessons.

Teachers Try Science
This is a great resource for free lessons and ideas for teachers to try STEM in their classrooms! The site also includes strategies and tutorials for getting started. These are all teacher-created resources and obviously, some will be better than others. It is searchable by topic and grade level.