Current Programs

Hands-On STEM Lab

FEF_sc lab 9The 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 Science Lab for 45 minutes each week as part of their specials rotation.

Lessons are approached from a comprehensive variety of learning experiences. 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.

A few examples of our learning projects:

Kindergarten – An introductory lesson on gravity and motion, which culminates with the design, testing, and revision of roller coasters made from foam tubing and marbles.

First Grade – An extensive study of worms and their habitats that follow traditional scientific inquiry and scientific procedures, which involves our students in the cultivation and care of live worms.

Second Grade – Students engage in a month-long unit on moon phase observation, the relationship between the sun, earth, and moon and how they play a role in our everyday lives. Students use prior knowledge on solar energy to construct and test solar ovens capable of cooking.

Third Grade – An in-depth study of Georgia ecosystems using our schoolyard habitat, gardens, and nature trail, complete with authentic research in soil health.

Fourth Grade – A problem based unit in Simple Machines where students use Lego Robotics and computer programming to solve an engineering challenge.

Fifth Grade – An inquiry based lesson on electricity followed by the design and creation of an electronic circuit using SNAP circuits kits.

 

Environmental Education and the Earth Parent Program

Over the past 20+ years, we have remained committed to supporting and enhancing our award winning Environmental Education program. We begin each school year by training close to 50 Earth Parent volunteers to enrich integrated content, and to extend hands on, inquiry based learning into our outdoor classrooms. The Earth Parents facilitate six environmental based 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.

The Eagle Scouts are busy designing and installing an Eco-Therapy Natural Playscape for our primary students and will receive recognition on for those projects at Evening in the Garden.

Ford has sponsored more than 15 eagle scout projects over the last 20 years.

 

Science Fair and Science Olympiad

Each fall, all of our students are invited to participate in our school wide Science Fair. Students are encouraged to follow the Cobb County- Standards Based Learning model. These guidelines are based on true scientific methods and procedures. Each of our students in grades 3-5 are given the opportunity during their time in the Science Lab to develop a scientific question, hypothesis and procedure on which they can experiment and document at home. Projects are evaluated by outside judges who are part of our “Partners in Education” program. Top winners in grades 3-5 are invited to participate in the Cobb District Science Fair.

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.