Georgia Foundation for Agriculture announces STEM Challenge winners
By Virginia Fulwood, Georgia Foundation for Agriculture
Georgia elementary students learned how worms improve soil health for growing gardens and crops as they put their science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) skills to work this spring while competing in the Vermiculture: Wiggling into AG STEM Challenge.
The Georgia Foundation for Agriculture (GFA) coordinated the challenge as an extension of its Georgia Ag Experience (GAE) mobile classroom in partnership with Georgia Farm Bureau’s Agriculture in the Classroom program.
The STEM Challenge asked students to answer, “How Can I Create a Worm Farm to Better My Garden?” The challenge, open to third through fifth-grade classes statewide, required participating classes to create a worm farm to use as a basis for investigations about ecosystems, life and nutrient cycles, and decomposition.
Congratulations to Southwest Academy’s “Worsley’s Wigglers,” taught by Alisan Worsley in Early County, for winning the third-grade prize! Elbert County Elementary School’s “Marlow’s Worm Farmers,” taught by Andrea Marlow won the fourth-grade prize. The fifth-grade winners were Bowdon Elementary School students taught by Meredith Stone in Carroll County.
“The Georgia Foundation for Agriculture congratulates our three grade winners,” said Virginia Fulwood, GFA educational programs assistant. “It’s such a pleasure for the foundation to coordinate a contest that connects students with agriculture as they utilize their STEM skills.”
In Early County, Southwest Academy’s “Worsley’s Wigglers,” taught by Alisan Worsley, used a hands-on approach to teach the students about the best soil for worms and the four important benefits worms provide to our soil and plant life. The detail and thought in these third-graders’ experiments showcased their knowledge and left the judges amazed! Visit https://gfb.ag/2023STEM3RD to view the winning presentation for the third grade.
Elbert County Elementary School’s “Marlow’s Worm Farmers” consulted with their local Farm Bureau Office, took the knowledge they gained and experimented with soil conditions and temperatures in their school garden to make sure the soil habitat would produce their desired results. The second graders, taught by Andrea Marlow, used thorough investigation and detailed research to improve their school garden and provide the worms with a healthy and comfortable environment. Visit https://gfb.ag/2023STEM4TH to view the fourth-grade team’s winning video.
Fifth graders taught by Meredith Stone at Bowdon Elementary School in Carroll County won their fifth-grade division for the scientific knowledge they gained while completing the challenge. Stone’s students learned about worm activities in the ground and the benefits worms provide to soil and plant life. Stone’s students also learned about worm anatomy and reproduction. Stone’s students learned the best environments for worms and how worms react to various temperatures and soil types. Using this information, the students designed the perfect habitat for their worms to live in. They used worm castings and compost to enrich the soil in the school garden. Visit https://gfb.ag/2023STEM5TH to view the fifth-grade team’s winning video.
Teachers of each winning class received a $250 cash prize and a $100 classroom supply kit.
The challenge required participating classes to use provided resources to engage, explore, test and improve, share results and reflect. For the final presentation, the students were asked to create a video presentation including demonstrated knowledge of the relationship between communities and the need for vermiculture and a discussion on sustainability and non-sustainability.
The Georgia Ag Experience/Georgia Foundation for Agriculture STEM Challenge is designed to be a bi-annual competition with a spring and fall contest. Georgia Farm Bureau is the 2023 challenge partner.
Teachers interested in participating in the upcoming fall 2023 STEM Challenge may visit www.gfb.ag/stemchallenge for more information and to register. Once teachers register their class, they will receive access to information that equips the class to participate in the fall ‘23 STEM Challenge and the deadline to enter.
The Georgia Ag Experience/Georgia Foundation for Agriculture STEM Challenge is designed to be a bi-annual competition with a spring and fall contest. The Farm Bureau is the 2023 challenge partner. The purpose of the challenge is to encourage elementary teachers and students in grades 3-5 to explore aspects of Georgia agriculture by applying their STEM skills to solve real-world problems that farmers face in producing our food and fiber.
Congratulations to Alisan Worsley’s third-grade class at Southwest Academy in Early County for winning their grade division in the Vermiculture: Wiggling into Ag STEM Challenge! The Georgia Foundation for Agriculture coordinated the challenge held from Feb. 6 to April 28 as an extension of its Georgia Ag Experience mobile classroom in partnership with Georgia Farm Bureau’s Agriculture in the Classroom program. GFA Educational Programs Assistant Virginia Fulwood, back row, left, presented Ms. Worsley, back row, right, with a cash prize of $250 and a $100 classroom supply kit.
Congratulations to Andrea Marlow’s fourth-grade class at Elbert County Elementary School (ECES) for winning their grade division in the Vermiculture: Wiggling into Ag STEM Challenge! Georgia Foundation for Agriculture Educational Programs Assistant Hannah Hall, second row, center left, presented Ms. Marlow, front row, far right kneeling, and her students with a cash prize of $250 and a $100 classroom supply kit. Also attending the awards presentation were ECES Principal Jasper Huff, far left; ECES Asst. Principal Christy Hart, far right; Elbert County Farm Bureau (ECFB) Office Manager Haley Oakley, second from right; ECFB President Mandy Williams, third from right; & ECFB Vice President Chris Alexander, back row. Oakley worked with the students on their project, and ECFB presented Ms. Marlow and her students with team shirts.
Congratulations to Meredith Stone’s fifth-grade class at Bowdon Elementary School in Carroll County for winning their grade division in the Vermiculture: Wiggling into Ag STEM Challenge! Ms. Stone, far right, and her students won a cash prize of $250 and a $100 classroom supply kit.