Ag News

GACD & Ga. Ag Experience STEM Challenge winners announced

by Lily Baucom, Georgia Foundation for Agriculture

Posted on Dec 09, 2021 at 0:00 AM

Georgia elementary students put their science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) skills to work this fall as they competed in the second Georgia Ag Experience STEM Challenge coordinated by the Georgia Foundation for Agriculture.

The Healthy Forests Healthy Communities STEM Challenge, sponsored by the Georgia Association of Conservation Districts (GACD), asked students to explore the role healthy forests play in creating healthy communities by protecting our air, soil and water resources.

The STEM Challenge was open to third-grade through fifth-grade classes statewide with a winner picked for each grade. Almost 70 classes registered for the fall challenge.

Congratulations to East Fannin Elementary’s third-grade class, taught by Christie Holtman, for winning the prize for their grade level. Ringgold Elementary School’s “Nepp-Tunes” team, taught by Alisa Nepp, took top honors in the fourth-grade division. Poole Elementary School’s fifth-grade class, taught by Hannah Atcheson, won their grade competition. Winners were announced Dec 1 in a Zoom presentation to the students.

East Fannin Elementary in Fannin County won the third-grade division for the creative way the students showcased the many products made by trees, using a narrator depicted as a piece of paper, in a stop motion video format.

Ringgold Elementary’s fourth-graders in Catoosa County demonstrated their strong acting ability by posing as forest creatures to show an important perspective of a healthy forest.

Poole Elementary fifth-graders in Paulding County won their category with a creative news-style science report where one student acted as the reporter and other students posed as experts being interviewed to share what they learned about healthy forests.

Teachers of each winning class received a $250 classroom supply grant and an educational resource kit donated by GACD.

Each class that participated in the STEM Challenge was asked to answer the question, “What is the relationship between forests and our communities?”  Each participating class is being asked to explore products we use every day that are made from trees and how tree farmers grow a sustainable crop.

The challenge required participating classes to follow the 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 tree resources, and include 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. The GACD is the 2021 challenge sponsor. Next year’s STEM Challenge will ask students to investigate pollinators. Look for challenge details to be announced in February at

The purpose of the GAE STEM 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. It is the only ag-focused STEM challenge for elementary students in Georgia.

Visit to see the ZOOM awards presentation and the three winning video presentations.

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