STEM

What is STEM?

STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. At Dimon, we have a strong STEM focus and have become the 51st STEM-certified school through the state of Georgia and are the only STEM Certified School in Muscogee County. According to the State of Georgia, STEM is much more than an acronym for the four subject areas of science, technology, engineering, and math. STEM education is a transformative approach to traditional teaching and learning that fosters creativity and innovative thinking in all students. Not only does STEM education make school more engaging, but it also builds skills required for college, career, and the 21st century (www.stemgeorgia.org). Sometimes, you might see STEAM. The A in this instance stands for Arts.

The Georgia Department of Education states that it is dedicated to preparing students for 21st Century workplace careers by providing high quality educational opportunities in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics fields. STEM schools support student growth by promoting the 21st Century Thinking Skills: Communication, Creativity, Critical Thinking, and Collaboration. In Georgia, STEM education is an integrated curriculum that is driven by exploratory project-based learning and student-centered development of ideas and solutions. Through Project and Problem-Based Learning students will be able to apply content from multiple disciplines to answer complex questions and develop solutions to real world problems. The Teacher takes on the role of facilitator in the classroom. Since STEM integrates, students will able to analyze and articulate interdisciplinary connections that exist within math, science, & CTAE (Career Technical Agricultural Education) content.

Each March, we hold our annual STEAM Day. On this day there will be many different presenters that share information about how STEAM affects their career or different STEAM activities that will be presented. Students will journal throughout the day what they learned. In the Spring of 2022, Dimon held its first Market Day called, Dimon’s Fresh & Crafty Fair. Students were able to raise funds for STEM at Dimon by selling fresh fruits and vegetables grown at Dimon, along with many crafts the students created during Dimon’s Club Days. With the success of the spring Fresh & Crafty Fair, Dimon looks to a Fall one as well. Classes have also had the opportunity to listen to Meteorologists, Gardeners, Electricians, Astronomers, Doctors & Nurses, Fireman, Policemen, participate in a job fair, truck day, and participate in weekly lessons in Robotics, STEM, Agriculture (CTAE), & Engineering.

Dimon has taken a strong interest recently in agricultural development through its use of the Dimon Learning & Healing Gardens. Starting this school year 2022-23, Dimon’s Problem-based Project is to decrease food insecurity within our community. Dimon utilizes nine raised vegetable beds, a greenhouse, & six raised pollinator beds. The Engineering & Design Process guides Dimon as we continue to research urban gardening techniques, hydroponics, soil maintenance and composting in order to assist in the effort to educate our community on Food Deserts, Food Swamps, and how to decrease food insecurity.

To assist Dimon in its efforts, strong business, university, & community partners are involved in development of curriculum and assist with making connections between classroom teaching and learning and business and industry applications. If you are interested in helping us out or know of a business that might want to help, please let us know! Call Dimon at 706-683-8772 and leave a message for Mr. Sutherland or Mr. Elliott. You may also email us at Sutherland.brent.g@muscogee.k12.ga.us or elliott.jacob.l@muscogee.k12.ga.us.

Part of being a STEM-certified school, is to do projects where students will collect data on a continual basis. They will take the data and analyze to find any problems. Then students will focus on finding solutions to these problems. Each grade level has a different project that they work on throughout the year to support Dimons’s vision of Decreasing Food Insecurity in our Community.

Kindergarten- How can we grow fruits or vegetables
                          with limited space?

First Grade - How can herbs or flowers be used to support
                         Dimon’s vision?

Second Grade -How can we support the pollinators within
                          the Dimon Learning & Healing Garden?

Third Grade - How can we cut down on waste by creating a
                         successful way to compost?
                        How would a Fruit Orchard support Dimon’s Vision?

Fourth GradeHow can we create digital media and/or info-graphics to support Dimon’s vision in order to educate our community?

Fifth GradeHow can the creation of a school-based Food Pantry, assist in Dimon’s vision?

food desert.jpg

Infographic  from American Heart Association

Culture Created and Maintained

Dimon continues to create a STEM culture through the interdisciplinary integration of STEM by promoting the use of inquiry, critical thinking, problem solving and continuous reflection. Teachers are involved in ongoing collaborative lesson planning, and Problem-based and/or Project-based unit creation. Technology, math strategies, science inquiry, agriculture, and the engineering process are integrated across content areas into daily lesson plans. We support teachers by giving collaborative time to support grade level teachers as they plan projects. These projects engage the students in real-world problems and allow them to experiment, gather data and evidence, test solutions and make revisions as they make the world a better place.

At the end of the year students will be surveyed to find out their opinions about the STEM components, the engineering design processes, and the real-world connections they learned this year. Information gained from their surveys can be used to develop ideas to improve instruction next year. The administration will continue to provide professional development opportunities for all staff members, such as observing other teachers, using social media to share ideas, visiting other STEM schools, and attending and hosting STEM conferences.

Students participate in STEM to foster an important part of learning and collaborative problem solving. Technology is integrated into the students daily and is used as a means to acquire and demonstrate knowledge while developing effective communication skills. Students are given the opportunity to participate in STEM related clubs, like Robotics, Science Olympics, & Ecological Engineering, outside of school hours to further develop the love for STEM. Science Fairs, STEM Nights, Technology Fairs, Robotics Competitions, and Science Olympiads are regular events that allow the STEM culture to be shared with the community. Business Partners and Community members have helped us create our STEM culture. Currently, Ala-Trade, Ft. Benning/Army, Durham Sears Reality, Master Gardeners per Columbus Botanical Gardens, UGA Agricultural Extension Office, MercyMed & Dew-Point Farms, Griers Farmers Market, FABArts, Ameri-Corps, Two Rivers, Meteorologists from WTVM & WRBL, Bloomers Lawn and Garden, Seasonal Concepts, Flat Rock Sand and Gravel, Columbus Water Works, Carver & Hardaway High Schools, Fort Middle School, The Food Corp, Boys Scouts of America, Cascade Hills Love Works Program, The Dimon Woods Association, and the many Dimon Parent Volunteers to assist us through monetary donations, resources, and time spent working with our students. We are purposeful to share our experiences by posting pictures on social media, our school website, storyboards and sending out newsletters via e-flyers. We continue to look for ways to improve and grow in our STEM instruction.  We believe that this is the only mindset we can have if we are to equip our students to achieve their potential.

National Weather Service for kids. Perfect for our year-long STEM focus!
A fun website for kids. This specific link will take you to an Interactive Weather Maker.

At Dimon, we have had a strong partnership with "Let's Grow STEAM," a locally-based non-profit. Click on the picture to find out more about Let's Grow STEAM.