GACD partners with Georgia Ag Experience STEM challenge for elementary schools

Published 10:07 am Wednesday, March 2, 2022

Georgia elementary classes in third through fifth grades are being challenged to put their science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) skills to work to explore the real-world issues that face pollinator spaces in local communities.

Elementary teachers and their students may enter the Great Georgia Pollinator Protectors STEM Challenge between Feb 14 – April 29 for the chance to win a prize package totaling $350 for their class. The top grade winner from the third, fourth and fifth grade entries will win a prize package. The winners will be announced via a Zoom presentation on May 6.

The Georgia Association of Conservation Districts (GACD), a non-profit organization that promotes the conservation of natural resources, is partnering in the statewide competition, which the Georgia Ag Experience (GAE) and Georgia Foundation for Agriculture (GFA) coordinates.

Teachers interested in participating in the Great Georgia Pollinator Protectors Challenge may visit www.gfb.ag/stemchallenge for more information and to register for the program. Once teachers register their class, they will receive instant access to a digital resource toolkit that equips the class for participating in the pollinator stem challenge.

“The Georgia Association of Conservation Districts is excited to partner with the Georgia Foundation for Agriculture on the 2022 Spring STEM Challenge,” said GACD Executive Director Katie Sponberger. “This challenge, which focuses on our state’s pollinators, will help students understand the impact pollinators have on agriculture.”

Each participating class is being asked to answer the question “How can we improve and increase pollinator spaces across our landscapes in our communities?”

The STEM challenge asks participating classes to: 1) Evaluate pollinator space and pollinator activity in their chosen area. 2) Monitor and collect data on pollinator activity using UGA’s Great Georgia Pollinator Census chart and observation requirements 3) Create a presentation outlining how to improve space for pollinators. Class presentations must be uploaded to YouTube for judging before April 29.

“We developed the STEM challenge to connect elementary students to Georgia agriculture. This year, students have an opportunity to explore pollinators and how we can improve their space and assist them in their vital role in our landscapes.” said GFA Executive Director Lily Baucom.

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 2022 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.