STEM at Frances Meeks

WORDS BY Ryan Glazer 

While the S.T.E.M. program is not new to Bryan County Schools, the all-important acronym standing for science, technology, engineering and mathematics, has increasingly gained awareness and traction in the last couple of years, especially in early education.

“With a growing and changing world, we know how very important it is to equip our students at an early age for the opportunities they’ll have as they grow themselves.  We’re honored to offer a STEM program at Frances Meeks Elementary School (FMES) that fully engages them in their childhood years,” says Dr. Brittney Mobley, Principal at FMES.

Adam Wickline, the STEM teacher there, has students doing hands-on lab experiments and explorations that align with the Georgia Standards of Excellence for each grade. “Students get to be a part of the science they are learning about in their classes,” he says. “The idea is to have a place for students to make a mess while learning, take some notes about their observations and to create new ideas based on the concepts they learning.”

Wickline grew up in Ohio and joined the Army after his undergraduate program at Anderson University (IN) where he studied fine arts. In the Army, he was a combat engineer and graduated from the Sapper Leader Course; Wickline was stationed at Ft. Stewart. After his time in the Army he began teaching middle school math in Atlanta before moving back to Ohio to get his Master’s Degree from Ashland University in Educational Leadership. “We moved back to the greater Savannah area 5 years ago, and I have been teaching in Richmond Hill ever since!” Wickline pitched the need to have more hands-on science activities to Dr. Mobley, who liked the idea well enough to assign him to the role if he would develop it within the STEM teacher role.

“Our STEM classes are specialized for each age group, to tap into their interests, inspire them with hands-on learning, and further support classroom instruction.  Students work together to innovate, problem solve, and create through experiments and challenges in our STEM lab and across our campus,” Dr. Mobley adds. “These classes and projects not only meet them where they are educationally, but also encourage them to seek the next step in a bigger, broader picture that they can enthusiastically embrace and become a part of.”

On March 1st, FMES will hold their 2nd Annual STEM night. “Families are busier than ever, but this will be a fantastic opportunity to come out and learn together,” Wickline explains. “The First Annual STEM night had over 30 community support partners including DNR, the Corps of Engineers, the Coast Guard, UGA Extension, Georgia Tech, Vaden Chevrolet, and many others. The US Coast Guard brought out a rescue helicopter that students got to climb inside of. This year, we have several new community partners and several 5th grade students are currently working on a small science fair project and will be sharing them at the event.”

Businesses wishing to participate as a presenter or willing to donate to the raffle can reach out to open up at 6:00pm!