Want to learn about animals, forests, food, robots, and much more? Advanced Studies at Fernbank Science Center may be for you.

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The Importance of Advanced Studies
by Drew Schwartz

This unique experience, available to all high school students, offers hands-on investigations into a variety of specialized areas of science. Students will have the opportunity to study with expert instructors, working in well-equipped laboratories or traveling to the field, seeing plants and animals in their natural habitats. These courses are provided tuition-free to all DeKalb County School District students. The courses are available to students outside of DeKalb County on a space-available, fee basis. Contact the science center for more information.

To apply, students must submit an application obtained from their school counselor or you may download one here. To be considered, students must have a GPA of 3.0 or higher, submit a teacher recommendation form from a science teacher and provide a brief statement explaining why they wish to enroll in the course. Please note that the Center's policy requires students to have good attendance. Participants may be dropped from a course after three absences. Please see the detailed course descriptions below. Students must provide their own transportation to the science center.

Course Descriptions 2014 - 2015

Fall 2014

Science of Food
This is a multi-disciplinary course designed to introduce students to the field of food science. The course content covers many aspects of food production from farm to table. These include agricultural practices, processing, food safety, nutrition, new product development, packaging and sensory evaluation. Students will develop technical skills in microbiology, chemistry and physical science through many lab activities. Additionally, the class will visit regional food production and research facilities.
Instructor: Ms. Stacy Byrd
Day/Time: Tues and Thurs 3:00 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.; one Saturday field trip.
Prerequisite: Biology.
Credit: 1 Carnegie Unit

Ecosystems Alive
Ecosystems will be examined in the field from the perspective of a naturalist. A variety of natural communities in Atlanta will be explored. This is a field course, so students will be exploring wetlands, lakes, streams and forests up close and personal!
Instructor: Mr. Chris Showalter
Day/Time: Mon and Thurs. 3:00 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.; one required Saturday field trip.
Credit: 1 Carnegie Unit

Forensic Science*
Examine the tools and scientific techniques used to solve crimes. This class will have a primary focus on the chemical aspect of forensics. Techniques include DNA, blood splatter, arson and explosive analysis. Field trips include visits to the GBI and Medical Examiners' Office similar to those seen on CSI.
Instructor: Mr. Adrian Elliott
Day/Time: TBA Field trips may be scheduled during school hours.
Prerequisite: Chemistry.
Credit: 1 Carnegie Unit
*Same course offered fall or spring - choose one

Spring 2015

Ornithology: The Study of Birds
Explore the lives of birds from an ecological perspective. Learn methods used to study birds in the field. Take field trips to various habitats in Georgia. Students will have the opportunity to see and touch real, live birds!
Instructor: Mr. Chris Showalter
Day/Time: Mon and Thurs 3:00 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.
Credit: 1 Carnegie Unit

Animal Science
This course is designed for students who have an interest in animals, particularly domesticated and companion animal species. The course explores topics in anatomy and physiology, growth and development, behavior, nutrition, health and breeding. the course is ideal for students who are interested in a career in veterinary medicine or animal care and management. There are several field trips planned to animal care facilities.
Instructor: Ms. Stacy Byrd
Day/Time: Tues and Thurs 3:00 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.; one Saturday field trip.
Prerequisite: Biology.
Credit: 1 Carnegie Unit

Forensic Science*
Examine the tools and scientific techniques used to solve crimes. This class will have a primary focus on the chemical aspect of forensics. Techniques include DNA, blood splatter, arson and explosive analysis. Field trips include visits to the GBI and Medical Examiners' Office similar to those seen on CSI.
Instructor: Mr. Adrian Elliott
Day/Time: TBA Field trips may be scheduled during school hours.
Prerequisite: Chemistry.
Credit: 0.5 Carnegie Unit
*Same course offered fall or spring - choose one

Oceanography
Come explore the world’s oceans! In this course, students will use a multi-disciplinary approach to study the physical, geological, chemical, and biological components of the oceans, including the features of the ocean floor, ocean circulation, marine ecosystems, and the relationship between the atmosphere and the oceans. Several field trips are planned, including one weekend trip to the coast.
Instructors: Dr. Kate Wejnert and Ms. Nan Huebner
Day/Time: Tues and Thurs 3:00 – 5:30 pm; two Saturday field trips
Credit: 1 Carnegie Unit

The following courses require that you attend both semesters
Advanced Placement Physics C
A two-semester course in calculus-based physics for prospective science and engineering majors. Our course emphasizes experimental work and problem solving, and can give successful students a year of college credit.
Instructor: Mr. Michael Dowling
Day/Time: Mon and Thurs 3:30 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Prerequisites: Calculus (concurrently), Physics (recommended)
Credit: 1.0 Carnegie Unit
Advanced Placement Chemistry
AP Chemistry is a full-year college-level chemistry course designed for students who intend to major in a science related field. This course is designed to be the equivalent of the general chemistry course usually taken during the first college year. Students will attain a deep understanding of fundamentals and a reasonable competence in dealing with chemical problems.
Instructor: Ms. Vashonda Dailey
Day/Time: Tues and Thurs 3:00 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.
Prerequisites: Chemistry, Algebra II
Credit: 1.0 Carnegie Unit
Robotics and Engineering: GA DOE #21.44500
This two semester, project-based course will introduce students to basic CAD principles used in the robotics industry and present the interrelationship of various technology systems. Each semester is independent of the other. Fall semester is a prerequisite for Spring, but students may attend Fall only. We will use AutoDesk Inventor software to design robotic components, interface with a CNC router and construct with appropriate tooling. The students will compete in the BEST Robotics challenge at Southern Polytechnic State University. If they advance to the Regionals, they will also compete at South's BEST at Auburn University in December. The students will utilize current technology to develop an understanding of skills required for designing and constructing a robot that has to perform specific functions. Part of the competition involves project management, contest, a table display, logo design and formal presentation. As we approach competition dates, we will be required to meet more often than regularly scheduled.
Instructor: Dr. Debi Huffman
Day/Time: Wednesdays, 3:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.
Saturdays, 1:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m. with additional time TBD.
Credit: 1.0 Carnegie Unit

Coming 2015-2016

Climate Change
Explore how Earth’s climate has evolved and how it is continuing to change. In this course, students will learn about the various climates of Earth and how they relate to weather. We will explore how climate has changed throughout Earth’s history with an emphasis on current climate change and its potential impacts. Several field trips are planned including one required Saturday field trip.
Instructor: Dr. Kate Wejnert
Day/Time: Tues and Thurs 3:00 – 5:30 pm; one Saturday field trip
Credit: 1 Carnegie Unit

It is the policy of the DeKalb County School System not to discriminate on the basis of age, gender, race, color, religion, national origin, disability or handicap in its education programs, activities or employment practices.