By Rachel Shriey
COLLEGE PARK — North Clayton Middle School has been selected to receive a $500 science teaching tool grant award from the Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association (AFCEA).
The purpose of the grant is to support and promote information technology, and the funds will be used to support the school’s virtual laboratory.
Gifted Education teacher Nezette Johnson, who applied for the grant, said she’s very excited about the opportunities in education this grant will provide for their students.
“This is really good,” Johnson said. “It’s going to enhance their education because it’s going to make them more aware of science and then it will touch all the kids. It will be hands on. Everybody will be able to participate, and we won’t be limited by materials or supplies.”
Eleven middle and high schools in Metro Atlanta were awarded AFCEA grants, and a total of 36 schools applied for the grant from across the state.
“Because of the time constraints and the materials for science, the virtual lab would be better because in the simulations, what they can do is online,” Johnson said. “It’s either technology that’s online, or a software program, so if they mess up they can reset it and go back as opposed to if you have the materials out there and if it’s rocks that you want to pour acid on, and the next class comes in and does the same thing.”
Before the grant, the school was ordering and buying materials to be used in the classroom curriculum, but supplies were limited.
“For earth science, life science and physical science we’re going to purchase software programs and on-site simulations so the kids can use each one in the classes,” Johnson said.
Even the students are excited about the grant because it offers them an ability to learn in easily understandable way.
“Well the way they explain it in the book makes it sounds like they’re talking to the adults more than they’re talking to kids, and the one on the computer, the virtual one, it helps explain it because it actually uses the words that we can understand and it gives us easier examples,” said student Khadija Usman, 12.
Usman said they were using a program earlier this week to classify different rocks by color, density and air pockets, while other students did the same experiment with physical materials.
The funds will be awarded to the school at an AFCEA Atlanta Teaching Tools Luncheon that will be help on Jan. 24 from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Georgia Tech Research Institute in Atlanta.