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

Watch the slide show!

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 2015 - 2016

Fall 2015

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

Field Based Environmental Science
Examine how the earth is one interconnected system of abiotic and biotic components as you explore the environment in this hands-on/field based, tactile approach to learning experience. Each class session will involve field work to enhance the understanding of concepts discussed in the classroom. Students should be prepared to preform practical in class laboratory and outside investigations.
Instructor: Doug Hamby
Day/Time: Tues and Thurs, 3:00 – 5:30 p.m.
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: 1 Carnegie Unit

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.
Instructor: Dr. Kate Wejnert
Day/Time: Tues and Thurs 3:00 – 5:30 pm; Two Saturday field trips
Credit: 1 Carnegie Unit

Material Science
The Material Science class is a pre-college level course for students who are currently enrolled in or have completed AP Chemistry. Through problem-based learning and field trip experiences, students will learn about the chemistry of each class of materials: metals, polymers, ceramics, and composites. How and why does a bullet proof vest work? What are the materials in a baby diaper and how do they work? Field trips and hands on experiments improve your understanding of the what and how about materials that make up our world.
Instructor: Katherine Sabree
Days/Time: Two Days a week, TBA; 3:00 p.m. - 5:30 p.m.
Prerequisites: Completion of AP Chemistry OR currently enrolled in AP Chemistry
Credit:1.0 Carnegie Unit

*Same course offered fall or spring - choose one

Spring 2016

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

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
Day/Time: Tues and Thurs 3:00 – 5:30 pm; two Saturday field trips
Credit: 1 Carnegie Unit

*Same course offered fall or spring - choose one

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 designed to simulate a first-year college chemistry experience and to prepare students for the rigor of any college course. This course is a hybrid of face-to-face and online learning. Therefore, students will submit homework and assignments, complete labs, and take tests/quizzes online as well as in our face-to-face classroom. Successful AP Chemistry students are self-motivated and able to work independently. AP Chemistry meets on Mondays and Thursdays from 3:00 pm until 5:30 pm. The prerequisites for this course are either the successful completion of one year of introductory chemistry or the successful completion of the Scientific Tools and Techniques (STT) program.

The prerequisite for this course is completion of AP Chemistry or Currently enrolled in AP Chemistry.  Completion of AP Physics is preferred, but not required.

Instructors: Vashonda Davis
Days/Time: Mon, Wed, and Thurs; 3:00 - 5:30 p.m.
Prerequisites: Chemistry
Credit: 1 Carnegie Units (1.0 per course)

Robotics and Engineering
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, an exhibit, logo design and formal presentation. Students learn to use creative skills to market their robot and exhibit it at local community and school events. As we approach competition dates, we will be required to meet more often than regularly scheduled.
Instructor: Dr. Debi Huffman
Day/time: Wednesday 4:00 - 6:30 p.m. Saturdays 1:00 - 4:00 p.m. Additional time TBD.
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.