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Fernbank Science Center

Fernbank Science Center

Advanced Studies

Former Advanced Studies student, Drew Schwartz, explains why the program was so important to his high school career.

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. The 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 678-874-7102.


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 unexcused absences. 


Buses are not available for this program, students must provide their own transportation to the science center.


Please see the course descriptions below.  Click here for a printable brochure (PDF)

Course Descriptions 2018-19

CourseDescriptionSemester
The Science of FoodThis 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
Fall 2018
Field Based Environmental ScienceExamine 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: Mr. Doug Hamby
Day/Time: Tues and Thurs, 3:00 – 5:30 p.m.
Prerequisite: Biology
Credit: 1 Carnegie Unit
Fall 2018
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
*Choose Fall or Spring (The same course both semesters)
Fall 2018
Ecosystems Alive!Ecosytems will be studied in the field from the perspective of a naturalist.  A variety of natural communities around the Atlanta area will be explored.  This is a field based course, so students will be exploring wetlands, rivers, forests and other ecosystems up close and personal!

Instructor: Mr. Christopher Showalter
Day/TIme: Monday and/or Thursday 3-5:30 PM, with one Saturday field trip
Credit: One Carnegie Unit
Fall 2018
Animal ScienceThis 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
Spring 2019
OceanographyCome 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
Spring 2019
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
*Choose Fall or Spring (The same course both semesters)
Spring 2019
OrnithologyExplore 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
Spring 2019

The following courses require that you attend both semesters

CourseDescriptionSemester
Advanced Placement Physics CA 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
Fall 2018 Spring 2019
Robotics and EngineeringThis 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.
For more information about Links Robotics please visit https://fernbanklinks.com/

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
Fall 2018 & Spring 2019