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Fernbank Science Center

Fernbank Science Center

Advanced Studies at Fernbank Science Center

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

Advanced Studies at Fernbank Science Center is a unique experience that 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 2019-20

Fall 2019

The 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!

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 animals, wetlands, rivers, forests and other ecosystems up close and personal! If you have an interest in a career in the natural sciences, then this course is an excellent introduction into how and why scientists study ecosystems.

Instructor: Mr. Christopher Showalter

Day/TIme: Monday and/or Thursday 3-5:30 PM, with one Saturday field trip

Credit: One 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

*Choose Fall or Spring (The same course is taught each semesters)

Spring 2020

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: 1 Carnegie Unit
*Choose Fall or Spring (The same course is taught each semesters)

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


AP Chemistry

AP Chemistry is a full-year college-level chemistry course. 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. The course emphasizes chemical calculations and the mathematical formulation of principles. For the 2019-2020 school year, AP Chemistry will be a hybrid of face-to-face and online learning. Lectures, classwork, homework, and some virtual labs will be assigned online in VERGE. There will be a mandatory, monthly Saturday meeting for exams and lab work. The instructor will host weekly, LIVE virtual office hours.

Instructor: Mrs. Vashonda Davis

Day/Time: TBA

Prerequisites: Chemistry or AP Physics and Algebra I (or equivalent).  

Credit: 1.0 Carnegie Unit


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: TBA

Day/time: TBA

Credit: 1 Carnegie Unit