Year 2 Photo Year 2 Photo 2 dominoes

Coastal Georgia STEM Initiative

The Department of Mathematics is an awardee of a University System of Georgia STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) Initiative Grant. Under the direction of Dr. Courtenay Miller, Assistant Professor of Mathematics, the College of Coastal Georgia continues to strive for the advancement of STEM educational practices in the area through its partnership with Glynn County Schools.

Beginning in Fall of 2016, Coastal Georgia faculty and teachers in the Glynn County middle schools co-created and co-instructed unique lessons for middle grades students aimed at increasing their literacy and participative interest in STEM content, theory, and application.

Thanks to the CCGA STEM Initiative, the College is better able to extend its preparation support to middle school teachers who teach STEM related coursework in the Glynn County Schools.

Year One Activities

Isidor Ruderfer, CCGA & Kimberly Sapp, Needwood Middle School: “Mythbusting Combustion Concepts”

Mr. Ruderfer and Ms. Sapp co-developed and taught lessons that let students make conjectures about and test what happens when a lit candle in a bowl of water is covered with a glass jar.

Holly Nance, Coastal Georgia & Jennifer Brashear, Risley Middle School: "Ocean Acidification and STEM Day"

Dr. Nance and Ms. Brashear co-developed and taught lessons that tied into an existing unit on global warming.

Thomas Hippchen, Coastal Georgia & Carol Denis, Jane Macon Middle School: “Fun Math Fridays”

Mr. Hippchen and Dr. Denis co-taught a series of innovative, discovery learning activities on rates of change and slope concepts as well as the Pythagorean Theorem using online educational games and technology such as Desmos.

Year Two Activities

James Deemy, Coastal Georgia & Jennifer Brashear, Risley Middle School: "Refraction, Reflection, and Microwaves"

Dr. Deemy and Ms. Brashear co-developed a hands-on lessons that allowed students to explore light refraction and reflection as well as the length of microwaves.

Thomas Hippchen, Coastal Georgia & Tanya Blackshear, Jane Macon Middle School: "Multi-Step Equations"

Mr. Hippchen and Ms. Blackshear co-developed lessons to help students understand and engage with multi-step equations.

RenRen Zhao, Coastal Georgia & Markeita Irvin, Glynn Middle School: "Math Games"

Dr. Zhao and Ms. Irvin co-developed engaging lessons using mathematical games to increase interest and participation in mathematics.

Holly Nance, Coastal Georgia & Ashley Liles, Risley Middle School: "Inheritance and Natural Selection"

Dr. Nance and Ms. Liles co-developed lessons to help students learn about Mendelian Inheritance and Natural Selection.


James Deemy, Coastal Georgia & Ashley Liles, Risley Middle School: "Density and Gravity"

Dr. Deemy and Ms. Liles co-developed a hands-on lessons that allowed students to explore the abstract concepts of density and gravity using household liquids, dominoes, and marshmallows in a laboratory setting.

Thomas Hippchen, Coastal Georgia & Patrick Mickey, Needwood Middle School: "Area, Descriptive Statistics, and LCMs"

Mr. Hippchen and Mr. Mickey co-developed active lessons using floor tiles, paper airplanes, and liquid measurements to help students understand area, LCMs and statistics.

Holly Nance, Coastal Georgia & Taj Jackson, Jane Macon Middle School: "Conservation, Genetics, and Natural Selection"

Dr. Nance and Mr. Jackson co-developed lessons on fisheries conservation, abnormal genetics, and selection mechanisms using engaging films and hands-on activities.

dominoes activity

Results and Testimonials

In addition to the benefits enjoyed by the middle school students, we are proud to report that both Coastal Georgia faculty and Glynn county teachers gained content knowledge and pedagogical knowledge as a result of their participation in Coastal Georgia's STEM Initiative. Moreover, through this grant, the College has been able to nurture and deepen its partnerships with the local school system.

Some of the benefits identified by the participating middle school teachers include:

  • Seeing students develop an increased engagement with and excitement for STEM.
  • Seeing the students communicate and collaboratively work as a team to complete certain task.
  • Having Coastal Georgia faculty introduce new ideas and concepts.
  • Completing projects that allowed the students to display strengths other than math to get the project done.
  • Seeing students' reactions and their interest in completing activities that were a little more challenging than usual.
  • Communicating with a teacher on a collegiate level and working together to complete projects.
  • Providing students with a better understanding of the difference between middle school and collegiate-level content.

Key Grant Personnel

Dr. Courtenay Miller
Director of STEM Education Initiatives
Mathematics Educator
Assistant Professor of Mathematics

Ms. Niki Schmauch
STEM EIP Grant Coordinator
Coordinator of Academic Services, CCGA

Ms. Shelly Bydlinski
STEM EIP School Coordinator
Glynn County Schools Math and Science Coordinator

University System of Georgia STEM Network

Coastal Georgia is a member of the University System of Georgia STEM Network, a group of fourteen accredited institutions of higher learning that are united in the common goal of improving the quality of STEM education in Georgia's middle school classrooms. The participating institutions share ideas, practices, and resources concerning the improvement of STEM education and knowledge retention on the statewide, regional, and national levels.

For more information about the University System of Georgia STEM Network, visit their website.


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