STEAM Content Specialist, Lovin Elementary School
Gwinnett County Public Schools
A 24-year veteran teacher, Gerin Hennebaul is in her fifth year as STEAM content specialist at Lovin Elementary and was the driving force behind Lovin becoming Gwinnett’s first Title I elementary school to receive STEM certification from the Georgia Department of Education.
A product of Gwinnett County Public Schools herself, Ms. Hennebaul is passionate about increasing students’ awareness of both environmental issues and the importance of serving others in their community. Combine those with her love of all things STEAM, and on any given day, you might find students harvesting lettuce and herbs from tower gardens, participating in the Food Waste Warriors project, gathering eggs from chickens, picking fruits, vegetables, and flowers from Lovin’s huge STEAM Garden, or learning about AgSTEM in Lovin’s Aquaponics Lab.
STEAM-focused lessons and projects are part of the culture at Lovin Elementary where teachers provide an integrated approach to learning across all areas of the curriculum for ALL students (including those with special needs). Learning that is hands-on, relevant, challenging, and utilizes engaging experiences allows students to establish a connection between school, work place, community, and the global economy.
Ms. Hennebaul holds a Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Education and a Master of Arts in Elementary Education. She is both gifted and STEM endorsed.
Looking at the World through a Different Lens
This year, Lovin Elementary is working with Mercer University, University of Georgia, and Gwinnett Soil and Water Conservation on a pilot AgSTEM program using aquaponics. AgSTEM is an educational resource that engages aquaponics technology to effectively teach STEM content through the lens of natural resource conservation. Aquaponics is a sustainable way of farming that enhances our ability to effectively teach authentic STEM content within our school. This project focuses on our AgSTEM program. The Teach On Project has made it possible for me to purchase virtual reality (VR) viewers. Lovin fifth graders will be using VR viewers to create thier own virtual reality tour of our STEAM Garden (which includes our chickens) and our aquaponic systems. They will be presenting their VR tours not only to our younger students, but also the other four schools in our cluster of schools, and our Archer community at our spring farmer's market. The virtual reality tours will be used to teach our other schools and the community about sustainable farming and community service.
EARLY LEARNING CODING
This program exposes students in lower grades (K-2) to coding on a consistent basis. Having more students with this early exposure to coding will assist our school in having a stronger and more competitive Robotics program for Hutchinson Elementary School. Additionally, as a STEM school candidate, coding will expose our students to a unique and explicit curriculum that will set us apart from non-STEM schools. I am excited to start students early. There is a large body of research that shows positive results for students who are introduced to coding in their primary years.