A group of South Atlanta High School 10th graders were officially recognized on May 14 for winning first-place honors at the inaugural 2021 3DE Schools National Championship Home Depot Case Challenge Competition.
During a special recognition ceremony, Justin Freeman, Jaliyah Scales, Bishop Seabrook, Jacobe Swanson, and Zakeriah Thomas were each presented with a Georgia House resolution from State Rep. Kim Schofield for their ingenuity and ability to offer STEM-based solutions to a case challenge from Home Depot.
During the ceremony, Rep. Schofield and others praised the students’ ability to work together as a team while providing a unique approach to solving complex problems. As a group, they were challenged with creating solutions to help engage customers with their use of carts while shopping at The Home Depot stores. Some of those solutions included providing a motorized function to move shopping carts at an accelerated pace, as well as using GPS to locate the cart, in addition to store aisles and products.
“These students had an opportunity to effectively collaborate and come up with solutions that some Fortune 500 companies could not come up with on their own,” said Keene Walker, a ninth-grade 3DE and social studies teacher at South Atlanta. “This is especially important to South Atlanta because we’re actually changing the mindset of students and not just giving them traditional book work. This has awakened these students’ genius, and now everyone can see they’re executing their genius.”
The Home Depot partnered with 3DE Schools for the national STEM competition that took place virtually Jan. 22. During the case launch, students were charged with using the STEM Design Thinking Process to assist The Home Depot in creating innovative ideas to bring the in-store experience for Do-It-Yourself (DIY) customers. Students had five weeks to complete their projects.
Specifically, 3DE Schools is an instructional model that re-engineers high school education to be more relevant, experiential, and authentically connected to the complexities of the real world in order to more fully prepare today’s students for the demands of tomorrow’s economy.
“3DE makes learning relevant, authentic, and experiential for high school students,” said 3DE Partnership Manager Joi Turner.
“The goal is to make learning relevant, authentic, and experiential for our high school students. We combine real world problems that companies have with what they are learning in their subjects at schools,” Turner said. “We do this by exposing our students to local and national companies. 3DE partners with companies and we offer our students the opportunity to interface with the companies to solve problems that they may have had in the past.”
Through project-based learning, 3DE students use the knowledge they learn in the content areas at school to help solve such problems, Turner noted.
“This solves the question that we hear from our students, which is “how is what I am learning in my math class relate to what I may be doing in a job?” These projects/challenges make learning relevant to our students,” she said.
Jaliyah Scales said she’s learned more than she could ever imagine from the program.
“3DE has definitely taught all of us how to pitch and present different ideas and solutions to real problems,” Jaliyah said. “This, along with the constant team work, allows us to learn effective collaboration, and coming up with solutions to these problems has definitely shed light on the concept of critical thinking for us. I am very thankful for 3DE because it’s helped me get past my shy demeanor. I can now take confidence in my abilities, and I have all of my teachers to thank for that.”
Principal Dr. Patricia Ford couldn’t be more proud of her students.
“This has shown our kids that they’re in the running to show their greatness and affords them the opportunity to be exposed to what’s beyond the realm of where they live in their community,” Dr. Ford said. “Preparedness and exposure presents opportunities, and once students are prepared and have the opportunity, they can sell themselves. Being exposed to The Home Depot and other Fortune 500 companies helps to create a roadmap for our kids for success beyond high school.”