Georgia STEAM Students Win Big at Tournament

cooper elementary 5th grade destination imagination

At the beginning of the year, Infinite Energy awarded more than $47,000 in education grants to eight Georgia schools. One of those schools, Cooper Elementary, used the funding to help pay for student registration and supplies at a state educational competition March 25.

And then, after lots of hard work, two Cooper Elementary teams walked away as first-place winners. The event was the Destination Imagination State Affiliate Tournament held at Lanier High School in Sugar Hill, Georgia.

“We are so excited to have our teams excel at the state tournament,” said Julie Pemberton, a teacher in the Gifted program at the school. “Their hard work has paid off. It’s very rewarding to see them succeed.”

Pemberton, along with Cooper Elementary teachers James Meadows and Bridgett Brown, coached this year’s students.

Fourth-graders made up the first winning team. Pemberton said these students made their mark in the project outreach category. They had to identify, design and plan a service project that addressed a community need. The team developed a pantry that stored snacks and school supplies for students.

“Students didn’t realize at first the impact they would make. It was great to see the compassion they showed toward others,” she said, adding that students then had to write an 8-minute fable about the project.

Fifth-graders made up the second winning team. They were tasked with a project in the fine art category. Pemberton said the students had to write and perform an 8-minute skit about what the world would be like if a color forever disappeared. The students chose pink.

“They showed how pink represents unity, diversity and inclusion,” she said, explaining that the team wrote and performed a song and designed lighting, stage props and costumes. One of the students even rode a unicycle. And the group also included a vanishing act into the performance.

Now, the winners are gearing up for the next step in the competition, Global Finals. This takes place in Knoxville, Tennessee, at the end of May. More than 8,000 students from 45 states and 15 countries will compete against each other.

“They will get to not only compete at a national level but gain knowledge from watching others, seeing new technologies and hands-on learning,” Pemberton said. “They are learning creative thinking skills, risk taking and teamwork.”