The IA Experience

  • In addition to a traditional high school curriculum, students will have the opportunity to expand their knowledge and experiences through rigorous applications of their learning. Partnering with Georgia Tech’s CEISMC program, problem solving using design thinking, and participation in the AP Capstone program will give students the ability to dive deeper into their learning and develop knowledge beyond the core standards. 

Partnership with CEISMC and Georgia Tech

  • The Center for Education Integrating Science, Mathematics and Computing (CEISMC) is a unit within the Office of the Provost at Georgia Tech. CEISMC serves as the primary connection point between Georgia Tech faculty and students and the preK-12 STEM education community. 


    CEISMC plays a key role in achieving the vision set forth in the Commission on Creating the Next (CNE) report by reducing the barriers between preK-12 and higher education by offering intensive, innovative professional development to practicing teachers, creating highly engaging STEM in-school and extracurricular STEM experiences for K-12 students.   


    Fulton County Schools and Innovation Academy have partnered with CEISMC to create a dynamic and rigorous set of challenges and projects that are designed to incorporate core standards and relevance to learning.  Students will use design thinking to solve these complex problems. 


What is Design Thinking?

  • Design Thinking is a method that uses a cyclical process to solve problems with the user in mind.  Design Thinking uses a series of steps that creates specific work in each phase.  The graphic below shows the various steps and how students would engage in each area. 


    Design Thinking


    What is an example of a Design Thinking Project? 

    The Carter Center is a nonprofit organization named after 39th President Jimmy Carter that does humanitarian work in the United States and all over the world. They are concerned about health crisis that could occur in America after a natural disaster.  


    One challenge is to apply Design Thinking to develop a low-cost waterborne disease prevention prototype made out of readily available household materials that could be used after a natural disaster in the US.  


    Students will use design thinking while participating in the AP Capstone program. 

  • Understand: Students are introduced to a challenge and work to research and understand the nuances of the challenge. 

    Empathize: Students define the audience and users that are impacted by the challenge.  Students conduct empathy interviews to understand the needs of the user and define the problem. 

    Define: Students will frame research into an actionable problem statement to create a statement that will drive the process.  

    Ideate: The ideate phase allows students to brainstorm ideas and cluster them into design concepts.  No idea is bad idea! 

    Prototype: Students create low fidelity prototypes to present to their user audience as first draft of a solution to the problem. 

    Test: Students test prototypes with the user audience.  After gaining feedback around the prototype, students revert back to gain more empathy to refine and iterate on the prototype. 

What is the AP Capstone program?

AP Capstone
  • Rather than teaching subject-specific content, these courses develop students’ skills in research, analysis, evidence-based arguments, collaboration, writing, and presenting. Students who complete the two-year program can earn one of two different AP Capstone awards, which are valued by colleges across the United States and around the world. 


    Students typically take AP Seminar in grade 10 or 11, followed by AP Research. Each course is yearlong, and AP Seminar is a prerequisite for AP Research. 

    In both courses, students investigate a variety of topics in multiple disciplines. Students may choose to explore topics related to other AP courses or through the pathway they’re taking. 

    Both courses guide students through completing a research project, writing an academic paper, and making a presentation on their project. 

    Over the course of the two-year program, students are required to: 

    • Analyze topics through multiple lenses to construct meaning or gain understanding. 
    • Plan and conduct a study or investigation. 
    • Propose solutions to real-world problems. 
    • Plan and produce communication in various forms. 
    • Collaborate to solve a problem. 
    • Integrate, synthesize, and make cross-curricular connections. 

    For links for more information regarding AP Seminar and AP Research, please click the links below.