LEE CO., GA (WALB) - Most students walk through the doors of Mr. Brian Soash's classroom at Lee County Middle School West smiling, eager for the lesson he has planned.
"He's by far the best teacher I've ever had," said seventh grader Kyleigh Watson.
It could be part of the reason why he was recognized at the state level.
Over the weekend, Soash was named Georgia STEM teacher of the year for middle grades, by the National STEM Academy at the Museum of Aviation.
Watson is one of Soash's students.
In her solve steam class she is working on building a structure.
"We need to create some form of household items that we can use to cool down an entire room because we don't get a lot of wind here in Georgia," said Watson.
She says she learns best by doing.
"I'm a visual learner so I like to do things hands on," said Watson, who isn't the only student who learns like that.
"I'm not a big text book person," said seventh grader Kevin Stilwell. "The only text book I really like is social studies."
Soash's classes are all about being hands-on.
"They see that it is not just something they learn from a book," said Soash.
In his other class, Jackson Redder is creating a potentially lifesaving app.
"Babies dying in hot cars is a big deal now, those left in hot cars," said Redder. "So we are trying to develop an app to help parents remember to go check for the baby and possibly save the child's life."
STEM or Science technology engineering and math is a relatively new term that Soash says is meant to teach students through applied learning.
"It's creating that personal connection to content and showing students that they can learn things and apply things," said Soash.
"The STEM projects are actually really fun. You just learn a lot from them," said Redder.
Lee County Middle School West offers a number of STEM courses to students, including a coding and 3D printing course.
"It's something that we've learned and we are solving real problems and hearing from people who do it for a living," said Soash.
And already Soash is able to help his young students create a path to their future.
"I kind of want to go towards coding and computer development because I feel like that is where the future is," said Stilwell.
With Soash's award, he was given one thousand dollars.
With that money he says he will continue to build the STEM lab and purchase new equipment for the school.