homepage logo

Solving for tomorrow

By Staff | Dec 27, 2013

Attendees at a groundwater management workshop held earlier this month at the Eagles aerie found out about a project local sixth graders are doing. The project is in competition with projects from other schools around the nation.

John Groves’ sixth-grade class, in tandem with a few members of Mike Santjer’s sixth grade class at Ely Elementary in Rugby, is attempting to find solutions to the problem of excessive soil water. They are currently in the research and development phase, coming up with ideas to test, and they’re talking with and getting data from extension agents, farmers, and the National Weather Service as part of their research.

The project is part of the “Solve for Tomorrow” contest, a nationwide STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) competition put on by the Samsung corporation. The Ely group won the state championship, beating out two schools (Sheyenne High School in Sheyenne and Sheyenne Valley Area CTC in Valley City), Liberty Middle School in West Fargo, and South Prairie School rural Minot. Out of 3,500 schools that entered the competition, they are one of 51 finalists.

The class started the project in September of this year after Groves found out that Minot State University wasn’t doing a STEM competition this year, due to lack of funding for it.

“In August, when school starts, I try to find a STEM competition,” Groves said. “There’s many of them, the Army puts on one, NDSU puts on one, Minot State normally puts on one, but they didn’t this year.”

According to the contest’s webpage, Solve for Tomorrow is planned as follows: Teachers from public schools enter their classes into the contest for a chance to move onto the next round as state finalists. From there, the 255 finalists submit lesson plans. Fifty-one winners are then chosen by states and the District of Columbia. Those classes will receive a $20,000 technology package and a video production kit, which contains products from Samsung and Adobe that must be used to make the videos. Then, 15 winners out of the 51 will be chosen to pitch their videos for a chance at a grand prize. Those winners will receive a $35,000 tech package and a trip to where they will pitch their videos. Out of 15, five winners will be chosen nationally. Those winners will receive a $140,000 tech package and a trip to Washington, D.C., for an event in their honor. The contest lasts for one whole school year.

The goal of the contest is to raise enthusiasm for STEM education in students, and to show the positive impact STEM has in a community. The contest also tries to solve the problem of public school classes having what could be considered a “technological gap” when compared to other schools, missing technology that could be used to bolster interest and results in STEM education.

Groves said that bolstering STEM, and furthering academics at Ely is a collaborative effort, including Santjer and Karen Black. In the coming years, more teachers are expected to be involved in the process.

The sixth graders won’t find out if they’ve gone any further in the contest until January or February.

Please Enter Your Facebook App ID. Required for FB Comments. Click here for FB Comments Settings page