GOSHEN — Goshen High School is one of five schools in Indiana chosen as a state finalists for a portion of the $2 million Samsung Solve for Tomorrow Contest.
As recently announced, five schools from each state were selected as finalists for the Samsung Solve for Tomorrow Contest, a nationwide competition that challenges students in grades 6-12 to apply STEM – science technology, engineering and math – skills to find creative solutions to real-world issues impacting their local communities.
Out of the thousands of schools that entered the contest, the 250 state finalist classrooms were chosen based on their creative and strategy proposals to solve complicated issues that affect their communities by using STEM learning.
All 250 teachers selected as state finalists will receive one Samsung tablet for their classrooms and have the opportunity to advance through future phases of the contest to win additional prizes and educational opportunities.
On behalf of GHS, Jen Yoder, an engineering technology teacher at GHS, submitted the project proposal and will be awarded a Samsung tablet for achieving state finalist status.
Yoder said the contest opened in September and submission was due on Nov. 13. She’s no stranger to applying for the contest. Of the three times she’s applied, this was her first submission to be selected as a finalist.
“They announced the state finalists on November 21, the day before Thanksgiving,” she said. “I had forgotten when it was going to happen and on Thanksgiving morning I woke up to check my mail and saw that we were finalists. I was ecstatic,” she said.
With $2 million in technology on the line, the 250 state finalists will submit a lesson plan detailing how students will execute the proposed STEM project and how it will address the identified community issue.
Yoder said one of the things she and her students will be looking at is how stormwater runoff is handled within Goshen.
“This should help the students understand the huge impact because our runoff goes into the Elkhart River which then goes into the St. Joseph River and then on to Lake Michigan,” she said. “So the sediment pollution definitely extends way beyond Goshen city limits.”
As for the next step, Yoder said she has to have the group’s project plan submitted by Dec. 10.
“That’s what I’m frantically working on now,” she said, adding that she’s been working with the Goshen City engineers to gather background information and ideas for planning the project’s lessons.
In total, about 30 GHS students will partake in the project, half of whom are in Yoder’s engineering class and the other half are in the high school’s Technology Student Association, who will spearhead the project, she said.
The group will learn in late December if they were selected the state winner, Yoder said.
The 50 state winners will be selected to submit a video of their project in action. For achieving state winner status, 40 of those schools will achieve a $20,000 Samsung technology package, including a Samsung video kit to produce their video. The top 10 of the group will progress as national finalists.
The 10 finalists will be selected to attend a Pitch Event where they will present their project to a panel of judges. For achieving national finalist status, seven schools will receive a $50,000 Samsung technology package, while the other three will progress to the national winner stage where each will receive $100,000 in classroom Samsung Technology and supplies.
The competition will end with the Community Choice Award where the general public will select one winner from the 10 national finalists who will be eligible to win an additional $10,000 Samsung technology package.
Although the project is overwhelming, Yoder said she and the students are excited, adding that it’ll be a learning process for her and the students.
“It’s overwhelming right now just trying to put everything together and I’m learning with the students,” she said. “I don’t have a background in stormwater runoffs so I think that always helps with education anyway because students see that it’s ok not to have all the answers, and it teaches them to think outside the box more and digs deeper into their research,” she said. “So this will be a fun project to go through with them.”