High School

High School State Finalists

Congratulations to the high school State Finalists of the 2012 Siemens We Can Change the World Challenge! Click here to view the elementary and middle school Challege Finalists.

 

 

Arkansas

  • Team Name Pedal Power
  • Location Fayetteville, AR
  • School Fayetteville East High School
  • Teacher/Mentor Mark White
  • Description Team Pedal Power was challenged with creating a way to use the rainwater that collects in a 500 gallon cistern to provide irrigation to eight gardens and greenhouse. They designed and built a system that includes a bicycle, a stand, a motor, an inverter, a battery, a water pump and a hose. When the bicycle is pedaled, electricity is generated through the motor and stored in the battery. The battery is connected to the water pump in the cistern and is used to pump the rainwater through a hose. Students pedal the bike to generate electricity so they can water the plants and vegetables.
  • Fire Defense Team

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California

  • Team Name Green Wigglers
  • Location Roseville, CA
  • School Woodcreek High School
  • Teacher/Mentor Kendra Grinsell
  • Description The Green Wigglers collected lunch food waste from their high school in worm bins and used 5000 worms to decompose the waste. Over two months they tracked the rate at which the different foods decomposed and also did plant growth experiments with the worm compost they produced. After determining that vermicomposting was cheap, easy and effective, they went on a media blitz to get their message out to the community that everyone should be composting to reduce waste and save energy. In addition to appearances on television and radio shows, the team’s story was run in two newspaper stories encouraging the team to create PSA videos to air on their school’s website, local cable television, YouTube and Facebook.

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Colorado

  • Team Name The Bigfoot Carbonators
  • LocationGrand Junction, CO
  • SchoolGrand Junction High School
  • Teacher/MentorSteve Brown
  • Description By using only half lighting in classrooms for four hours a day, team Big Food Carbonators are reducing their school’s energy usage. This not only reduced energy costs but caused a significant reduction in the CO2 produced to generate the original power.

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Connecticut

  • Team NameTeam SLS
  • LocationNew Canaan, CT
  • SchoolSt. Luke's School
  • Teacher/MentorDavid Havens
  • Description Invasive plants have been a long time problem for the Connecticut landscape. Today the infestation has become so vast that the indigenous plants have almost disappeared. To combat this issue on their school campus, Team SLS identified and chose to remove three of the twelve invasive plant species present: Japanese Knotweed, Japanese Barberry and Winged Euonymus. The team’s efforts proved successful and where hundreds of invasive plants once overwhelmed their campus, indigenous plants have found room to grow.

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Florida

  • Team Name The Durable Design of the Future Turbine
  • Location Ovidedo, FL
  • SchoolSeminole High School
  • Teacher/MentorDhawal Shah
  • DescriptionDurable Design of the Future Turbine combines the Savonius type vertical axis wind turbine with a low profile, low operating speed, and permanent magnet “pancake generator”. The low speed pancake generator allows for elimination of a gearbox, thus producing more power. The pancake generator also acts as a flywheel, reducing power fluctuation due to variable wind speeds.

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Georgia

  • Team Name PuriTy1
  • Location Evans, GA
  • SchoolGreenbriar High School
  • Teacher/MentorRuslan Rafikov
  • DescriptionDetergent is one of the pollutants that can severely damange the environment. Methods of detergent detection in the water are costly and require an equipped laboratory. To combat detection difficulties, Team PuriTy1 made an attempt to create a new and easy method called STT (Surface Tension Test) that can be used for preliminary testing of detergent contamination in nearby bodies of water. Using their method, the team tested water in two Georgia cities. Their results indicated that bodies of water near Augusta, GA were highly polluted to the level that could kill fish eggs and stop reproduction. In contrast, the team found water in Atlanta, GA was cleaner, even though the city is larger and pollutions are expected to be worse.

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Illinois

  • Team Name Energy Innovation
  • Location Naperville, IL
  • SchoolNeuqua Valley High School
  • Teacher/MentorPatricia Noblett
  • Description Team Energy Innovation performed school energy audits and environmental tests in the pursuit of analyzing energy usage and the environmental impact of their school. Following their research, the team met with administration and the district energy management group to develop recommendations to decrease the school’s energy usage to guide their school in a more efficient and environmentally sustainable direction. Recommendations that have been implemented have a projected savings of $13,000 per year in reduced energy consumption. The team is currently working to raise awareness amongst the student body and staff to reduce their energy usage using branded mouse pads, light switch plates and posters with reminders to “shut down their unused computer” and “turn of unnecessary lights”.

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Kentucky

  • Team NameTeam Ecotopians
  • Location Bowling Green, KY
  • School The Gatton Academy of Math and Science
  • Teacher/MentorDr. Ouida Meier
  • Description Team Ectopians, worked to educate their local community, especially unsewered neighborhoods, on the implications of living in a Karst system and the importance of using environmentally friendly water cleaners. Karst regions, characterized by their soluble bedrock, are comprised of numerous underground waterways and thin soil layers that allow for relatively rapid passage of water. Because septic systems rely so much on soil-based biological processes to restore waste water, it is impossible for local septic systems to be completely effective in a Karst region.

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Maryland

  • Team NameTeam Duckweed
  • LocationEdgewater, MD
  • SchoolSouth River Senior High School
  • Teacher/Mentor Tanya Marushak
  • DescriptionTeam Duckweed was concerned with the dangerously large dead zone caused by eutrophication in the Chesapeake Bay. Most of the nitrogen and phosphorus pollution causing this issue is from agriculture on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. To address this problem, the team designed a system to filter farm runoff through bioremediation with the Duckweed plant. They used quantitative testing to confirm Duckweed’s nitrogen removal capability, and found that it reduced the nitrogen content of waste water by 28.5%. They are currently creating a working small scale model of a farm with a Duckweed filtration system.

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Massachusetts

  • Team Name Green3r Clean3rs
  • LocationActon, MA
  • School YESC, LLC
  • Teacher/MentorMurali Sethumadhavan
  • Description The Green3r Cleaners main goal was to increase awareness of green chemistry. The team reached their goal by educating their local community population on the pros and cons of chemicals in the hope that community members would then choose the right chemicals for themselves and the environment in their everyday lives.

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Michigan

  • Team Name D.A.Y.S.
  • LocationNovi, MI
  • SchoolNovi High School
  • Teacher/Mentor Suhas Sathe
  • Description Concerned by the large volume of expanded polystyrene (EPS) foam that was filling the dumpsters of their high school, team D.A.Y.S. strove to find a pragmatic solution to divert EPS foam from reaching landfills. The team spoke to representatives from various organizations to learn the details on how foam can be recycled, the manner in which foam escapes to the surrounding environment, and methods of reusing waste materials. They found that since an EPS foam recycling program was uncommon, may people did not know that it could be done. The team increased awareness, collected pledges, and proposed implementation plans to their district superintendent, city council and state representative.

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Missouri

  • Team Name Water You Waiting For!
  • LocationSpringfield, MO
  • School SPS/OTC Middle College
  • Teacher/MentorMara Vaile
  • Description After touring a water treatment facility, Team Water You Waiting For became particularly interested in comparing tap water to bottled water. For this project, the team members researched the environmental impacts of purchasing disposable water bottles and conducted a study on the habits of their peers at school regarding disposable water bottles and reusable water bottles. The team created a video in order to get the word out to their peers about the environmental problems associated with disposable water bottles. After showing the video to their peers, they then conducted a follow-up study to determine if their peers were willing to make a change. Team Water You Waiting For then organized a Middle College boycott of disposable water bottles in order to draw attention to their research and spread the word to start using reusable water bottles.

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New Jersey

  • Team NamePinelands Eco Scienteers
  • LocationLittle Egg Harbor, NJ
  • SchoolPinelands Regional High School
  • Teacher/MentorStephen Kubricki
  • Description In many places around the world, the only option for cooking meals is to use wood from nearby forests resulting in undispersed deforestation. Team Pinelands Eco Scienteers’ project focused on developing a viable alternative where wood is replaced by biomass waste products such as peanut shells, pine needles, banana peels, sugar cane waste and corn stalks. The project included methods of preparing biomass materials for briquetting and the design of low cost easy to ship mini-presses.

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New York

  • Team Name Thunder Squad
  • LocationPlainview, NY
  • SchoolJohn F Kennedy High School
  • Teacher/MentorNicholas DeMaria
  • DescriptionIn this experience, Team Thunder Squad tested the impact of naturally occurring CaCO3, obtained from ground eggshells and sea shells, in increasing the pH level of acidic soil and its subsequent impact on plant growth. Upon analysis of the data collected, it was determined that seashells provide the optimal conditions for the neutralization of acidic soil. Given the availability of sea shells as an inexpensive recyclable source of calcium carbonate, this application has the potential to offer a green alternative to industrial techniques currently being used in agriculture.

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North Carolina

  • Team NameChargers
  • Location Charlotte, NC
  • SchoolProvidence Day School
  • Teacher/MentorBarbara Morrow
  • Description In seeking less dependence on non-reusable energy, students developed a method of harnessing energy through electromagnetic inductance. By inserting spring-loaded “cells” (made of copper coils and magnets), into a standard anti-fatigue mat, team members were able to store energy that could power simple, life-saving devices, like a steripen. This power has the ability to effect not only members of their own community, but in communities all around the world, where clean drinking water and heating sources may not be as easily available.

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Ohio

  • Team NameWe Want Your Waste!
  • LocationChesterland, OH
  • SchoolWest Geauga High School
  • Teacher/MentorIrene McMullen
  • DescriptionTeam Members of Team We Want Your Waste looked at broadening the uses of compost locally and in other countries. The students experimented with different types of compost to determine the most efficacious use for specific plants. Team members also composted material from the school cafeteria and worked with international organizations to build a composting toilet in Afghanistan and a composting facility in Ecuador.

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South Carolina

  • Team NameAgua Caliente
  • LocationHartsville, SC
  • SchoolEmmanuel Christian School
  • Teacher/MentorDr. Dale Ankers
  • DescriptionHot running water in the home is still a luxury in many developing countries due to the cost of the heater or the lack of electrical power. Team Agua Caliente discovered many websites that presented plans for building solar water heaters out of recycled materials. Few of these sites presented research or practical instruction in how to build the most efficient design. The team chose to build two mock roofs and water heaters in order to experiment to find the most efficient design. The first solar heaters were made using pvc pipe, recycled plastic drink bottles, and recycled milk cartons. The team hopes to continue experimenting with other materials that are readily available, but typically end up in the trash. They plan to share their results with contacts in Belize and Brazil, so that communities in developing areas can create jobs by building and installing solar water heaters.

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Texas

  • Team NameClear Lake HS
  • LocationHouston, TX
  • SchoolClear Lake High School
  • Teacher/MentorSridhar Madala
  • DescriptionEnergy efficient desalination of water can have a major impact on the availability of drinking water. Team Clear Lake High School utilized carbon nanotubes to help solve this problem in their community. By virtue of their size and due to the potential energy barrier surrounding the tube entrance and exit, carbon nanotubes can potentially reject ions of divided salt at a higher flow rate than is possible with existing reverse osmosis systems which use conventional filter membranes.

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Utah

  • Team NameGeolympus
  • LocationHolladay, UT
  • SchoolOlympus Junior High School
  • Teacher/MentorJoAnne Brown
  • DescriptionTeam Geolympus completed a project publicizing the importance of geothermal energy in their state. Their idea was to build a model geothermal energy plant and use it to demonstrate how this new technology works to students and members of their community. Their goal was also to encourage their school district to build a working geothermal plant either at their school or a new STEM elementary school, which could be used as a teaching tool to make this technology more visible to people in their area, where only 0.6% of energy comes from geothermal. The team built a model and experimented with different insulations to simulate how geothermal is used, and worked with local experts in learning how geothermal operates in order to accurately represent this energy source.

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Virginia

  • Team NameGeorge Mason Recycling
  • LocationManassas, VA
  • SchoolThe Governor's School at Innovation Park
  • Teacher/MentorKaren Wolfson
  • DescriptionMembers of team George Mason Recycling investigated the current level of plastics recycling at George Mason University, Prince William Campus. They measured recycling levels as a function of placement of recycling and trash bins and punishments and rewards. The team found that placing recycling bins closer to trashcans increases use and that a personalized reward system is highly effective. Awareness was increased and team members hope to improve recycling rates even more.

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Wyoming

  • Team Name Thunderbirds
  • LocationCheyenne, WY
  • SchoolEast High School
  • Teacher/MentorJim Zlomke
  • DescriptionFrom an energy standpoint, nonrenewable resources are a major concern in terms of carbon emissions. In order to prevent problems in the future, Team Thunderbirds believes we need to look towards renewable sources of energy. Team members made observations and recorded data on fair residential scale wind turbines recently installed at secondary schools around their school district. Team Thunderbirds was surprised to discover the amount of time that residential scale wind systems take to produce enough energy to pay for themselves.

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